Look, I’m just going to come out and say it – whether you believe it or not, our attitudes reflect in our lives. Especially in the perpetual dumpster fire of *gestures at the world at large*, it can be easy to fall into a black hole of negativity and cynicism without even noticing.
With the continuous exposure to tragedy and injustice that we are exposed to all day, every day, we can quickly start to experience and see more of it happening in our own life. Negative thinking can prevent you from enjoying your life fully, and can also have a significant impact on your health, mental state, relationships, and yes, your creativity and art.
Now, I am NOT trying to stand here and say “just think positive and happy thoughts and everything will be great!”
No. I don’t buy that. Bad shit happens. And it is important to acknowledge your feelings when it does. What I AM saying is try not to wallow in it. Don’t let fear, negativity, and all of the bad shit hold you back from living your life, and find ways to turn things around when your headspace gets darker.
You may be skeptical, but this WORKS. It might not feel like it at first, but the more you practice, the more you do these small things on a consistent basis, the easier and more natural it becomes. It’s not a one-and-done thing, like anything it takes daily practice to build a habit and see change – just like a muscle, mindset needs continual work.
Here you go – Five great ways that you can begin to cultivate a more positive mindset and change your life.
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
There are times when one single thing can ruin your entire day, or an unpleasant interaction can overshadow anything good in your day. You can intentionally focus on the good parts of each day (and your life in general) by keeping a gratitude journal. Every day, either first thing in the morning or last thing before bed, write down a few things that you’re grateful for and see how your attitude changes. Some days it’s easier, other days it might just be “I’m grateful I was able to survive today and can start fresh tomorrow”.
REFRAME YOUR CHALLENGES
You have to get into the mindset that there are no dead ends, only re-directions. You may not have control of every situation, but don’t let uncontrollable events render you helpless. You control how you choose to respond. Try to embrace challenges as a new adventure and a chance to learn rather than attempting to resist or fight them. Instead of saying “I can’t do this, it’s too hard” say “This is hard, and I’m doing it anyway, and it will feel so good to look back and know I accomplished it!”.
USE POSITIVE WORDS
The words you use have a lot more power than you think. How you talk about your life is how your life will be. Your mind hears what you say about yourself and your life. If you describe your life as boring, hectic, chaotic, that’s is exactly how it will be. However, if you use the words familiar, involved, or lively, you will see your life in an entirely different light. Basically, you can “trick” your own brain with your word choices. Turn “nervous” into “excited”, etc.
DON’T GET DRAGGED INTO OTHER PEOPLE’S COMPLAINTS
Unsurprisingly, a study conducted by the Warsaw School of Social Psychology determined that complaining leads to lower moods, negative emotions, and a decrease in life satisfaction and optimism. Don’t let the pessimism of someone else bring you down. If you don’t join in with the complaining, it can also often mean others will start to complain less around you.
CREATE A MORNING MINDSET ROUTINE
The outcome of your day can be directly affected by your thoughts and actions when you wake up. There’s a reason experts argue you should not look at your phone first thing in the morning. When you wake up and start off with a bad mood, do you notice that your whole day just seems to go downhill and nothing goes right? Start your day with affirmations, meditation, or something else that focuses on a positive mindset, and see what a difference it makes in how your day feels.
If not all of these tips work for you, that’s okay! Keep what works!
A shift in your mindset from negative to positive can have a dramatic impact on your life. Not only does a positive mindset trigger optimism, but it can help you achieve your goals.
RESULTS OF CHANGING YOUR MINDSET
Increased productivity – You want to see a boost in your productivity? If you start from a more positive mindset, you’ll want to do more and you’ll succeed in doing more! When you’re feeling negative and down, does that make you think you’re going to create great things, or does it make you think “why do I bother?”. Exactly.
Increased confidence – When you tell yourself that each small accomplishment is an accomplished goal, and you take time to look for the successes and the good things, you end up giving yourself encouragement and the motivation. A positive mindset will help you to feel more confident about yourself, and more confident about your creative abilities.
Better relationships – When the people around you see your positive attitude, and the results of working to improve it, it will also inspire them, strengthening your relationships.
More good things in your life – Here’s a neat side effect I’ve experienced since I started focusing on my mindset more – the more you focus on the good in your life, the more opportunities will arise. Now, I actually don’t think that new things are just appearing out of nowhere, but I do think that the more you focus on the good things, the more you’re able to SEE new opportunities for good things. When you’re stuck in a negative loop, you’re most likely to see more negative. When you’re focusing on positive, you find more positive. It’s the same principal of “as soon as you decide to buy a red truck, everywhere you look there is a red truck”.