Having a positive mindset is by far the most important thing we must have in this unprecedented time. Many people recently find themselves having difficulty keeping moving forward with excitement and a positive outlook. We live in a time filled with stress and anxiety due to the uncertainty of the recent Covid-19 calamity that has besieged the entire world.
These are unprecedented difficult times filled with financial struggles, health challenges, personal isolation, social disconnection, and fear. We are mostly in survival mode. The struggles personally and professionally have made our lives challenging, making it easy to fall into the trap of developing a negative mindset.
“Only a positive mindset can lead us to a satisfactory life despite the challenges ahead.”
The truth is, there are many valid reasons to feel negative about the outlook of the near future; however, a negative mindset can do nothing but cause more despair.
What Is a Positive Mindset and Attitude?
Gandhi’s wise words from the quote above best describe the action-reaction chain between thoughts, life, and destiny. If you think positively, your language and behavior become more optimistic, consequently positively impacting your habits, values, and future. Sounds great, right?
It’s easy to tell someone to “think positively”, but what does that really mean?
Positive thinking is not about sticking your head in the sand when faced with life’s issues. It’s not about ignorance and turning away from problems, as often interpreted.
It means approaching unpleasant situations with more positivity and productivity. However, it has to be based on logic and reason. Expecting the worst possible outcome in every situation is against common sense. As well as being irrationally positive all the time.
Building a positive mindset starts with self-talk and introspection, and it’s based on a detailed analysis of the world around you.
According to psychologist Kendra Cherry, positive thinking consists of several approaches to reality:
So now that we’ve defined the meaning of a positive mindset, you may be wondering: why do I need it? If I change my attitude, what’s in it for me?
Well, we’re about to explain.
How Is That Important
A positive mindset is an attitude someone has who “expects” good and desired results. The power of positivity is immense, and it can help you convert that energy into reality. By expectation, I don’t mean it to be a sense of entitlement.
“A positive mindset is rooted in a sense of gratitude, and that helps us tap into the reality of abundance.”
In the world of abundance, you can only expect good outcomes because there is always more than enough in that reality.
That being said, I want to acknowledge that when something bad hits you, you get bombarded with negative thoughts. These negative thoughts cast even more negativity in an already devastating situation. We have all been hit with a bad deal right now, and the feelings of fear, desperation, grief, sadness are all genuine, but it comes down to how long we stay in those feelings and stress about things we can’t control.
Having a positive mindset can help you avoid stress. Even out of the most challenging and devastating situations, we can find a silver lining.
“Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow if we choose to accept reality as is and make the best of it.”
With a positive mindset, you can avoid many physical and mental diseases as well. If you don’t give weight to negative thoughts, you won’t cause your body discomfort from stress, anxiety, worry, and frustration.
A stress-free mind leads to a stronger immune system, and there is nothing more important during a pandemic like Covid-19.
Half of life’s battles can be won if you practice being confident in your abilities. A positive mindset cultivates confidence in your personality, allowing you to perform at your best because of a boosted self-esteem. You can make the right decisions at the right time with confidence.
A positive mindset doesn’t just benefit your professional life; it is also essential for a successful and lovable personal life. Since positivity is rooted in gratitude, you feel thankful for many blessings in your life, especially the people who add happiness to your life. The bonds become stronger by expressing gratitude and appreciation, giving you access to a satisfying personal life.
How to Build a Positive Mindset
Having a positive mindset when everything is going well is easy to practice. It becomes almost impossible to think positively in difficult times.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
Entering into a day with something positive is crucial. Start your day with expressions of gratitude. Every day kick off your day by being thankful for something you already have. It could be as simple as waking up and making a mindful statement that you are grateful to be awake. It could follow with being grateful for your family, your home, your health, your life.
The practice of gratitude helps adjust your attitude towards greater positivity, as it reminds you that no matter how bad things are, there’s always a little something to be thankful for. Studies show that cultivating an attitude of gratitude improves our health, mood, relationships, and career. It brings a positive mindset itself!
- Try Breathing Exercises or Yoga
Breathing is how we stay alive. Every time we breathe in, we bring oxygen to our bloodstream, and every time we breathe out, we let carbon dioxide out.
Breathing exercises can help us take this to the emotional level: every time you breathe in, imagine you’re taking all the good things in, and every time you breathe out, you let go of your burdens. So breathing exercises can help you get rid of stress and achieve an emotional balance.
You’ve probably noticed how your breath changes depending on how you feel. When we’re angry or scared, our breathing becomes more shallow and fast. When we’re focused or relaxed, we breathe slowly and deeply.
That’s why practicing proper breathing can help you feel more relaxed and positive. But, of course, the best thing about these exercises is that you can do them at home.
This may seem a bit counterintuitive at first. How can doing something for free, for someone else, make us more positive?
Well, it’s quite simple: the more we give, the happier we are! Why?
Volunteering helps us feel more connected to other people. Seeing that we’re doing something meaningful for this world gives us more meaning in life and makes us emotionally more fulfilled. In addition, our social skills improve, and we learn how to be more empathetic.
All these things are necessary if we want to shift towards a more positive mindset and attitude.
- Learn How to Accept Rejections
Nothing attacks our ego and makes us insecure as much as rejection. Rejected love, rejected job applications, rejected friendships. However painful, you shouldn’t allow these unpleasant events to overwhelm you. What’s much better is to perceive rejections as a challenge: analyze the situation, understand why it happened, and improve to prevent this from happening in the future. That is how you build a growth mindset. Don’t allow yourself to fall into a desperation void—nothing good comes from that place.
FAILURES ARE LESSONS
Failing an exam is not a reason to hate yourself, your teacher, or your university. Likewise, making a mistake on a project doesn’t mean you’re not good at your job. Every mistake has a lesson hidden inside. If you approach it that way, you’ll grow as a person instead of becoming more and more negative.
- Surround Yourself With Positive People
What are your friends like? How do you spend time with them? Do you laugh, ride bikes, go hiking, or do you rather contemplate the meaning of this empty life?
How about your workplace? What’s your closest colleague like? Is your friendship based on complaining about your low wages or how terrible your boss is? Or maybe you found a mutual language while working on a challenging project together?
People who surround us reflect our personalities and attitudes. Take a look around: are you surrounded by positive or negative people?
This means that if the people around you are rather negative, you’ll most likely have a hard time maintaining a positive attitude or a positive mindset. On the other hand, if your mates are grateful, hopeful, and overall positive, your chances of becoming positive will become much higher.
- Practice Positive Affirmations
Another amazing method that can bring you closer to your positive and more empowered self is practicing positive affirmations. These are simple statements designed to encourage you in life. There are no special rules on what they should sound like or when to practice them. You can make them a part of your productivity morning routine or use breaks at work to give yourself a verbal “pat on the back.”
“I am a person worth loving.”
“Smart and capable, and I’m going to nail this project!”
“I choose to be happy today.”
“I make a significant contribution at my workplace.”
Pick your positive statement, stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and say it out loud. What does it feel like?
If you’re uncomfortable standing in front of a mirror or don’t have enough privacy to talk to yourself out loud, you can also write these down in your journal.
- Be Present in the Now
Being present in the now means in this exact moment. Most of our negativity stems from memories of previous events or future events’ expectations that we exaggerate in our imagination.
Another recommended way to attain a positive mindset is to identify the negativities in your life and remove them like bad cancer. The more you ruminate negative thoughts, the more you feed them.
When you find yourself overtaken by negative thoughts, stop doing what you are doing and write them down. This way, you will slow down the momentum of that negative thought in the first place.
Most of the time, negativity comes from bad experiences in the past or the haunting fears of the future. However, if you learn to live in the present moment, negativity will fade out of your mind.
- Reward and Love Yourself
When we start riding the wild wave of life, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Acknowledging, rewarding, and loving ourselves should come far before waiting on other people to do so. Of course, praise by your boss, parents, or partner can be soul-soothing, but when was the last time you congratulated yourself on the amazing results you’ve accomplished?
Gratifying yourself after doing something good is called positive reinforcement. It’s a technique that enhances the odds of repeating the same behavior.
Self-reward can be important even when you fail! This is a bit controversial, but don’t you agree that failure is painful enough itself? Why would you punish yourself any further when you actually deserve nurture?
If you enter the vortex of self-punishment, you’ll most likely end up miserable. However, loving, nurturing, and rewarding yourself can help you shift towards a positive mindset even when things are rough.
“When you live in the present, you are more focused and less likely to be distracted by what-ifs, and this can further induce a positive mindset.”
Another step towards crafting a “positive you” is to start any project or task to learn from it. Keep in mind, whether you complete your goal and accomplish it or not, the journey will definitely add knowledge and experience to your life. If you start a task or goal to learn from it, you will never be disappointed. That is how you develop wisdom.
Memories of unfavorable experiences, defensive nature towards calamities, negative people you may be holding on to can cause constant negativity in your life. You have to create positive energy around you intentionally.
Everything we experience in life is a result of our intentions, aware of them consciously or not. If you want to experience positivity during difficult times, you have to intentionally do the work to practice gratitude and invite positive people into your life.
There is no magic pill, elixir, or shortcut towards having a positively charged life, except for one, and that is to practice unlimited gratitude.