You have probably heard many public speakers and authors stressing on the importance of positive thinking, and how it can change your life. It’s true. By simply changing your thoughts and attitude, life can be much more stress-free.
Benefits of positive thinking
For starters, your stress level is reduced by a large extent. Think about it, if positivity dominates your cognition and emotions, you will be more optimistic and hopeful. What will be there to worry about once you choose to only focus on the brighter side?
Positive thinking naturally brings good physical and mental health. Your mind and body are connected, and one influences the other. In fact, a 2006 study found that people who were pessimistic and had constant negative thoughts had a 55 percent higher chance of dying within 9 years.
The best ways to cultivate positive thinking
But the thing with attempting to change the direction of your thoughts all of a sudden is that you are always extra conscious and cautious with your thought process. In other words, you constantly think about thinking. Although this may sound contradicting, always controlling or inhibiting your thoughts can make some people even more stressed.
So, it seems the best way to go about with positive thinking is to let it come naturally. Induce it through certain actions and habits that you can cultivate. There are certain practices that can automatically bring out positivity within you, and the best part is that they are extremely simple and easy. Most of them will not even interfere with your daily routine.
- Yoga or mindful meditation
Take time out every day to practice yoga or meditate. Both of these are extremely relaxing and let you focus on your breathing. Breathe in deeply and breathe out, and learn to live in the present. Not only will you learn to appreciate your present moment, but you will also understand how pointless it is to worry about the future.
Mindful meditation helps you to be fully aware of your environment, while still focusing on the silence within you. With time, you will find that this peaceful stillness is what has always been there. The rest of your material surroundings are mere distractions.
- Cultivate kindness
Today, we all lead busy lives trying to make a living. We are all in a rat race and do not have time for even ourselves, let alone others. It is important that you realize the impact kindness can have on everyone around you and yourself. Lend a hand to your loved ones, make sacrifices, and be kind to strangers.
When you are kind to people and help them without expecting anything else in return, you experience the pure joy of giving. Consequently, your thoughts, words, and actions will be directed toward a more positive tone. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself too. Treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you.
- Smile more
Smile, even when you don’t feel like it. It’s that simple. Psychology claims that your body and mind are connected. The mind can affect the body, and vice versa. It is a common occurrence for people who are stressed to fall sick. Following the same mechanism, forcing yourself to smile can have positive cognitive and emotional effects.
Even if you are having a bad day, force yourself to put a smile on your face. It will definitely help to lighten your mood. When you smile, the brain detects the muscle movements and other accompanies bodily changes and recognizes it as a state of being happy. So, in a way, you fool your brain into rewiring your settings.
- Spend time with positive people
There is no doubt that your environment influences how you think. So, always try to surround yourself with positive people. The more time, you spend with them, the more of their positive energy you receive.
If you find yourself having a bad day, or stuck in a train of negative thoughts, call up or visit friends or family who can understand how you are feeling, and provide constructive feedback and advice in a positive manner. You can also attend social functions with a good and positive vibe. Their positivity will definitely rub off on you.
- Keep a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a powerful tool of positive thinking. Keep a daily or weekly journal where you can write down every little thing you are grateful for. When you count your blessings regularly, positivity and joy will surely follow.
Maintaining a gratitude journal will make you realize just how much you have in life to be thankful for. You will learn to appreciate even small things which may have gone unnoticed before. Whatever you put out to the universe, the universe reflects it back. So if you have only positive thoughts full of gratitude and happiness, you will attract similar energy.
- Practice accountability
It is not always to accept our own faults to others and even to ourselves. But once you take responsibility for your own actions, it shows how mature and wise you are. Plus, if you keep blaming external factors for your problems, there is nothing that can be done to improve your situation as you are the only one capable of it.
Do not pay the victim, and feel sorry for yourself. The moment you wallow in self-pity, you are already defeated. Understand that whatever situation you are in, there is always a way to overcome it.
- Start each day with a grateful and motivated heart
As soon as you wake up in the morning, read out motivational quotes or positive affirmations to give you the confidence and courage you need to face the day. You can buy books that are a collection of inspirational quotes or you can even write your favorites in post-its and place them where you can easily see them.
When you are inspired, it puts you in a pleasant mood and sets you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.