‘We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy flows like a shadow that never leaves.’
There are so many articles floating around on the web that portray a positive mindset as wishful thinking or blind optimism. A positive mindset is a fundamental key to success. How can someone achieve their goals if they are negative and closed off to the opportunities that life can bring? A positive mindset cultivates positive thoughts, which lead to positive words and eventually action as well as a result. What is a positive mindset? How do you cultivate and maintain a positive mindset?
What is a Positive Mindset?
In order to understand what a positive mindset is, we must define what it is not; a positive mindset is not, blind optimism. Blind optimism is dangerous; it is like being inside your house during a storm with floodwaters continually rising up to your ears while still believing your house will not flood. On the other hand, a positive mindset acknowledges the rising floodwaters and chooses to believe that you will survive and rebuild. A positive mindset is a learned way of thinking that focuses upon opportunities and good results, as opposed to negativity and perceived inability. A positive mindset is cultivated; it is not something that is issued to a select group at birth but a skill that is cultivated. How do you cultivate a positive mindset?
There are 10 secrets to cultivating and maintaining a positive mindset.
1. Focus on the present
How many times have you added to a problem by building them up in your mind? How many of these perceived negative outcomes actually come to pass? By focusing on the present, you eliminate the number of worries and fears that lead to negative thinking which if left unchecked can lead to taking unnecessary action and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The next time you find your mind running away with the possibility of negative outcomes, gently bring yourself back to the present. The key to focusing upon the present is practice; unfortunately there is no other way. Pay attention to the times when your mind wanders off, and remember what triggered the negative thinking. Learn from the past and embrace the present, so that you can succeed in the future and create a life you love.
2. Use positive language
How often do you pay attention to the words you use? How much of what you say is negative? Negativity tends to breed more negativity. Have you ever noticed when people complain, it is never just one thing but a whole list of events, people and outcomes?
Our thoughts shape our words, which in turn, produces an action. So, if our thoughts and words are negative we will eventually start taking action, which produces a negative result. How do you stop this negative cycle? Willie Nelson said, once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. The first step to breaking this negative cycle is awareness. When you become aware of negative language, immediately change the conversation or start to think of events, outcomes or moments that were a positive experience. Positivity is a habit and over time, positivity will become a habitual way of being.
3. Ask yourself positive questions
When I’m in a negative state of mind, it can often be really difficult to for me to see a positive outcome or point of view. The easiest way to snap out of this negative thinking is to ask yourself a series of open questions.
- What can I learn from this situation?
- What opportunity is presented to me in this situation?
- What good can came out of this situation?
- What is one positive thing about this situation?
I continue to ask myself these questions until I feel my spirit lift and my point of view change. Over time, these questions have become a habitual practice and they tend to pop up automatically.
4. Be grateful
The most successful people make gratitude a habitual way of being. Be grateful for everything you have including the things you want in your life; gratitude makes you happy. Its benefits are two-fold, gratitude is like a magnet, and it attracts more things to be grateful for and also opens your mind by giving you a new perspective. Start your day off with gratitude, from the moment you open your eyes start to like of things that you are grateful for, aim to create a mental list of 10. Focus on feeling grateful and not just listing off the things you are grateful for.
5. Practice Self Acceptance
How often to do you beat yourself up about your perceived weakness? Self-Acceptance is not always easy perhaps, you are striving towards a certain body type, but you do not have the bone structure to achieve it. It is not your ideal outcome, be kind to yourself and love your body including all its imperfections. Self-acceptance is the key to achieving to a positive mindset; it’s only when, you can reach a point where you can love and accept yourself, you will truly be happy.
6. Do not jump to conclusions
It is too easy to pass judgements about yourself or others when a situation goes wrong. We often develop a need to blame someone and jump to conclusions before weighing in on the facts. This need to blame another person is derived from a victim mentality where an individual believes that the things happening to them and are not the result of any actions but external forces at play. All of this is the result of a negative mindset.
The easiest way to end this never ending blame and jumping to conclusion cycle is to firstly, accept responsibility for the part you played in the event and the consequences of your actions. It is also important to consider the facts as opposed to a point of view or an opinion concerning someone’s character. Seek to understand how another would have perceived these events. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this. It is your responsibility to understand what actually happened, accept the situation and to learn from it.
7. Acknowledge imperfections
I am a recovering perfectionist. It has been my experience that it can be hard to accept when things do not go the way I hope or planned. After much practice, I have discovered hope liberating it can be to accept, that a moment or circumstance did not go the way I planned. This newfound acceptance made it easier for me to move on and to embrace something new and more exciting. This change did not happen overnight, but it has become easier with practice and time.
8. Surround Yourself with Positive People
The most important decision we make is who we choose to be around, we become like the people we are around. An old proverb says, ‘show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.’ It’s as equally important to consider whether, they encourage you to pursue your dreams. Are they encouraging or are they negative? Do they encourage negativity or do they lovingly help you find a new perspective? Do not let anyone stand in the way, of you becoming the best possible version of yourself and creating a life you love. Surround yourself with positive and like-minded people.
9. Make a contribution to your community.
One of the easiest ways to cultivate a positive mindset is to start volunteering in your community or in some meaningful way. Contributing takes the focus of us and onto someone else and it also provides some much-needed perspective. When we constantly focus on our own problems and needs, we escalate our issues and loose sight of the bigger picture, contributing allows us to see the world and the lives of others from a different perspective and more often than not, we realise how great things really are and we become more thankful.
Visualisation is the key to a change in mindset; it takes us from where we are right now to focus upon the end result. The Key to visualisation is to focus upon the end result and how amazing it will feel. It is extremely important to visualise with feeling because visualisation without feeling is just daydreaming. Visualisation is most effective when it is done daily, usually for about 3 to 5 minutes. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, focus on what your life would look like with your goals achieved. Imagine yourself happy and confident. Repeat this practice first thing every morning.
Do you need to fine-tune your mindset? In what ways can you take action towards achieving a positive mindset? Let me know in the comments box below. I’d love to hear from you.
Photo Credit: GlobalStock, iStock ID # 13550942