We as humans have a problem. Well…many problems. But one of the worst of our problems, that often only leads to more problems, is that we tend to focus on our problems in a negative light. We tend to focus on the negative and not enough on the positive. So today, I’m going to be sharing some strategies as to how you can focus more on the positive, and develop a positive outlook even when things get difficult.
REFRAMING YOUR MINDSET
I come from a background where there was quite a bit of negativity and pain in my childhood. I have since learned to cope with that by focusing on the positive, even when times are tough. But a lot of the time, it takes intentional mindset shifts. For example, yesterday I went into work, but the building was locked. I then opened my phone and saw a text message saying that my co-workers weren’t coming in for another three hours. I could have been upset about this, as I made the hour-long commute from home when I didn’t need to leave as early as I did. But instead of being upset, I immediately thought about what other productive things I could do to pass the time. My mind instantly went to writing in this blog, and eventually I settled on going for a run around town. Obviously it helps to have passions and interests that you can immediately go to when things are not going your way, but the point is, to not dwell in what went wrong and instead find solutions for how to resolve the issue, and identify what else you can do instead.
Another great way to reframe your mindset is to focus on what you are grateful for when things don’t go your way. Instead of getting angry at someone you love for something that you don’t agree with, remember why you are grateful to have that person in your life and remember all that they do for you. Instead of getting angry at the traffic or a crazy driver on the road making you late for work, be grateful that you have access to a car and hopefully, a workplace environment that you find personally meaningful. If you have trouble finding things to be grateful for, consider keeping a journal where you can write down five things that you are thankful for each and every day. I know that sounds like the type of hippy-dippy homework of a self-help seminar, but the benefits are clear.
CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLES WISELY
One of the best ways to maintain a positive mindset is to surround yourself with positive people. When it comes to your workplace or family, sometimes there is only so much you can do in the quest to surround yourself with positive people. But you can be more selective when it comes to your social circle, in ensuring you spend time with people who bring value to your life, and who have a positive outlook – even when times are tough. Let’s be honest. Do you want to spend time with someone who is constantly complaining about all that’s wrong in the world? Exactly. So first, choose your friends wisely. Second, don’t be that person. Focus on the positive and reframe your mindset to remember what you are grateful for. You will instantly be a better friend, and you will inspire your friends to be better friends, thanks to your infectious energy.
There’s an old saying about this too, that says you are an average of the five people you spend the most time with. While that might be an exaggeration, there’s no doubting how important your friends and family can be to shaping your mood. So especially when it comes to friends, choose wisely and don’t be afraid to drop people that don’t add value and positivity to your life. If you’re someone that has trouble making high quality friends, check out the Part 1 of our Becoming the Best You series.
FOCUS ON YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Becoming the best you is about bettering your life in a variety of different areas, including your physical health. A multitude of different studies about the positive effects of exercise, nutrition, and sleep would suggest the same. Prioritizing your physical health is vital in allowing you to focus on the positive and live a better life. While some of us might have trouble staying motivated to exercise, we all probably agree that once we do it, we feel better about ourselves. That’s because physical activity releases positive endorphins in our brains – which help to do wondrous things like alleviate depressive states, reduce anxiety and stress, and boost self esteem.
When it comes to food and sleep, you probably know firsthand that when you’re hungry and tired, you’re not the same person. The ultimate positive person learns how to cope when in a state of ego depletion, but we all have to start somewhere. So focus on getting the right amount of sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. This will be a great start in helping boost your mood, and even your confidence – for the longevity of your newfound positive outlook. For tips on how to prioritize your physical health, be sure to check out our next article in the Becoming The Best You series.
So there it is! How to focus more on the positive, and develop a positive outlook on life. Be sure to check out more from our Personal Development category, and follow on social media @DesmondRhys. Thanks for reading and see you soon!