You know that having a positive mindset helps you weather storms, keeps you flexible, and allows you to see opportunities that others can miss. But is it easier said than done? Yes, because if you have negative views on any area of life, you have habits of thought and quite a bit of evidence to back up your negative point of view. Let’s say you believe that it’s very hard to find the perfect mate. Well, if you believe that, as time goes on, your habit of thought will cause you to accept the wrong potential mates into your life and overlook the right potential mates, thus adding to your store of evidence that finding the perfect mate is incredibly difficult.
Knowing that your beliefs will cause you to automatically limit or expand the amount of goodness you have in your life, let’s dig into the “hows” of shifting your mindset into a more positive, productive, and self-reinforcing one.
Look at something positive
Whenever you catch yourself ruminating on topics that make you feel any of the negative emotions (sadness, anger, fear, envy, etc.), take the time to look for something that will make you feel better. Even if you have scanty time to take for this exercise, it will benefit you in ways you can’t possibly imagine yet.
Suppose you’re in a meeting and you hate what’s going on. You either hate the people, the hypocrisy, or the company. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom and as you flip on the light, say to yourself, “Thank goodness someone invented the electric light bulb! Thank goodness for indoor plumbing. Thank goodness for mirrors. Thank goodness for flooring. What would it be like to work in a place with dirt floors, outdoor plumbing, and no lights? Thank goodness I live in this time in history.”
This might seem like a stupid thing to do, given that you haven’t solved anything that was going on in that meeting. But putting yourself in a positive frame of mind, even for just a short time, will become a skill that you will never forget and you can use for the rest of your life. When you go back to the meeting, you’ll realize that although you can’t control anyone else, you have a powerful secret that will lead you to a workplace that you adore eventually. You will learn to recognize the difference between pleasant opportunities and ones that lead you down the same old path.
Start your day off with a positive routine
Do you put the news on first thing in the morning? If you start off your day with news of disease and devastation, guess what’s going to happen over time? You’ll have more time invested in bad news than good.
It’s great to keep in touch with the news, but those first few moments of your day can have a lasting effect. Instead, try hitting the snooze alarm and listing as many positive things about your life as you can in that four minutes. Or, just appreciate the quiet, the softness of the pillow, or a favorite person. For many people, meditation is the best way to start out the day, and just as many start out with a gratitude journal. The best ways to shift your mindset from one of “not enough” to one of abundance is to take those last few minutes before sleep and the first few minutes after awakening and make them positive.
Learn to recognize when a person is taking you down a negative path
We all have challenges and problems in life, and it’s certainly okay to have them. After all, life offers us a cornucopia of experiences and we just pick and choose the ones we want to focus on.
When others try to take you down a negative path of conversation, it’s nothing to get alarmed about, but just remember you don’t have to go there. It’s usually not a good idea to try to change someone else, but remember that you have all the power in the world to change your own habits of thought.
For example, let’s say a friend tries to talk to you about an alarming issue, either in their own life, your life, or the world at large. You can listen and say, “I’m really sorry this is causing you so much distress,” but you never have to say, “Oh, I agree with you. That’s terrible!” You may think that those two statements are not very different, but in one statement, you’re actually joining the other person on a negative vibe. That person may have a very strong habit of negativity, so learn to keep yourself positive or neutral even though it’s not going to be possible to change the other person. In fact, overly positive people are actually annoying to people who are on a negative path!
Call a friend to say, “I appreciate you”
Every so often, you’ll find yourself feeling bored. You’re not feeling sad or angry, but you’re not feeling excited or optimistic, either. This is a really good time to just say, “I love you.” Sometimes, a text or a card is a better choice than calling; that’s because you never know where the other person is vibrationally at that moment. If they’re down, a text or card can lift them up, but you’re in no danger of them accidentally dragging you into their drama.
If you’re generally in a positive frame of mind, you might try setting your alarm watch to ring at the same time every day, and train yourself to send out something upbeat to another person every day.
Create your own mantra or positive habit
Whether you’re doing dishes, exercising, composing an article, or just clipping your toenails, you can fill up the empty space in your mind by introducing a mantra or upbeat audio track.
Let’s say one of your greatest challenges in life is earning enough money, but you’re physically fit and love to go jogging every day. As you do, you can create and repeat a terrific mantra to repeat with every step, such as: “I appreciate all the abundance in this beautiful planet, and accept myself as part of that whole.” Or, if you’re cleaning house, you can train yourself to put on something uplifting to listen to. Even if you’re vacuuming and can’t hear what you put on, just knowing that you’re being mindful enough to put it on can help; and your memory of the kind of things that uplifting source has said in the past will uplift you, too.
Find a positive trait in everyone you see
No matter who you come into contact with, you’re going to move into a more positive mindset if you find something about that person to appreciate. Think of it this way: most parents appreciate something about their children, even if those children make choices that the parents disapprove of. If you believe in God or a Higher Power, you probably think that God finds something positive in every person He created, even if the person’s not making very beneficial choices at the moment. Learning this technique can help you rise above present conditions and begin to embrace more beneficial ones. It can also help you leave behind all the negativity that is currently holding you back.
Most of the time, it’s easy to find something good about a person, even if you dislike her. Let’s say someone is really nasty at work. You can still think, “She’s probably a great parent and defends her kids when they need it.” Or, if someone you know is constantly trying to get your attention, you can say, “This person is doing a good job trying to find his place in the world.” It doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behavior, but it helps you reframe the experience so that you’re not involved in peoples’ personal dramas. A great one from Helen Street is, “He wears nice ties, because his wife picks those.”
As you can see, these techniques will just put you in a better frame of mind, and to be truly successful in life, not just in the career area, you’ll need to find at least some contentment in all areas of your life. If one area of life is really working for you, and others are bothersome, don’t forget to focus most of your attention on the one area that’s bringing you joy. What you focus on expands, so let yourself feel joy more often, and that joy will start spilling over into other areas, too.