How to Use the Power of Positive Thinking to Change Your Life
The power of positive thinking is remarkable.
In fact, the idea that your mind can change your world almost seems too good to be true.
I can assure you, however, that I have experienced AND witnessed the good that having a positive mindset can bring.
Both positive and negative thoughts are powerful but have opposite results. Today I want to talk to you about how both can impact you, and how the power of positive thinking can truly transform every aspect of your life.
The Power & Benefits of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking means you look for solutions and expect to find them.
You don’t ignore problems, but instead of complaining about them or letting them overpower you, you actively look for ways to overcome them.
You find the benefits — or the bright side — of challenges, and you expect things to work out well.
Having a positive attitude means you have an optimistic outlook.
Scientists have been studying the health benefits of positive thinking for a long time.
Having a positive attitude can reduce your risk of having a heart attack, getting a cold, and being depressed.
Positive thinking can lower a person’s risk of death from serious illnesses, including cancer, infections, heart disease, stroke, and lung conditions. It improves the outcomes of patients with brain tumors and traumatic brain injury and boosts your immune system.
A positive state of mind even gives you a higher pain tolerance.
When you have a positive outlook, you are better equipped to cope with stress and hardships, you think more creatively, and are better at problem-solving.
Thinking positively puts you in a better mood so that you can form positive relationships with co-workers, family members, friends, and new acquaintances.
Signs of a Positive Attitude
How do you recognize a positive mindset? People with positive attitudes tend to have healthier lifestyles. They smile more, are more pleasant to be around, and are more calm under pressure.
Someone with a more positive attitude is often willing to try new things. They have higher self esteem, love to have a good laugh, and point out the silver lining in every gray cloud.
A positive attitude is infectious, and people with a positive outlook can’t help but share it with those around them.
People who have a positive attitude are always kind to people and don’t talk negatively about themselves or others.
The Effects of Negative Thinking
The opposite of a positive outlook is a pessimistic outlook.
Negative emotions and negative thoughts put limitations on your brain activity and ability to make choices.
When you are faced with a negative emotion, such as fear, you can think of little else except what you are fearful of.
This can be helpful when you are in a dangerous situation and you instinctively think of running away from it so you can be safe.
But fear is detrimental when it prevents you from trying something new that could change your life for good because you are afraid you might be laughed at, rejected, or fail.
The same is true for anger, jealousy, sadness, loneliness, annoyance, guilt, frustration, and other negative emotions.
Negative thoughts prevent us from progressing and being in a negative state of mind prevents us from being happy. Negative attitudes attract more negativity to you.
What Are the Signs of a Negative Attitude?
Turn a negative attitude into a positive attitude by recognizing the signs of a pessimistic outlook.
One sign is perfectionism. When you set standards that are impossible to reach, you constantly set yourself up for failure.
Another sign of a negative attitude is anticipating that the worst will happen without any facts to back that up.
When you get to the end of your day and obsess about the one negative thing that happened but filter out all the many positive experiences you had, you are allowing a negative attitude to control your outlook on life.
People with negative attitudes also tend to:
- Automatically blame themselves when bad things happen
- Blame others instead of taking responsibility for their own thoughts or feelings
- Magnify minor problems into much bigger negative situations
- Dwell on past experiences and mistakes instead of looking toward the future
- Focus on minor details instead of seeing the bigger picture
Practicing Positive Self-Talk vs. Negative Self-Talk
Combat the effects of negative thinking with the positive things you say to yourself.
Self-talk is the thoughts that run through your head. Sometimes we are not even aware of the stream of thoughts that are playing in our subconscious mind.
But if we tap into our thought processes, we can have more control over whether we are practicing positive self-talk or negative self-talk.
If your internal dialogue is mostly positive, you are a positive thinker. If it’s often negative, it reflects in a bad attitude and pessimistic outlook.
Positive thinking creates positive emotions, positive attitudes, and positive results, whereas negative self-talk will keep you stagnant.
Let me show you some ways you can replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts:
- Instead of saying, “I don’t want to d0 that, I’ve never done it before,” say, “I’ll try it because I may learn something new.”
- Instead of thinking, “I’m never going to get better at this,” say, “I’ll try again until I figure it out.”
We tend to be hard on ourselves, but we need to be our biggest cheerleaders.
So when you feel you’ve made a mistake or even failed at something, think instead, “What can I learn from this so that I’ll be more successful?”
Don’t think about what if you fail, think about what if you succeed.
How to Practice Positive Thinking
You can train your mind to think positively by leveraging a simple scientific concept: Your working memory can only focus on a few concepts at a time.
For example, have you ever found it difficult to talk on the phone and listen to someone else at the same time?
So, to help you train your mind, all you have to do is keep it focused on uplifting thoughts until you form the same types of neural pathways that are created when you establish a new habit.
When a negative event occurs, remember that it’s your response that truly determines the outcome. Always look for the positive response or optimistic lesson when such events take place.
Use the following eight strategies to develop a positive mental attitude and have a more positive outlook on your life and the world around you.
Identify what your negative habits are so you can assess areas of needed change.
Notice the thoughts you have during the day. Where does your mind wander to when you are driving, walking, or your hands are busy? What kind of self-talk do you have when you are faced with challenges, negative situations, or the mundane aspects of daily life?
If your answers to those questions were related to negative thoughts or habits, start to replace them with positive ones.
Start by identifying the parts of your life that tend to cause negative feelings and thoughts. It might be a relationship, your morning commute, co-workers, a family member, work environment, or other responsibility.
Then, think of positive ways you can approach these circumstances. Start small by focusing on one issue at a time and apply principles of positive psychology with self-talk and a good attitude.
Find Good in the World
Optimists seem to have different ways of dealing with the world that set them apart from the average.
Optimists look for the good in every problem or difficulty. When things go wrong, as they often do, they say, “That’s good!” They, then set about finding something positive about the situation.
What we know is that, if you are looking for something good or beneficial in a person or situation, you will always find it. And while you are looking, you will be a more positive and cheerful person.
Be Clear About Your Goals
Optimists keep their minds on what they want and keep looking for ways to get it. They are clear about their goals and they are confident that they will accomplish them, sooner or later.
Focus on what you want out of life and make a plan to move forward. Don’t allow setbacks to discourage you. Instead, remind yourself that positive things can come out of all situations.
Refrain from comparing yourself to others. You are a unique individual who has your own story to tell.
Successful people define what is most important to them and prioritize the activities of their daily lives so that they will meet their goals, despite tough situations, distractions from the outside world, or the negative attitudes of others.
Practice Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are positive phrases that can be repeated over and over to teach you how to get rid of negative thoughts and encourage a positive attitude.
A positive person thinks positive thoughts and uses positive words. Choose your words carefully in speaking, writing, and thinking.
The words you choose affect how others respond to you. Stop complaining and make a habit of sharing positive information.
Stay positive by choosing words like “I can,” “I will try,” “It is possible,” and “I am capable.”
Add positive affirmations to your morning routine, such as “I am happy with who I am right now, ” “I am confident,” “I am strong,” “I am enough,” and “I choose to be happy.”
Surround Yourself With Positivity
Positive people help you to change your own attitude to have a more positive outlook.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel confident, optimistic, and encouraged. Identify the negative people in your life and find ways to distance yourself from them or improve the relationship.
Watch and listen to positive media, including upbeat music, news, and social media posts. Read books, articles, and blog posts that boost your positive mindset.
Even colors and images affect your positive attitude. Pay attention to the way your home and office are decorated. Hang photographs and pictures that make you think positive thoughts and help you maintain a positive attitude. Use colors in your surroundings that make you happy.,
I also find motivation from inspirational quotes and messages to be very useful when trying to induce positive thoughts. Keep a collection of positive attitude quotes in a journal, on your Pinterest board, in the notes on your phone, or in a document on your computer, and refer to them often.
Decide to Be Happy
Resolve from now to see your glass of life as half full rather than half empty. Happy people give thanks for the many blessings in life rather than worrying or complaining about the things they do not have.
Assume the best of intentions on the part of everyone around you. Most people are pretty decent, honest, and trying to do the very best they know how to. When you look for something good in their words and actions, you will almost always find something.
Finally, resolve to be cheerful, no matter what happens.
Looking on the bright side is most important when things go wrong
When you practice gratitude, you look at your life in a more positive way.
You notice the things that are going well, the aspects of your life that bring joy, and the random acts of kindness others extend to you.
Spend time each day cultivating a positive mindset by writing what you are grateful for in your gratitude journal. Take note of positive events, feelings, and circumstances.
You will find this one habit will improve your mental health and well-being and soon positive thinking will be natural to you.
Smile, Play, and Laugh More Often
A simple smile can turn a bad day into a good one. Harness the power a smile has on yourself and others by making a habit of smiling more often.
Find reasons to smile and let yourself be happy.
Taking time to play is helpful to maintaining a positive attitude. Schedule time for recreation and spending time with people you like doing things your enjoy.
Have a playful attitude. When you stop complaining about negative situations and find humor instead, you are able to breathe deeply and diffuse stress.
Positive Attitudes Create Positive Outcomes
Developing a positive attitude can help you in more ways than you might realize. When you think positive thoughts, you don’t allow your mind (conscious or subconscious) to entertain any negative thoughts or doubts. Positive thoughts can literally be the key to success.
After you learn how to think positively, you will notice amazing changes all around you. Your brain will actually begin to operate in a state of free-flowing feel-good hormones called endorphins, which will make you feel lighter and happier.
You’ll also notice a major boost in confidence and will feel more capable of taking on new assignments and challenges that might have previously been outside your comfort zone.
By reducing your self-limiting beliefs, you will effectively release your brakes and experience growth like you never imagined. Essentially, you can change your entire life simply by harnessing the power of positive thinking.
Begin now to harness the power of positive thinking by practicing these habits to keep a positive attitude. Write down your goals and use my Personal Development Plan Template
to help you develop new skills and create new ideas of how to cultivate and keep a positive attitude.
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.