Having a positive attitude and trying to apply a positive perspective can help in the process of responding to and overcoming hardship. Thinking positively may lessen feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression while increasing self-confidence. Consider these tips to help strengthen your positive perspective.
1. Turn It Off
The current media climate can make it very hard to remain optimistic. Limit your intake of the news, social media, and television. Seek credible and direct resources for absorbing important information.
2. 5 Faves
Take a moment to think about who you surround yourself with. I like to say we make up the average of the five people we surround ourselves with the most. Yes, negativity is contagious, but so is positivity! Add some grounded optimists to your network and notice the difference.
3. Watch Your Mouth
Do you tend to speak positively to yourself and others, or, are you judgmental and negative? Try to shift over to more positive thoughts and words. Practice using upbeat words and focus on the positive in every situation.
Negative self-talk can increase feelings of anxiety and even lead to depression. It can also increase cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and have negative effects on both your mind and body. Working to shift to using positive self-talk and affirmations can lessen negative self-talk and bring these additional benefits to your life. Consider these three tips as you establish your affirmations practice.
1. Set a Goal/Outcome
Affirmations work best when they are targeting a specific goal or outcome. The affirmations could have a set deadline such as finishing a project on time. It could also be ongoing, such as feeling more confident in your career. An outcome will help give real application in your daily life.
2. Repeat & Repeat
For affirmations to work, you need to expose yourself to them often. Say it out loud and proud. The more you say it, the more your brain is encouraged to visualize the positive outcome.
3. Do The Work
Yes, affirmations are powerful, but saying them is only half the battle. They need to have an action component for them to truly be effective. Use your affirmations as a guide for the change you want to see. If you are speaking that you are in a new role – begin showing up as the person deserving of that role.
Positive thinking is important for success in all areas. Avoid these negative patterns of thinking to avoid falling into a downward spiral of negativity.
All or Nothing Thinking: Black-and-white thinking. It sounds like, “If I don’t do this right, I’m a failure.”
Overgeneralization: Seeing a pattern based on a single event or being overly broad. It sounds like, “I never win” or “Nothing good ever happens to me.”
Jumping to Conclusions: This can be two things. Thinking you know what others are thinking or thinking you can predict the future.
Mental Filter: Noticing our failures, but not seeing our successes.
Disqualifying the Positive: Discounting the good things that have happened or that you’ve done; thinking it doesn’t count.
Emotional Reasoning: Assuming because we feel a certain way, what we think must be true. It sounds like, “I feel embarrassed so I must be an idiot.”
Catastrophizing or Minimizing: Blowing things out of proportion or making them seem less important.
Should Statements: Using words like “should/must/ought” which make us feel guilty or like we’ve failed.
Unrealistically distorting your experiences produces these thoughts which then lead to your negative emotions. If you want to change your emotion, you will need to change your beliefs. To change your beliefs you need to examine them.
EXAMPLE: (A) Friend turns you down for dinner + (B) no one likes you = (C) sad/feel rejected
Remember, if you want to change your emotion, you will need to change your beliefs. To change your beliefs you need to examine them.
Consider: In this example, no one likes you. Examine the evidence – Why do you think no one likes you? Does one person turning you down actually mean that no one likes you? Does this one event mean that no one will ever like you? Does this mean that everyone must like you?
By challenging your thoughts and beliefs about yourself, you can change your emotional reactions. Once you can start picking apart the illogical basis for your emotions, you can free yourself from being dominated by emotions like rage, jealousy, and rejection and instead boost your emotions like happiness, contentment, and joy.
SADNESS = the belief that you’ve lost or will lose something important to you
ANGER = the belief that someone has taken something away from you
ANXIETY = the belief that something bad will happen to you