April 02, 2016

Become a Positive Thinker

It can become all too easy to focus on the negative during a busy day. You might feel tired, overworked, and stressed out by all of the conflicting demands on your time. As a result, negative thoughts can creep into your mind.

While you know that thinking positively is better for your state of mind, you might be surprised to learn that it can also be very good for your health. Research has demonstrated that thinking positively can have a wide variety of benefits, from improving your self-confidence and psychological well-being to actually boosting your physical health.

So what can you do to eliminate those negative thoughts and replace them with a more positive outlook? You may not be a natural-born optimist, but there are things you can do to develop your positive thinking skills and reap some of the benefits of positive thinking.

Focus on your Thoughts


In order to be a positive thinker, you need to learn how to really analyse your thoughts. The stream-of-conscious flow of thought can be difficult to focus on, especially if introspection is not your strong suit. When you encounter a challenging situation, try to notice how you think about what is happening. Do you engage in negative self-talk? Do you mentally criticise yourself or others? This negative thinking can present a major obstacle, but identifying such thoughts is your  first step in overcoming them.

Some of the most common types of negative thinking involve focusing on only the undesirable aspects of a situation. For example, imagine you have just spent a busy day at work, you have produced some good work and even completed some tasks ahead of schedule but you forgot to return an important call. So despite the successes of the day, by the evening, all you can think of is that one slip up and how it will affect things at work tomorrow! Instead of reflecting on the positive and acknowledging the negative, you are ignoring the good and magnifying the bad.

Self-blame is another common type of negative thinking. This type of negative thinking can be particularly damaging to your psychological well-being. By taking the blame for things that are not your fault or are not in your control and your self-confidence and self esteem can take a serious hit.

How to Become a Positive Thinker

Changing the negative thought cycle can be a challenge and it is a process that takes time. Positive thinking is not about putting on a pair of rose-colored glasses and ignoring all the negative things you will encounter in life. That kind of approach can be just as devastating as ignoring the positive and only focusing on the negative. You need balance, with a healthy dose of realism.

So what can you do when you find yourself overwhelmed with negative thoughts? Start with small steps. After all, you are essentially trying to cultivate a new habit here, and as anyone who has ever tried to change their behaviour in a particular way can tell you, these things take time.

Start by identifying one area of your life that you find is most affected by negative thinking. Perhaps you tend to think negatively about your personal appearance or your maybe your performance at work. By starting with a single and relatively specific area of your life, the changes will be more likely to stick over the long-run.

So, let's imagine that you have chosen to focus on your negative pattern of thinking with regards to work. The next step is to spend a little bit of time each day evaluating your own thoughts. When you find yourself thinking critical thoughts about yourself, take a moment to pause and reflect. While you might be upset about not getting that crucial sale, is berating yourself really the best approach? Is there any way to put a positive spin on the situation? While you might not have closed that sale, at least you have a better indication of how to structure your planning for the next opportunity. Watch carefully for negative self-talk. When your inner monologue starts suggesting that you will never get that promotion based on your results, find a way to take a more positive view of the situation. Rearrange your schedule, plan a new strategy and try taking a different approach, brainstorm and come up with novel ways to clich that deal!

Being a positive thinker is not about ignoring reality in favour of more aspirational thoughts. It is more about taking a proactive approach to your life. Instead of feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, positive thinking allows you to tackle life's challenges by looking for effective ways to resolve conflict and come up with creative solutions to problems. It might not be easy, but the positive impact it will have on your mental, emotional, and physical health will be well-worth it. It takes practice and involves a lifelong commitment to looking inside yourself and being willing to challenge negative thoughts and create positive changes.