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It’s been said that humans have an average of 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. And most of the time, 80% of those thoughts are negative ones. These negative thoughts can easily affect your mood, productivity, creativity, and even the way you decide things.
Did you know that we are actually wired to be this way? Negative thoughts have a bigger impact compared to positive thoughts.
According to Dr. Loretta Breunig, author of Habits of a Happy Brain and The Science of Positivity, “Our brain is not designed to create happiness, as much as we wish it were so. Our brains evolved to promote survival. It saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.”
The good news is that we can actually train ourselves to think positively instead of negatively. Imagine how much better our day, mood, decisions, and quality of life could be when we let positive thoughts take over instead!
Training Yourself to Think Positively
1. Start your day right.
How you start your day determines your mood for the rest of the day. You must take time to prepare and ease into the day every morning.
Start your mornings with meditation, yoga, prayer, exercise, journaling, or simply some quiet time to yourself as you eat your breakfast.
This may seem impossible to do. But just try to make it a habit to wake up an hour earlier than you usually do.
Once you get used to it, you will benefit from starting your day on a relaxing and high note.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
One way to think positively is to maintain an attitude of gratitude. A gratitude journal lets you list down the things that you are thankful for.
The best thing about it is that you can always re-read your gratitude journals on days when you are feeling low. This will remind you how blessed you have been.
3. Practice the pause.
It is easy for us to respond negatively when things become difficult or challenging. Before you react or respond to anything, take a moment to pause. You have no idea how much pausing for a moment can save you a lot of trouble!
While pausing, take the moment to rework your response. For example, instead of complaining that you have to do chores late, think that you’re doing this for the benefit of your family. This will also help you wake up the next day with a peaceful mind.
By turning a negative response into a positive one, you wire your brain to think positively.
4. Keep an active mind.
If your mind has too much idle time, it allows you to reflect more on negative thoughts. So, it helps to keep your mind active by engaging in different hobbies and activities during your free time.
Try reading, playing games, solving puzzles, or journaling. Turn to these habits when you find a negative thought coming on and there is nothing to keep your mind preoccupied with.
Aside from journaling, you can invest in a specialized guard your heart bible. This book will help enhance your spirituality and open your mind to new thinking methods. You could also use these books to guide your Bible studies and keep you on a straight and moral path.
5. Practice positive self-talk.
Let’s admit it! We tend to overthink things and, in the end, become our own worst critics. Stop being too hard on yourself and start doing positive self-talk.
Instead of saying “I messed up” tell yourself “I will try it again in a different way this time.” Positive self-talk can influence your mind to regulate positive feelings, thoughts, and behavior even when under stress.
6. Practice self-care.
Think about it. How can your brain start thinking positively when your body does not feel the same way? You have to take care of yourself not just mentally but also emotionally and physically.
Self-care is vital when it comes to living a positive lifestyle. When you feel good, your brain will follow suit and release more positive thoughts.
7. Laugh more!
These days there may be lesser things to laugh about. But it helps to open yourself up to humor. Laughter helps lower stress, anxiety, and depression.
Indeed, this reminds me of a familiar page in every Reader’s Digest magazine- Laughter is the Best Medicine. It’s a great thing they have a compilation for this!
Try to find the humor in everything. Laughter can instantly lighten up the mood and make things less difficult!
8. Use affirmations.
Starting the day with positive affirmations is becoming a popular practice. You can do this too. Affirmations can reinforce your goals and attitude in life. It reminds you that there are things you can control.
While you prepare in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say positive affirmations like:
- I’m inspired by empathy and compassion.
- I will be kind to my husband and kids today.
- I’m intelligent and resourceful.
- I will try a new recipe and have a great day!
9. Surround yourself with the right people.
Did you know that negative thoughts and emotions are contagious? Just think about it. How do you feel after interacting with a toxic person? Drained out, right?
Therefore, surround yourself with the right people. When you spend time with those who make you happy, inspire you, and motivate you, you will find yourself in a more positive mindset. Your life will also be better when you surround yourself with people who make you better!
10. Do random acts of kindness.
There is strong evidence that doing acts of kindness does not just make the recipient happy. But it also makes you happy!
It does not have to be a grand gesture. This can be something as simple as helping an elderly cross the road. You may also try giving a homeless man a hot meal. Or help your neighbor bring in their bags of groceries or help tend the garden.
Indeed, there are many things you can do. Involve your kids too so that they will learn the value of caring for others as early as they can.
When you give positivity, you feel positivity!
11. Give out positive feedback.
Giving out positive feedback is not just a job for those who are in superior positions. You can dish them out yourself! It can be as simple as saying “thank you” every time someone does something for you.
Let your child know what a good job he is doing. Give your mom a call and tell her how a lesson she taught you became useful later on.
Thank your husband for providing for you and the family. Tell the kids you appreciate how well-behaved they are.
These feedbacks will make them feel good about themselves. Knowing that you appreciate them will also make them even more motivated.
12. Listen to music.
When people say “music heals the soul” they are not kidding. Make a playlist of your favorite songs. When you feel down or when a negative thought comes in, listen to that playlist.
You will find that you will be put in a relaxed and better mood as you listen to the beats that inspire you and make you happy.
Also create a relaxing playlist of nature sounds. This includes the sounds of rain, waves crashing to the shore, and the likes. These are known to help with stress and anxiety. You will feel relaxed as you listen.
13. Look for the lesson.
As humans, it is natural for us to make mistakes. When you do mess up, do not dwell on it. Instead, learn from it!
Yes, you may feel remorse and guilt. But it is also important that you move on.
When you think positively, you acknowledge your mistakes. Also be willing to make things right.
Look for the lesson. Then try to find what you can do differently next time. Also, do something to make up for the mistake you made.
14. Relax after a long day.
It is easy for us to feel all worn out and exhausted after a long day. This invites negative thoughts into your head. So, do things that relax you.
Soak in the tub before you go to sleep, do some journaling, meditate, and have some quiet time with a cup of tea. Indeed, there are plenty of things that you can do to turn a long day around and end it in a more relaxing note.
15. Remember to pray.
When you are worried about something, pray about it. Worrying keeps your mind focused on what might happen in a negative way. This consumes energy, time, and definitely will make you feel down and even anxious at times.
It’s better to take action than to keep on worrying. So do what you can to resolve a problem. But when you’ve done your part, leave the rest to God.
If there’s nothing you can do, then the more that you should pray. Leave them to God and trust Him to make ways that you’re incapable of. Then go on with your day, knowing that you’ve already surrendered those difficult things to the Lord.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.Matthew 6:34
Everything becomes more manageable when you train yourself to think positively.
A lot is going on in the world and sad to say, most of them can be bad. Between the news, the community you live in, and managing your personal life, you can easily get stressed, overwhelmed, and upset. As humans, our automatic reaction does not always push us in a positive direction.
But if you can train yourself to think positively, everything becomes more manageable. Start practicing these habits right away and make sure they are part of your daily life. Soon, you will find that you are a positive thinker who sees the good in even the little moments of life.
As you can see, it only takes some minor changes to train your mind to think positively more often. These are things that you can easily adapt to your daily routine!
Need more tips on positive thinking? Check these out!
- Choose to Be Happy: How to Choose Happiness
- Living in the Moment: How to Enjoy the Present!
- How to Declutter Your Mind & Think More Positively