Three Ways to Cultivate a Positive Mindset
People with a positive mindset move differently in the world. Regardless of circumstances, they have a quiet confidence that everything is going to work out for them. Learn the three ways you can cultivate (or strengthen) more positivity in your life.
“When we are positive, we engage in positive thinking, have positive emotions, and engage in positive behaviors like kindness and generosity.” ~ Tchiki Davis, Berkeley Well-being Institute
Do you know someone who looks for the silver lining regardless of what is happening or how messed up things might be? If something happens that you’d think would be a significant setback or disappointment for them, they seem to bounce back and keep looking forward with optimism and hope. I know a few people like that, and initially, I was skeptical. I thought they were putting on a happy face when deep down, they were suffering.
I’ve played armchair psychologist and tried to get them to languish in the problem because I thought they needed to face reality to move through the issue instead of ignoring it. I assumed that they weren’t facing it. My perception was that they were avoiding suffering instead of working through it. I was afraid if they buried their pain, it would harm them later.
I know my worries are not irrational. Some people prolong their suffering by not facing circumstances or not accepting the cause of their misery. But the few people I’ve been thinking of that approach life with a positive mindset are not hiding their emotions or running from reality. They have developed a different way of moving through life. They have a positive attitude.
What I mean by a positive mindset goes beyond just the mind, although it starts there. The mind can take over when we encounter adversities in life. But these people have built practices that support them through adversity. These practices keep them looking forward, fill their lives with positivity, and help them come through almost any setback optimistic, hopeful, and peaceful. I’ve learned so much from being close to and observing them. I’ve been around them long enough now that I believe their positive mindset is authentic. It’s their way of being in the world.
What each of them does that has been hugely beneficial to me in cultivating a positive mindset are these three things:
1. Positive Thoughts
People with positive mindsets rise above their circumstances because they focus on what is positive through every situation.
a. They focus on what they can change. Instead of ruminating on what is out of their control, they seek and focus on whatever morsel of good they can find. I have a friend who went through the interview process for a job she wanted. She was disappointed when she didn’t make it to the final round of interviews. But instead of trying to figure out what she did “wrong” or filling her head with limiting beliefs, she talked about how much she learned through the process. She said it would help her to be a stronger candidate next time she gets the opportunity. Of course, she was disappointed, but regardless of her disappointment, she could not change the outcome. So, she changed the one thing she could control – her attitude.
b. They practice gratitude. When my brother Kevin, now deceased, was going through his health issues, he would not spend much time thinking about what could go wrong. Instead, he focused on what could go right. And he was thankful for every positive progress he made. I imagine he was afraid, but he used his mental and emotional energy to focus on getting better. I believe that Kevin extended his time with us because of his positive mindset, and he lived a happier, more peaceful existence in his last months and years.
c. They create visions for the future they want to manifest. They could see life as random events that are happening to them. But those with positive mindsets see themselves as agents in creating their reality. When we believe we have the power to think our desires and dreams into existence, we call that manifestation. Manifestation doesn’t just occur by thinking something and sitting on our hands. The other two parts of this positivity triad are also at play. We speak our vision into existence with positive words and take actions that move us closer to our visions and dreams. Everything that exists in the world began first in someone’s imagination. What can you imagine for your life?
2. Positive Words
People who cultivate positive mindsets are careful with their words. They know the power of our words, so they speak what they want instead of what they don’t want.
a. They speak affirmatively about themselves and their situation. Too many people dismiss reciting positive affirmations as woo-woo. They don’t work, some say. But I love what Louise Hay said about affirmations:
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
Reciting positive affirmations is perhaps the most accessible practice because I greatly believe Louise Hay’s words. I’m a teacher at heart and a parent. I know firsthand how detrimental negative comments can impact a person’s self-esteem and self-belief. If we tell ourselves we’re not enough, then guess what? We’re not enough. If we repeatedly tell ourselves we can’t lose weight, we won’t find our soulmates, and we will always struggle financially, guess what will happen? Our words will create our reality.
Affirmations are positive statements that help you overcome negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and self-sabotage. They support you by reminding you who you are and what is available. Affirmations don’t have to be outlandish to the point that they are unbelievable. But please know how important your words are. They are fateful. We move toward our words, and they become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Click here for 100 Louise Hay Affirmations that can get you started in speaking words of life and abundance over yourself.
b. They speak truthfully to themselves and about themselves. Integrity with oneself and others is essential. Even as we affirm ourselves and stretch to our next levels of greatness, we must never lie to ourselves. If we lie to ourselves, we will not trust ourselves; nothing positive can come from that. I love when someone speaks truthfully about their strengths and weaknesses, not apologetically but honestly and with a confident vulnerability – if you know what I mean. They are not trying to be everything to everyone. They know themselves well enough and trust in themselves enough to know that what they are good at is more than enough to contribute meaningfully to others or a situation.
c. They keep their words impeccable about others. Positive people do not waste their time or energy gossiping or speaking negatively about others.
3. Positive Actions
Positive people live positive lives. They spend time doing things that are positive not only for themselves but for others.
a. They strive for excellence, not perfection. People with a positive mindset realize perfection is an unattainable standard. I can attest to this as I journeyed from perfectionism to excellence. When perfection is the standard, nothing is ever good enough. I used to ask myself, “Tonya, why is nothing ever good enough?” I stopped asking myself that question. I replaced it with a statement, “Not perfect, but not bad.” It wasn’t that I was settling for mediocrity; far from it. I was embracing imperfection and releasing myself from the chokehold of perfectionism. Now I say, “Do your best.” I leave the outcome to what it will be because I don’t control that.
When perfection is the standard, the fear of failure always prevails over you. You’re afraid to make a mistake which paralyzes you from moving forward. So instead, I elevated my strength as a learner. Learners experiment. They fail. They are novices before they become experts. They give themselves the space and time to develop personal mastery, and that builds confidence and a positive self-concept. They operate from a growth mindset.
b. They serve others. Positive people engage in positive behaviors like kindness and generosity toward others. They lift others and see themselves as connected to the whole. “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Positive people operate from an abundance mindset, and by helping others, they know they are benefitting many others, including themselves.
You can cultivate a positive mindset through your thoughts, words, and actions. There is no mystery to those who have figured this out. They’ve chosen to move differently in the world. We can all make the same choice.
Thanks for reading and being a part of the Your Aha! Life Global Community. I hope you find this article helps you to cultivate a positive mindset and increase your optimism and hope for the future. Everything is working FOR you. Please share the article with your friends.
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My purpose is helping others get to know, believe in, and accept themselves so that they live their best lives – lives with more joy, more purpose, and more fulfillment. Their Aha! Life. I’m so grateful you’re on the journey.
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