“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” Germany Kent
What does it mean to have a positive outlook?
The meaning of a positive outlook is actually very simple.
It’s a way of thinking, well, positively rather than negatively. It doesn’t have to be through ‘rose-coloured’ glasses or not being realistic about the trials of life, but it’s about looking for the good and opportunities in a situation, rather than the bad.
It’s having the confident belief that things will always work out for the best and expecting the best in life in general.
“Our life is the creation of our mind.” Buddha
What are the benefits of having a positive attitude?
Think about somebody you know who has a positive attitude or outlook on life.
I’m willing to bet that they are happier, well-liked by others and less stressed.
In addition to this, people with positive outlooks tend to move through obstacles and around problems in life quicker – learning from mistakes and not letting such things affect their future.
They don’t dwell on problems but move forward in life despite hard times.
They are likely to be more successful in life, largely due to this positive outlook (or ‘growth mindset’) that they possess.
In summary, here are just some of the benefits of having a more positive outlook to life:
- Reduces stress due to less worrying,
- Helps with your emotional and physical health,
- You develop better coping skills,
- You are happier,
- You become more confident,
- You surround yourself with positivity and positive people (because it’s contagious and likeable!)
“A positive mind finds opportunity in everything. A negative mind finds fault in everything.” Unknown
How do you get (and keep) a positive attitude?
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” Anonymous
I know, it’s so much easier said than done. Especially if it’s been a long-ingrained habit.
The first step is understanding that you are in control of your thoughts and how you act towards things that happen. It’s about changing your habits around your old way of thinking. Here are a few things to try:
Bombard your mind with positivity
Does the news bring you down? This isn’t about denying the bad things going on in the world, but it’s about not dwelling on the bad and instead putting more emphasis on the positive.
Choose to read and listen to inspiring podcasts, books and programs on your commutes. Collate a list of songs that lift your mood and create a ‘positive playlist’.
Have Confidence in your own abilities
Get to know yourself, and focus on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. Understand your best skills and talents and play them up!
Yes, we all have weaknesses – just don’t focus on what you can’t change. If there is something that you can do to improve, then take action and work to make improvements.
Just like being negative can reduce productivity, being productive can actually increase positivity.
Yes – read that again.
When we feel productive and have accomplished something (ticked off things on our to-do list for example), we are more confident in ourselves and positive.
Stack the odds in your favour and set out a maximum of 5 most important tasks for the day. Get them done first thing in the morning (a la Eat that Frog) and enjoy your positivity to carry you on throughout the day.
The benefits of practising gratitude are undeniable. A big one being that being grateful puts you in the state of being positive and focusing your attention there.
The great thing is that practising gratitude is simple and doesn’t take a lot of time to become a habit. Simply journaling a few things each day that you are grateful for can have an enormous impact.
Replace ‘I have to’ with ‘I get to’
Leading on from the concept of practising gratitude – this is a small trick I read somewhere a few years ago and wow, it works so well.
It gives the boring, trivial and uninspiring tasks a face-lift or upgrade of sorts.
Having to clean the house (that never seems to stay tidy!) can be an endless, thankless task – until I say ‘I get to clean my house….’. It reminds me quickly that I have a home to tidy and I need to kick myself back into a grateful state.
Look for the opportunity
Make it a habit to ask yourself “What is the opportunity or lesson here?”
When something goes wrong, it’s easy to lose our cool, search for who to blame and instantly take a pessimistic and even sometimes ‘victim’ stance.
You don’t even have to wait to try this out. Think about the last time something went wrong in any area of your life: “What is the opportunity or lesson?”
Some examples are harder to question than others, but there is always something that can be learnt, improved on for next time, or another door can open.
Our bodies are supposed to move. And the endorphins that are produced by regular exercise will help with getting and keeping a positive outlook.
Check out this article if you need a little convincing on the benefits of exercise and positive moods.
How you start your day is how it tends to continue. Start strong by setting up routines and habits that put you into a positive mindset.
Think about what gets you off to a good start in the morning – is it exercise, meditation, time to wake up slowly, read, play with your kids?
Make time for the things that make you happy and positive in the morning and start strong.
Watch your words
Think about what words, phrases and tones that you use in everyday life.
Are they inspiring words or are they negative?
Sometimes it can be hard for us to realize ourselves that we naturally have a pessimistic tone towards particular things. Ask someone close to you for some constructive feedback about things that you might say that could have a negative tone.
Don’t shoot the messenger but take on-board the feedback and have a think about how you can change the words you use in these instances.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson
Surround yourself with positive people
We all have those people in our lives that drain us.
They can be negative, complainers and will find the faults in everything. And it’s not always as easy as cutting them from our lives.
But you can learn to steer the conversations away from the negatives and change the subject often. Better still, use the experience to remind yourself of how you don’t want to be!
Try and increase the time you can spend surrounded by people who share your positive outlook on life.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn
Know Your Why
We all need a purpose or reason for doing what we do.
Once you work out what your reasons are, then it gives you more direction and allows you to focus on the right things.
A Positive Outlook
Getting and keeping a positive outlook is not always an easy task. But one that’s well worth striving for!
There will always be times in life when we can’t always be positive – and that’s understandable. But what we can control, is how we react to what is going on and how this then carries over to our mindset – our emotional and physical well-being and ultimately our success in life.