A positive mindset brings positive thoughts, behaviours and actions. In turn, this gives you a positive experience of life. Read on to learn ten easy positive thinking techniques.
We can all have our down days, me included. So what can we do to lift our mood and develop a positive mindset?
The biggest part of my coaching work is helping clients like you to think more positively and be able to see each day and experience in a positive light, rather than with a negative mindset.
These ten positive thinking exercises provide fast results to a create and maintain a positive mindset. They will help you break out of negative thought patterns and behaviours to create more positive emotions, experiences and results.
(These positive thinking techniques are part of my 1-hour online course: The Power of Positive Thinking.)
1. Watch the language you use in your self talk to improve positive thinking
The way you talk to yourself has a huge impact on your mindset. You probably say to yourself ‘I should’; ‘I should do X, I should be more Y’.
If you switch should to could, you are removing self-bullying and creating choice.
Everything becomes a choice with ‘could’, and humans like choices.
I should listen more >>> I could listen more
I should apply for this new job >>> I could apply for this new job
I should drink less >>> I could drink less
‘I can’t’ is another example. ‘I can’t’ says you have limitations, which are only in your mind. By changing this to ‘I don’t’ puts you back in control of your thoughts and actions:
I can’t lose weight >>> I don’t lose weight
I can’t give up my job >>> I don’t give up my job
I can’t end this relationship >>> I don’t end this relationship
Does writing down negative thoughts help? Yes, it allows you to really see how you are using language in your self talk and then identify what to change.
Action: Each time you hear yourself think or say out loud ‘I should’, say it again with ‘I could’. Each time you hear yourself think or say out loud ‘I can’t’, say it again with ‘I don’t’. Notice the impact this positive mindset training has on your outlook.
2. Stop comparing yourself to other people
In the modern world, surrounded by advertising and social expectations, it is easy for you to start comparing yourself to others. But this is a surefire way to a negative mindset by inducing feelings of inadequacy and lack.
‘She / He is thinner / prettier / more successful / has a better spouse / has a better car / has an easier life.’
Comparison takes your focus away from what you do have.
Action: If you can catch yourself in comparison mode, ask yourself: ‘Who am I without this comparison?’ I asked one client this and her answer was ‘I am a fun, young woman living in New York City doing a job I love with a brilliant groups of friends.’ She immediately felt much happier without the comparison.
3. Reframe your ‘problems’ to enhance a positive mindset
Reframing is a useful NLP technique to develop a positive attitude. When you have a problem, reframe the issue and find value – instead of pain - in the situation. For example, if your colleague is not pulling their weight on a project, see it as an opportunity to do your best and acknowledge how capable you are.
Reframing negative statements to positive statements rewires your brain and allows you to see the good in a situation.
Action: Think of a problem or issue you may have at the moment and reframe it positively. How does the problem feel now?
“Each problem has a positive side.” Og Mandino
4. It really doesn’t matter if your opinion differs to someone else’s
Do you know that no-one is ever right or wrong? Ever. Every person creates their individual opinion based on their unique map of the world.
What is your map of the world? Your map is how you see everything in the world around you; your experiences, relationships, achievements, politics. Your map is unique to you as it draws on your previous experiences, your belief systems, your values, your upbringing. Therefore your map is different to your partner’s map, your boss’s map, your friend’s map.
If a group of six friends sit down to watch a movie together or discuss a subject, they will all have different views and opinions as they have seen it through their own map. No-one’s experience is ever exactly the same as someone else’s.
Therefore, no-one’s opinion should matter to anyone but themselves. Remembering this helps you to maintain a positive attitude.
Action: If you feel uncomfortable or threatened by another person's opinion, repeat five times to yourself "It really doesn’t matter if my opinion differs to someone else's." It helps immensely.
5. Write and repeat affirmations to increase positive thinking
Successful people regularly repeat positive affirmations to themselves. Yogis worldwide have been repeating mantras for centuries. Because it works.
The brain believes what you tell it the most.
Action: Write down 3-5 positive attributes that you want to own. You may not yet believe you will ever have them, or that you’re just not ‘that kind of person’, but that is coming from a negative mindset which you can change.
However daft you may feel, say these out loud at least once a day. In the mirror if you can. Your brain believes what you tell it the most, so repeating positive things to yourself makes perfect sense.
In 2015 when I wanted to launch my own business, I was doubting whether I could do it, so I did the positive mindset exercise. I wrote down:
I am strong and capable of running my own business
I can do this
I will get past these fears
I will earn enough money
Also, look for and repeat positive thinking quotes of the day you find online, do a positive thinking meditation and look for recommended positive thinking books to maintain momentum.
Action: Download my Positive Affirmations PDF so you can write your personal ones down and put them in useful places to remind you.
6. Be kind to yourself... Would you talk to a friend like that?
Is your self talk mean, unsupportive, harsh? Do you hear yourself saying things like ‘I'm a fool.’ ‘I’ll never be able to do that.’ ‘I am stuck here forever.’
You probably wouldn’t tell a friend they are a fool; that they’ll never be able to achieve something, or that they are stuck in a horrible situation / job / relationship forever.
Action: Next time you find yourself having negative personal thoughts, speak to yourself like you would a friend, with only kindness and support.
When you become aware of the nature of your self talk, stop and ask yourself ‘Would you speak to a friend like that?’ It’s highly unlikely that you would, even if you have truly honest friendships.
7. Practice self forgiveness
Don’t be harsh on yourself when you face a setback or make a mistake. When things go wrong, avoid punishing yourself.
Forgiving yourself relieves anger, pain and upset. It truly alleviates the tension and pressure you create internally by admonishing yourself.
Forgiving others is also hugely cathartic. People often ask me how to change negative thinking in relationships... I say practice forgiveness.
Action: Read more on the Spark Blog: The Healing Powers of Forgiveness, featuring tips and steps on how to forgive yourself, and others
8. 'There is no failure, only feedback'
This superb positive thinking quote is one of the NLP Beliefs of Excellence and helps my clients continuously. If you have a fear of failure, this will help you too.
How good does it feel to know that there is no such thing as failure? You cannot fail at a job application, a relationship, a presentation, launching a business, going freelance.
If you do not achieve a result you wanted, this result is still valuable as gives you feedback on how to do it differently next time.
Action: Take the words 'fail' and 'failure' out of your vocabulary, and switch to 'feedback'.
Action: Read the Spark Blog post: How to Beat the Fear of Failure
9. Stop complaining to increase positivity
Complaining once (or twice) about something can lighten the load but if you keep it up, you will feed a negative mindset. Complaining will not change your circumstances, it will only perpetuate it.
Action: Practice your awareness on what you say to others. If you can hear yourself complaining too much, they likely can too.
10. Challenge your self-talk to reduce negative thinking
To create a more positive mindset, question your negative self talk or self-storytelling.
Create a list of three to five questions to challenge negative thoughts and answer them truthfully. The answers will take the heat out of your negative self talk.
Action: Ask yourself questions such as:
Is there any actual evidence for what I’m thinking?
Is there a more positive way of looking at this?
Am I keeping everything in perspective?
Can I do anything to change what I’m feeling bad about?
Action: Download this simple Self Talk Diary PDF to increase your awareness on how you are talking to your Self.
I hope these 10 simple ways to develop a positive mindset help you change the way you think and view your world. If you would like more positive thinking tips and techniques, please take my 1-hour online course ‘The Power of Positive Thinking: How To Think & Live Positively’ on Udemy.com.