How to develop a positive mindset

Blog post about positivity

Hello! Thanks for taking the time to read the second post in my ‘Changing Mindsets’ series; it’s all about steps you can take to start developing a more positive, inspired and productive mindset! If you missed the first post on motivation, you can check it out here. So, let’s look at a few things we can all do to increase our positivity levels!

This post is absolutely NOT about being positive all of the time, because really, that’s not sustainable or healthy; you’ll most likely burn-out if you try to appear positive all of the time.

Being positive doesn’t mean covering up your emotions, such as sadness, anger or frustration. It’s more about developing an attitude that helps you to process these emotions, and then finding solutions to help you make the most of every situation.

I like to think that I have quite a well-rounded outlook on life and can usually see the brighter side of most situations. However, there are times when I do feel a bit downbeat and I have to try my best to drag myself out it.

I believe in finding ways to motivate myself, instead of trying to appear positive all of the time. We all have crappy days, and we all have days where it’s daunting just thinking about getting out of bed to face the day! The way we deal with these situations is what matters, and I believe that there is always a bright side to be found in even the darkest of moments.

The purpose of this post is to give a few pointers on how you can help yourself to see things from a different perspective.

Girl looks at Earth from different perspective - be more positive
Image by khaled Aljaber from Pixabay

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

You’ll find that you’re a lot happier if you just let things go. I don’t mean be a pushover! But really think about the things that you allow to get under your skin; is it worth your attention? Do you need to waste time getting worked up about it, or can you just shrug it off and move on with your day?

2. Try to see things from a different viewpoint

Other people will have opinions that differ from yours, that’s just a fact of life! Try your best not to allow these opinions to threaten you. Instead, try to look at the situation from their angle and accept that numerous factors have led this person to their views. Things such as religion, upbringing, their general life experience etc.

A bit of healthy debate won’t ever harm anyone, but don’t take these things personally. Especially if it’s going to have no impact on your life!

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

In our modern-day age of social media, it’s really easy to compare ourselves to other people. Our peers, family members, even people we don’t know!

It’s a bad habit to get into, as the majority of people post only the parts of life that can be perceived as ‘positive’ or ‘successful’. You won’t be seeing much of the hard work or hurdles that this person may have worked through to get there.

4. Embrace challenges, rather than resisting them

Life would be pretty boring if we were all just able to coast along without any challenges, right..?

This is about pushing yourself to try new challenges instead of trying to avoid difficult tasks.

You can always check out this post, which is all to do with getting out of your comfort zone.

5. What’s the worst that can happen?

A bit of defensive pessimism can be a good thing in terms of assessing risks. But why not balance it out with a bit of a positive spin? In this case, are there any good things that can come from this situation?

6. See hurdles as opportunities

A lot of new doors can be opened, and new experiences can be encountered if we try to see hurdles as opportunities for growth. It might sound a bit cheesy, but it’s a step in the right direction if you’re aiming to develop a more positive outlook.

Not everyone likes change, especially when it’s unexpected or unwelcomed. But no improvements will ever be made if you stay stagnant and resistant to change and new challenges.

That challenging project that your boss has asked you to help out on? It’s a learning opportunity! The tough workout at the gym, that you haven’t mastered yet? Opportunity to get fitter and improve your skills!

I’m not saying that you should say yes to everything, or that you should be happy to take on more than you can comfortably handle. But instead of seeing challenges as a burden, have a think about whether this could be an opportunity to benefit you in the long run.

Two women jumping hurdles during race - be more positive
Image by Bernd Hildebrandt from Pixabay

7. Be genuinely happy for others

Seeing others achieve their goals and be happy should be something that makes you happy. Try to be inspired by these things, rather than threatened.

However! Sometimes it can feel overwhelmingly that everyone else is moving on and making progress while you are still sitting on the backbench.

There are 3 things you can do about this:

  1. Get off that bench, make a plan for what you’d actually like to achieve and then put that plan into action!
  2. Sit and watch from the sidelines whilst muttering bitterly under your breath and plotting your revenge.
  3. Realise that sometimes people prefer to share their lives and successes when they’re ‘winning’. They may not be as open about the struggles and hard work it’s taking them to get there. (Or it may even be completely fake! Stranger things have happened…)

8. Learn to laugh it off

There are certain situations where it’s good to just have a laugh and see the funny side. In fact, this point is less about physically laughing and more about forgiving, forgetting and moving on.

Just having a laugh won’t fix any or all of life’s problems, but laughter has been proven to help reduce stress and make us feel more relaxed.

positivity - laughing boy sitting on a bench
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

9. Compliment someone, and actually mean it!

This one’s easy! Have you ever received an unexpected compliment from someone? Hopefully you have, and I’m sure that it made you feel pretty awesome.

The person you compliment will probably appreciate it more than you know!

Also, practice accepting compliments from other people. We Brits are notoriously terrible at this!

As a child, I was taught to smile politely and say ‘thank you’ if someone said something nice about me. As adults, it’s more likely that we’ll play it down and belittle ourselves rather than just accept it, be secretly chuffed and get on with our day.

10. Learn something new

Learn something from every situation. Then push yourself to teach something new to someone else in return.

Bad interview? Learn from it and improve! Awkward date? Lesson learned!

Not everything goes according to plan all of the time. But every event is a learning opportunity. It sounds really difficult, but actually we learn from everyday situations all the time! If we get sunburned, hopefully, that teaches us to stay in the shade or use suncream next time, right?!

11. Be curious

There are a lot of people who are different to you. Different cultures, different beliefs, different viewpoints, you get the idea! Be curious about these differences, instead of feeling subconsciously threatened or suspicious.

12. Don’t dwell on past situations

Learn from them and move on. If you’re a fan of the Lion King, remember Rafiki’s wise words ‘It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past!’ (In fact, a lot of good life lessons can be learned from good ol’ Rafiki…)

But on a serious note, try not to dwell on the things that you can’t change. There are more productive things that you can do. (See point 10)

be more positive
Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

13. Stop feeling sorry for yourself

You won’t find it easy to succeed if you adopt a ‘miserable’ attitude. It’s OK to have an off-day (we all have those!) but try not to let it become your ‘default’ setting.

I don’t mean that you can’t feel annoyed that you missed the train or sad that you broke your phone. It’s more about not letting the incident ruin your day and in turn affect the people around you.

14. Get rid of toxic people

These are people that you find it hard work to be around, they’re draining and just not the kind of supportive influence that you need in your life. There’s a great article about them here!

Also, this might seem a bit controversial but make sure that you’re not the toxic one that people want to get rid of. (Reading this article is a great starting point, just saying…)

be more positive - get rid of toxic people
Image by Jesse Bridgewater from Pixabay

15. Have a plan!

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or out of control, make a plan to fix it. You’ll feel 10x better once you actually start to do something about it.

Sometimes a quick ‘brain dump’ can do wonders. Write down a list of what’s on your mind, then you can stop thinking about it and try to address each point individually.

It also helps you to see where you’re making progress, as it’s easy to feel like you haven’t moved forward when in fact you have.

16. Reflect on the ‘good’ as well as the ‘bad’

It’s easy to focus on the bad experiences that we’ve had, and sometimes this means that we can forget the good things that have happened.

Sometimes, life is hard! It’s perfectly normal to have a bad day, or week or month. And you should definitely take the time to process the natural emotions that arise in those situations.

However…Letting these situations take over your focus is counter-productive, and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut for too long instead of moving forward.

17. Remember who is in control of your life

(HINT: it’s you…)

18. Remind yourself of this:

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone but yourself. Stop trying to push yourself to impress other people.

Other people’s approval shouldn’t be a main influence in the way you live your life.

19. Find likeminded people

Sometimes, just being around people with a similar attitude to yours can have a great effect on your own mindset.

If you’re trying to uncover a more positive mindset, then it makes sense to find people who can help you move closer to this goal.

be more positive

So in conclusion, I hope you can agree that this wasn’t a list of ways to feel positive all the time as it’s just not possible! It’s more of a list of things that you can think about to help you feel a bit more optimistic about doing what you need to do.

Just remember that having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person, it actually makes you human!

As always, I love getting your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment on this post or send me a message here.


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