End the Negativity! Take These 6 Steps to Become a Positive Thinker

If you feel surrounded by people with a negative attitude, one thing is for sure – it is NOT FUN! If you’re around other people who constantly see the worst in every situation and are challenged to see positive in a situation, it is difficult to not be in a negative mood. And it becomes really hard to view anything as positive since there is so much negativity.

But….what if that person is you??

How do you change? And how do you stop the negative thinking? 

Many people ask this question and there is an easy answer but it takes a little time and effort. The answer is to make a few tweaks to adjust the autopilot settings in your thinking process.

Sounds complicated, but you can start to shift your thinking processes just by reading this post and making a few minutes of effort.

If you’re ready to start changing your mindset, here are a few mindset tweaks you can start making to become a more positive person and a more positive thinker.

Step 1 – Look for the Positive

Life is often very challenging and full of chaos and random events. Other people may do things that harm or upset us, we get ill, the economy has a downturn that affects our business, we get a parking ticket. The list of bad things that can happen on a daily, weekly or monthly basis is endless. Sometimes it can get to be too much and it can be difficult to look for the positive.

The trick is to not automatically respond to the negativity with a bad mood (anger, sadness, etc.) and let it affect our behavior. If you don’t have a strong positive mindset, you will be constantly off balance when you experience these challenges.

The first step is to try to look for the positive. So if you’re having a strong negative reaction to something, take a deep breath. This will help relax your body. Then start to look for a positive aspect or angel in the situation. Try this right now with a situation that you are looking at negatively. This practice will help you start to change your default mode in your thinking process and respond more positively instead of just reacting to the negative and letting it control your thought process.

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Step 2 – Start a Gratitude Journal

Research shows that expressing gratitude can make us happier overall and enjoy life more. When you wake up tomorrow jot down 3 things you are grateful for. Or do it mentally or verbally when you are in bed. No excuses! The trick is to get your brain moving very quickly to a mindset of what you are grateful for.

This simple and basic habit of expressing gratitude will help you see the positive things in your life that you are probably ignoring. And it will help you see the positive in situations much faster. 

Research on gratitude has been mentioned in Psychology Today, NPR and UC Berkeley

Step 3 – Say “I Get To” (vs. “I Have to”)

Are you ready to make a small change in how you talk to yourself about your daily life that will go a long way toward helping you become a positive thinker?

Instead of saying “have to” say “I get to.”

Often when we are unhappy with something we make it worst by focusing on the negative. One of these ways is the simple phrase “I have to do this.” You probably say it every time you do something you don’t want to do, which puts your mind into the negative framework. For instance, “I have to go to work” can feel overly negative, especially when there is a project you don’t look forward to working on. 

Instead, say “I get to go to work.” And focus on the benefits. For example, “I get to go to work because I have a job. And the job helps me provide for myself. And my family.” There are millions of people that do not have a job and would love to have your job! Just remember that during times of temporary stress.

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To start making this change, start replacing “I have to” with “I get to”. This mindset tweak allows you to see and appreciate the positive points of the little things you do every day.

And you can expand it at any time. For example, “I get to go to work” can be expanded on at any time to include “I get to go to work and finish that project that has been annoying me” or “I get to go to work to finish that project so I can work on something new.” Another example could be “I get to go to the grocery and buy the stuff I need to make my favorite dinner.”

With this slight adjustment to your thinking and language, you will start to feel more appreciative about your life and feel more positive about minor stresses and upsets.

Step 4 – No Problems, Only Challenges

In the mindset tweak above we talked about replace the word “have” with the word “get.”

Similarly, when you have a problem, let’s try saying “challenge” instead.

So, instead of saying you have a problem, try saying you have a challenge.

Your subconscious is making a negative association every time you use the word “problem” and you can start changing that by using the word “challenge.”

So simple. Easy, peasy – you can do this right now!

Step 5 – Understand That You Have Control

The notion of control and being in control of your life is really important for avoiding depression. Psychologists have known this for years. If you feel like you do not have control, you will more than likely eventually feel depressed.

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Psychologists teach us that things usually aren’t good or bad by themselves but it’s the attitude we assign to it. (There are some obvious exceptions but these are extremes).

In day to day situations, you have the ability to control how you see things and choose how to feel about it, or how to react to it.

You can then choose to respond instead of feeling like you are reacting out of autopilot emotions. Instead, ask yourself, “What can I do now?” “What can be done about this now?” “Does this really apply to my life now?”

When you start to ask these questions differently, you will start feel more in control of your thoughts and your actions. 

Step 6 – Positive Self-Talk Only

Have you every really stopped and listened to what you say to yourself each day? Many of us talk very negatively to ourselves and don’t ever realize it.

If you said the same thing to someone else, would it make them feel better or worse? When you catch yourself saying something negative you need to stop, take a breath, and instead say something positive.

Have you ever said things like: “I’m such an idiot!” under your breath? Stop. Instead say something like: “That’s not true. Sometimes I do smart things like XXX” and then list a couple of examples to remind yourself of what you are capable of.  

In summary, we just reviewed 6 easy steps to become a positive thinker. They are quite easy and simple to apply, so start right now. The more negative your thinking generally is, though, the longer it will take you to shift things, so be patient with yourself. Patience is part of Step 6. Give yourself the patience and time to start making changes.

Please let me know what you found helpful in this article and leave a comment below!

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