21 tips for turning negative thinking into positive
I was recently asked by a reader how to maintain positive thinking. He said, “every time I’m positive, or at least I think I’m positive, then negative things happen.”
Having struggled with that very issue, I promised him an answer.
I agree that when stuck in negativity, it can be hard to pull yourself out. But not impossible.
First, accept that we all go through negative thinking some of the time; the trick is to not dwell there. Like driving through a bad neighborhood, you want to get out as soon as possible!
Here are some of the things that have helped me:
1. Listen to uplifting music
2. Watch inspiring videos: I like Abraham-Hicks, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Andy Andrews, all of whom can be found on YouTube.
3. Develop an “attitude of gratitude”: First thing in the morning and last thing at night, express at least five things you are grateful for.
4. Create a “book of positive aspects” in which you write down everything that goes right in your world. List everything you see around you that you can be grateful for. It’s not possible to stay negative when you are feeling gratitude. Be outrageous and inventive. Be grateful that you put your shoes on the right feet this morning.
5. Create a vision board of the positive outcomes you want in life: photos of beautiful places, clothes, etc. Look at it every day, morning and night.
6. Use affirmations. An affirmation is basically anything you say, so you want to be feeding yourself positive affirmations. I have written about affirmations before and you can read that post HERE.
7. Watch your language. When you find yourself expressing something in the negative, change your language to positive.
“The best advice I can give anyone at any time is never to complete a negative thought or statement. Because if you think or say it, it’s going into the computer in your head and can come true.” Bear Heart
It can literally be like learning a new language. I used to be a very negative person and that was reflected in my language. Once I learned the power of our words and thoughts, I started changing my language.
When asked how I’m doing, rather than list a litany of complaints, I learned to focus on what was going right in my life. It takes time, and practice, until it becomes a habit.
For example, I had a friend whose dog was dealing with a life threatening illness; whenever he was asked how the dog was doing, he’d reply, “I’m one day closer to my miracle.”
That’s a powerful way to stay upbeat and not focus on the negative aspects of the illness.
8. Re-evaluate the people you hang out with.
Do your friends reinforce negative thinking? If so, perhaps you should find new friends.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn
9. Read inspiring books
10. Make a list of things you enjoy doing and DO THEM.
11. Change the channel: I drive my car with the radio on, constantly changing channels looking for a song I like. I would never spend time listening to a song that I don’t enjoy, so why would I spend time listening to thoughts that bring me down?
12. Watch comedies: Norman Cousins detailed his journey of recovery in the book Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient (Twentieth Anniversary Edition)
. Told he had little chance of surviving an irreversible disease, he developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, positive attitude, and laughter induced by watching Marx Brothers Films.
13. Smile: it actually changes your body chemistry. Research in the U.K. found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to $25,000 in cash! Smiling also has therapeutic effects such as reducing stress hormones, increasing health and lowering blood pressure.
14. Do power poses: Watch this TED talk by Amy Cuddy on the effectiveness of Power Poses.
15. Find the silver lining: The people who recover from serious illnesses are often the ones who ask,
“Why did this happen for me [as opposed to “to me?”],
“What’s the lesson in this?,
“What life changes do I need to make?”
Even without a serious illness, when faced with troubling times, ask what the lesson is.
16. Perform an act of kindness for someone, whether you know them or not. It can make their, and your, day.
17. Volunteer: get outside of yourself. Helping others makes it easier to count your blessings.
18. Surround yourself with positive sayings. Read my free e-book of inspirational quotes, What Lies Within You. [get it by filling out the form at the bottom of this post]. Post them on the mirror, refrigerator and anywhere else you’ll see them.
19. Get a makeover: buy a new outfit or get a new haircut. Often change on the outside can generate change on the inside.
20. Clean out closets and drawers: this makes space for new, good things to come in.
21. Ask yourself, “where is this negative thought coming from?”
When you do have a negative thought, ask yourself where it’s coming from.
Is it a habit?
Did something happen to cause your negativity? If so, can you rise above it?
Is it a realistic fear? Remember this acronym for FEAR: false evidence appearing real.
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Mark Twain
And here are some motivational thoughts from the great Marcus Aurelius: 11 Quotes from Marcus Aurelius to Inspire You to Get Things Done.
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com