An almost-obsessive study of self-improvement and self-help books revealed one common theme: positive thinking.
It didn’t matter whether the book was published in 1950 or 2014—it always suggested positive thinking as an integral part of personal development.
Logically, this makes perfect sense. Of course being optimistic will keep you happy, attract others and give you the fuel required to overcome challenges. It is something talked about by all successful people, from Richard Branson to Beyonce.
However, most people find staying positive every day difficult. Even the encouragement given by the best self-help books and seminars can be lost in a matter of months, weeks, or even days. This happens when old, negative thought processes take hold again.
Here are the the four most common ways to stay positive.
Habits That Will Keep You Positive
1. Help someone else
Western culture can be very egotistical. We are reading ‘self’ help books and we are working on our ‘self’ confidence. This reflects on our focus on ourselves.
Related: 5 Reasons To Boost Self-Confidence
I have found that kindness is a two way street. By doing something nice for someone else, you will feel great yourself.
Contributing a small amount of money to charity could change someone’s life. Taking a healthy soup to an ill friend will have a more positive effect than you could ever envision. Calling a relative who you haven’t spoken to for a while will make their month.
Helping someone else actually takes very little effort and the rewards can be fantastic. Your mind will be reminded of how important and wonderful you are, which makes feeling positive inevitable.
2. Make gratitude lists
Once or twice a day, grab a pen and start writing down all of the things you are grateful for. Start with the big things, then break them down into little ones. Keep going like this for as long as you can.
Related: The Importance Of Being Grateful
You could be grateful to be alive, to be able to breathe, for water, for shelter, or for your clothes. If you were stuck in traffic, be grateful you have a car. If a difficult situation is currently in your life, be grateful that you have an opportunity to overcome something significant and learn from it.
There is no need to put pressure on yourself to do this every day. Once a week will allow your brain to fill up on ‘gratitude juice’ and keep you positive.
However, if you are finding yourself with daily self-blame, anger, and negativity, you can do this daily to improve your outlook.
3. Acknowledge the fact that things will get better
There are certain times in life, such as bereavement or a bad breakup, when the pain can feel unmanageable. Even when you consider everyday living, the pressure of a thousand little things can be too much to bear.
Motivational Speaker Les Brown is fond of the phrase, “This has not come to stay, it has come to pass.’ The bad feelings that you are experiencing are not permanent. They may not be better tomorrow, but they will pass.
Acknowledging the fact that life operates in this manner will allow you to stay positive even when things are incredibly difficult.
4. Have a mental success list
Being confident in who you are and what you do is an amazing way to be more optimistic and stay positive.
If you don’t appreciate all of the great things that you do, who will? Make a mental list of all of the great things you have done recently.
Don’t censor yourself; if you think it’s a success, then it’s a success. “Wrote an amazing report at the office,” “bossed a leg session at the gym,” and “put money in my savings pot” all count. There is no need to be modest—list everything. You can even write it down.
When you think about this list, you’ll notice that you start to feel good about yourself and your optimism surrounding future tasks will increase.
The most important thing about being maintaining a daily positive attitude is to be proactive. Whether you use the above techniques or try some other things that make you feel good, the key ingredient is taking action to stay positive.
Jermaine Harris is a young Online Life Coach, Author, Peak Performance Strategist and Speaker. He is passionate about human potential, personal development and empowering others to change their lives in the same way he did. Jermaine has a vision of empowering millions of people with his unique brand of forward thinking, ‘gung ho’ approach to changing lives.
Photo by JéssInReverse