It’s pretty easy to imagine that positive thinking has a direct impact on your mental and emotional health, but the full truth is that positive thinking impacts every aspect of your life. Your physical health and well-being, your relationships, your career success, your home, your wealth, your self-image — the list goes on and on.
Your thoughts run your life.
People who choose positive thoughts have good lives despite the circumstances that impact them. Likewise, people who choose negative thoughts are often plagued by the physical, social, mental, and emotional consequences of those negative thoughts.
So, let’s examine the different ways we can see the world, and then how we can shift ourselves from focusing on the negative to becoming a positive person.
Seeing the Negative vs. Seeing the Positive (in Real Life)
Think about the last time you sent a heartfelt text and didn’t receive a prompt response. Does any of this sounds like the reaction you had?
- She must be mad at me.
- I must have said something I shouldn’t have.
- Maybe she found out about one time I [fill in the blank].
- I should have known we weren’t really
- Maybe she took it the wrong way. How can I delete this?
- I’m so embarrassed. Why did I even send her that?
In reality, she’s probably in the shower, at work, or taking a nap.
But by the time the negative dialogue has been allowed to run for even five minutes, you’re filled with shame, worry, anxiety, and pain. Your friendship is suddenly at risk. Maybe you have an upset stomach, or your breath feels caught in your throat. You feel unwell, although you probably haven’t realized that this physical unrest is the outcome of the negative internal dialogue fueled by no real information at all.
Now consider a time you chose positive thoughts. Maybe you greeted a coworker in the hallway and he didn’t respond. Perhaps you quickly decided that he didn’t hear you, he was distracted by his work, or he replied but you didn’t hear him. The small exchange (or lack of exchange) is quickly over and you move on with your day. You feel good. Your confidence isn’t shaken. Your professional relationship isn’t impacted.
The 3 Steps to Becoming a More Positive Person in 24 Hours
So how do you make the shift from being controlled by the dialogue (think about that racing heart, pit in your stomach) to controlling the dialogue yourself? How do you choose your own day and your own destiny?
It’s surprisingly simple and perhaps even more surprising that literally anyone and everyone can do it with purpose and intention.
There are three steps to taking this control and they can be done in any order:
- Choose gratitude
- Redirect negativity
- Use your senses
Let’s explore each of these one at a time.
1. Choose Gratitude
What you think is what you become. By taking time every morning and every night to recognize your blessings and bask in your gratitude, you’ll naturally shift your mental framework to the positive.
Challenge yourself to journal your gratitude and to be very specific when you do:
- “I’m grateful for that special moment I shared with my daughter today.”
- “I’m grateful I had the opportunity to feel the hot sand beneath my feet this morning.
- “I’m grateful for the kind text my husband sent this afternoon.”
- “I’m grateful that my superior trusted me with such a monumental project.”
When you take time out of your day — every single day, morning and night — to count your blessings, you begin living a life of gratitude. Your dialogue begins changing without any further focused effort.
2. Redirect Negativity
Let’s talk about that power you have over the internal dialogue — the voice in your head that seems to know everything about everything and can read other people’s minds (with an especially negative twist).
The first step in redirecting those thoughts is simply hearing them. Listen to them. When you can separate enough to hear the words and identify those words as coming from “the voice” (as opposed to the real you) they begin to lose power. And when they lose their power, you begin to realize you can change your internal dialogue if you choose.
Next time you hear negative assumptions pop up in your mind — like, “My husband must not respect me at all because he keeps throwing his clothes on the floor!” — immediately replace them with positive assumptions — “My husband trusts and relies on me to care for him in ways that make him feel valued and special.”
Here’s a challenge: next time you don’t feel well, whether it’s an ache, pain, nausea, or something else (as long as it’s not something critical), choose not to think about what ails you. Instead, focus on the positive: