An increasing amount of studies show that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your mental health and well-being. Positive thinking isn’t about burying your head in the sand and ignoring the bad things. It involves making the best of a potentially bad situation, seeing the good in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.
You have tens of thousands of thoughts a day and it’s important to understand that you choose your thoughts. Listen to your mind chatter and challenge your thinking because you can always turn your negative thoughts into something more positive and nourishing. Here are a few tips on how to cultivate a positive mental attitude:
Discover your mind
There’s lots of research being conducted about the human mind and how it works which makes for fascinating reading. The positive psychology movement pioneered by Martin Seligman, for example, has opened the door to some tremendous insights into how we can live our best lives.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning that aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.
In the past, psychology has often emphasised our shortcomings, rather than our potential. New discoveries are now being made every day, helping us to understand our miraculous mind muscle and how we can best look after and use it.
See the glass half full
Thinking positively is not about putting your head in the sand and being unrealistic. With a positive attitude you can still recognise the negative aspects of a situation and make a conscious decision to focus instead on the hope and opportunity that is available. This releases you from getting locked in a paralysing loop of negative emotion and allows you to bounce back from adversity and challenging experiences.
Reframe your vocabulary
The way that you programme your mind and the vocabulary you use will have a profound effect on the way you feel. Words are like nutrients for the mind and the quality of the thoughts that you feed yourself with make a big contribution to your mental health and emotional well-being.
When you use words like can’t, won’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t you immediately begin to create obstacles and excuses which lead to self-limitation. Take time to listen to yourself and the language you use and reframe some of the negative words and phrases into something more positive and emotionally nourishing.
Learn not fail
Replace the word fail with the word learn. Remember you were born to be real, not perfect and real people make mistakes. You absolutely do not need to beat yourself up and give yourself a hard time when you get something wrong.
Some of the most powerful experiences in your life will be born from your biggest learning opportunities. If you want to increase your rate of positive outcomes, you have to be prepared to increase your rate of not getting it right straight away.
The myth has been broken! Being a genius requires a blend of curiosity, commitment, hard work and not just talent alone. Adopting a growth and a positive mindset can help you to explore and tap into abilities you never even knew you had. Every day unfolds as a brand new opportunity to unleash and crown your inner genius
Be the best version of you
If you are not careful you can fall into the trap of comparing yourself with other people, especially in a world so heavily influenced by social media. This can lead to unrealistic and unhealthy comparisons, which can make you feel insecure and negative about yourself.
Being your own personal role model and establishing your own view of what success looks like can be truly liberating and empowering. Believing in yourself and celebrating who you are with all your strength, beauty and potential is far more constructive and fulfilling.
Cultivating a positive mindset has been proven to support people with mental health issues. Seeking advice, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, can be very helpful too. Positive thinking is also a key part of effective stress management and the great news is that everyone can learn positive thinking skills.
Liggy Webb’s BiteSized book Positive Mindset costs £2.00 each (plus vat and postage) when purchased via the Charity Learning Consortium* – a discount of £1 per book. An up to date range of titles can be seen on the Learning Architect website, with online samples of each book. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 08451 707 702.
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About Liggy Webb
Liggy Webb is an award-winning and bestselling author, presenter and international consultant specialising in behavioural skills. She’s recognised as a thought leader on resilience and behavioural agility and works with a wide range of businesses helping people to be more resilient, agile and healthy in a volatile, uncertain and highly complex world. Some of the organisations that Liggy works with include the BBC, the NHS, Macmillan Cancer Support, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. She partners with the Charity Learning Consortium to develop resources for the voluntary sector. Her book, Resilience: How To Cope When Everything Around You Keeps Changing, is a practical and accessible guide for coping with change and offers advice on how to recover and flourish through challenging times. The guiding principles in the book have been televised for a series with the BBC world service.