You have so much power. I think sometimes we underestimate the amount of power we truly have in how our lives. Perspective plays a massive part in deciding the filters we see life through. Will the negatives or positives stand out to you more? Do you notice small things? Perspective is life’s highlighter – do you want to focus on the good or the bad? Choosing to consciously wield your power can be difficult, but as every protagonist ever has discovered, you still must learn to use it. If you’re here to read this blog (hello!!), I’m hoping you’re ready for that, ready to take your life into your hands and make the best of it. Maybe that sounds a little intense, but that’s the power of learning how to create a positive attitude – it’s a big deal.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Talk to someone
The first step to create a positive attitude is to get rid of the negativity already clogging up your mind. Clean out the junk and open the windows to let the fresh air in ~ it’s the season of spring cleaning, afterall. Choose someone you can count on (family, friends, a therapist) and tell them everything that’s on your mind, from the biggest to the teeny tiniest thing. The more you get out, the more space you’ll have to refill with good energy.
If you don’t feel like you can talk to someone, try journaling first. Try writing down everything that’s bothering you, every ache, every resentment, every flicker of anger and sadness. But in the end, I’d really encourage you to talk aloud. I struggle to talk to people about my problems, but voicing them to someone outside of yourself really does take the weight off and the more you practice doing it, the easier it’ll get.
Learn your triggers
You’re probably dealing with some very well engrained patterns here, but that doesn’t mean new paths can’t be dug. In time, you’ll teach your mind to dance these new paths, but first, we need to know where they start. What triggers negative thoughts in you? What makes you feel pessimistic? These questions might be hard to answer straight away, but with conscious effort, you can observe your thoughts and trace them back to their source. They might be scary things to face, but in doing so, you’ll free yourself.
If you manage to trace it, ask yourself why that thing may bother you and if it has any links to a bigger issue. Once you become aware of these links, it becomes much easier to detangle them and much easier to understand, empathise and then deal with your response. Our brains are built to be efficient, but not always accurate. If you’ve had a stressful time at work recently, your brain might start triggering a stress response just from being there, talking about work, or even in preparation on your commute. It’ll make the jump, even if there’s nothing stressful around. But, this works in our favour too, through practice and persistence, you can redirect your thoughts to positive ones until your mind makes a positive jump rather than a negative.
Replace negativity with positivity
Things can get a little tricky here. Positivity is great, but I think it’s been saddled too often with being happy and carefree all the time. Whilst that would be great, it’s not realistic. Positivity is about being optimistic, accepting what is and learning to make the most of it. It’s switching “I’ll never get this project done on time because I can’t manage my time and I’m a failure” with “I might not get this done on time, but I’m still going to give it my all and I’ll learn from this to manage my time better next time”.
Try sarcastic positivity
This might sound a little weird, but laughter is supposedly the best medicine, so why not treat your negative thoughts with some humour? Especially at the beginning, it can be hard to create a positive attitude about things you’re practised to be negative about, so I suggest turning to ridiculous, sarcastic statements. How British of me.
Imagine you trip over in public and instead of focussing on how embarrassed you feel and ‘how stupid you are’ (you are not, by the way, feet are a surprisingly tricky transport to control) instead announce to yourself or whoever you’re with that you are in fact the most graceful human being to ever bless the planet. Maybe even take a bow. It’s silly and ridiculous, but it will immediately turn the situation into something you can humour, rather than something you have to brood on. You don’t have to believe what you’re saying, but it’s a simple way to start teaching your brain to look for the funny (positive!) response to things that make you feel uncomfortable or that you would usually beat yourself up for.
Keep things fresh
I spoke about this a lot in my blog on how to get out of a rut, but switching your surroundings, routines and patterns up is another great way to retrain your thinking. Doing the same things, day after day on will keep you, subconsciously, on your negativity fuelled autopilot and therefore in the same thought patterns. If you’ve ever been on a trip and come home feeling as if you’re looking at life through new eyes, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
So shake things up. Make it a regular habit to seek out new things, to change your routines, to rejig your furniture, to keep yourself inspired.
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Learn to ground yourself
In order to create a positive attitude, you have to lose the negative thought spirals. The term ‘thought spiral’ always has me picturing a neverending spiral staircase, descending into darkness. The further you fall, the darker it gets. Learning to ground yourself and bring yourself back to a conscious place of thought will help you pause on the stairs, to take a look around and even turn right around to march back up. It takes a lot of discipline and practice, but with time, you’ll find yourself recovering faster and faster. I really do know how convincing the thoughts you have in these moods can seem, but they often grow themselves, absorbing any other possible negative, into something much bigger than they logically are.
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Long-term, it’s helpful to have outside sources to help you stay on track when you find yourself stuck or you need a helping hand shifting your perspective. This could be anything, but here are some ideas…
Where to find inspiration for a positive mindset:
- Positive thinking quotes – Pinterest and GoodReads are my favourites for quotes!
- Self-help books – for positive thinking, I’d recommend the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, You Are a Badass by Jen Sinchero, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Motivational speakers/videos of people who inspire you – this could be TEDTalks, this could be vlogs from someone who inspires you, whatever lifts you up
- Little pick-me-ups that you know will make you feel good (mine’s a few minutes sat in the garden and good hot mug of coffee)
- Have a go-to routine centred for self-care and inspiration and do it regularly!
- Always have something good to look forward to. Facing challenge is always difficult, but with a light at the end of the tunnel, everything will feel a little less gloomy and it’ll be much easier to combat any negativity you do come up against
Learning how to create a positive attitude is a lifelong process and the earlier you get consciously started the more time you get to spend with the rose coloured glasses on. Positive thinking reduces stress, anxiety and helps you to enjoy life so much more. With curiosity and optimism, every situation becomes enjoyable and beneficial. Enjoying life is the point, afterall 😊
Stay positive. Love, Ella-Rose xx