Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have a smile and a positive outlook even when they are going through difficult times while others can only see the gray cloud no matter how many things are going right? It’s all about mindset. There are some people who seem to be born looking on the bright side and others born to worry. The question then becomes: do we have any control over our outlook or are we just born with a gut reaction of seeing the glass half full or half empty?
I believe anyone can train themselves to be more positive if they want to. Here are six practical ways to radiate positivity in your daily life.
1. Choose to be happy.
Making a choice affects the filter through which we see the events of our day. If we wake up cranky and decide it’s going to be a bad day, we see annoyances and bad things around every turn. If you instead choose to be happy, your brain will look for proof that you are, indeed happy. I will often say it out loud, “Today I choose to be happy.” Verbalizing and thinking about making the choice to be happy sends a double message to your brain: I’m happy, now prove it!
2. Make a game of gratitude.
Instead of taking things for granted, look for all the things in your life to be grateful for. When we have an attitude of gratitude, that gratitude will multiply. Make a game of it and take note of all the things, big or small, that you are grateful for. You might wake up and be grateful for a good night’s sleep or a comfortable bed. Maybe you are grateful for the person sleeping beside you. I’m grateful for indoor plumbing, soft towels and my favorite toothpaste – and that’s all before I get to the kitchen to start the coffee and make my breakfast!
Having a gratitude mindset is even more powerful when things get tricky during your day. When you are struggling with technology or having issues with a co-worker, look for something, anything, to be grateful for. One day when my internet kept going down I was grateful for my iPhone so I could still check my email while dealing the technology issues.
I remember my fifth grade teacher telling us that “it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown”. It was her way of reminding the class to be happy and have positive attitudes. It turns out smiling, even when we don’t really want to, is good for us too! Research from the University of Kansas shows that smiling can help our brains and bodies recover from stress more quickly – even if the smile is a conscious choice and not a natural reaction to being happy.
4. Seek out the silver lining.
Every storm cloud has a silver lining if you just look for it. People with a positive mindset find the lesson or the up-side to whatever is going on in life. Focusing on the positive helps them recover from adversity faster.
5. Know what you can and can’t control.
Positive minded people know what they do and don’t have control over. If they can influence a situation to make it better, they will. If they don’t have any control, they control their reaction. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects, people with a positive mindset learn to release their attachment and move on, focusing on the positive things that are happening in life.
6. Prioritize your happiness.
Make being happy a priority. When happiness is a priority it affects the choices you make about how you spend your time and who you spend it with. You will likely choose to surround yourself with other positive minded people which will in turn support your own positive mindsets.
You get to choose how you show up in the world and how you feel. What you focus on and your mindsets will affect your daily life. Choose to be happy – it makes life more fun!