We have all heard that positive thinking works miracles, and whilst that statement may be something of an exaggeration, it is true to say that positive thinking can go a long way to helping you change your life for the better. If you think in a positive way then you automatically begin to act in a more positive way, and the results you get in life are therefore more likely to be positive ones.
Developing a positive mental attitude isn’t something that can be achieved in an instant because your thoughts are usually habitual, and habits take time to change. However, you can make an immediate start in learning to think in a more positive manner by applying the following principles:
#1 – Adopt A Positive Life Metaphor
We all have different metaphors to encapsulate how we perceive life to be. Some people describe life as being a test or trial. Others view it as a grind or, even worse, as a bitch. Whilst we are all free to hold our own opinions, none of these particular metaphors are tremendously empowering, and if you believe that life is a test, trial, grind or bitch then in truth that is what you will perceive it to be in your own experience.
Adopt a more positive life metaphor and you can immediately improve the way you perceive your life. View your life as a game and any problems your encounter will be perceived as challenges which you can overcome. Label your life a dream and you will find it easier to detach yourself from any negative emotions you might otherwise experience. Describe life as a party and you will usually increase the amount of fun you get from each day.
Changing the metaphor you use to describe your life won’t magically change what happens to you, but it will transform the way you perceive your daily experiences. This being the case, make sure you set yourself up for success by adopting a positive life metaphor. Select one from the list below or invent your own, and note the positive impact it has on your day to day life.
- A game
- A dream
- A ride
- A gift
- A stage
- A party
- A movie
- An adventure
#2 – Seek Out The Positive
We all know people who go through life seeking the negative side. These are the people who focus hard on finding reasons why nothing will work and why things will always go wrong instead. Tell them about your hard-earned promotion and they will tell you how tough it is to have so much responsibility. Tell them how much money you’ve saved and they’ll point out that it won’t buy you happiness. Tell them that you’ve met the love of your life and they’ll tell you that they give it three months.
The people who achieve and enjoy true personal success in life don’t do this. Instead they seek out the positive side of life as a matter of habit. When facing a problem they ask themselves, ‘How can I get something good from this?’ or ‘What can I learn from this experience?’ They view the proverbial glass as half-full instead of half-empty. They take their eyes off the mass of any cloud and look instead for the silver lining which they know is always there.
Seeking out the positive side of life in this way might feel a little awkward at first – especially if you are used to focusing on the negative. However, if you practise this principle each day, then in a matter of weeks it will become second nature and you will wonder how you ever managed to live without it.
#3 – Talk Yourself Up
The third thing you can do to develop the necessary positive mental attitude is ‘talk yourself up’ with positive affirmations. All too often our internal dialogue expresses a constant stream of self-doubts, false limitations and negative commentaries which can all prevent us from achieving are true potential. Positive affirmations, when used regularly, allow us to gently ‘re-programme’ this internal chatter so that it begins to encourage and support our efforts instead of trying to sabotage them.
The best way to use affirmations is to start by sitting down and identifying any negative or disempowering self-talk which currently runs through your mind on a regular basis. Here are a few very common negative affirmations which you might look out for, but bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive:
- I am too old / young / thin / fat / tall short.
- Life is hard.
- Change is difficult.
- I am stupid / ugly / incapable / slow.
- No one likes me.
- Problems are insurmountable.
- I can’t!
- I am a poor student / wife / husband / lover / businessman.
When you are convinced that you have identified all the disempowering beliefs you currently hold about yourself and the world, replace them with new empowering affirmations, such as:
- I am growing as a person.
- Life is a breeze.
- Change is easy if I am committed to changing.
- I am intelligent / industrious / creative.
- Everyone likes me.
- Problems are opportunities in disguise.
- Life is an Adventure and a Game.
- I am a great student / wife / husband / lover / businessman.
Write your new positive affirmations down on a few index cards which you can carry around in your pocket and read them aloud to yourself three times each day. If possible, stand in front of a mirror to do this and speak each affirmation with as much conviction as you can muster. You might feel a little embarrassed doing this at first, but after a week or two it will become more natural, and after 21 days or so you will find that your mental attitude has improved quite noticeably.
#4 – Expect Success
A final tip for developing a strong positive mental attitude is to expect success. Each morning when you get out of bed, tell yourself that something wonderful is going to happen during the day, then continue with your normal routine with an expectant attitude.
This technique is incredibly simple, but very powerful. As you go through each day expecting success to show up, you will begin to think, speak and act a little differently. The changes in your attitude will be subtle at first, but before long you will find that you have actually become one of those positive, optimistic people that tend do so well in life. Even better, you will find that the more you expect success, the more it tends to show up. I can’t pretend to know how or why this happens, but it does, so start expecting success from this moment on.
By applying the four principles I have just described, you will automatically begin to create a positive mental attitude for yourself. Whilst a positive attitude alone won’t make all your dreams come true, it will serve as a strong foundation on which you can build the kind of life you have always wanted to have.