……………………………………By Archibong Archibong………………………
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The above extract from Gandhi’s quote describes that our destiny and outcome in life is all determined by the content of our thoughts. Before we take action on anything or make any decision in life, we must have first had it raw in our thought. It is therefore necessary that as one who hopes to succeed in everything our thoughts must be geared toward optimism.
When you take a walk around and look at people, one of the things that will stand out is that there is a general negative mindset going around. If you want to view it from the perspective of people speaking negative about their country’s leadership, global warming, the weather, or even national economy. The bottom line is, people are increasingly having a negative attitude towards life. If you have a generally negative mindset towards life, you will find that your mind will always seek to amplify that which is negative around you. A negative attitude is a sure way towards achieving total life dissatisfaction and pushing people away from you.
A positive mindset is not playing ignorant to the fact that you are faced with challenges; it is the consciousness that you have a problem and it is only your attitudinal motives that can help you overcome. In a broad sense, it means approaching unpleasant situations with more optimism and introspection. By introspection, we mean self-dialogue, self-examination and reevaluation of activities. It doesn’t just happen to anyone by chance; it is a conscious attempt to heal from your failures, disappointments and dissatisfactions.
People with a positive attitude have healthier habits: they eat healthy food, exercise regularly, rarely smoke, and drink less alcohol which results in less psychological stress, thereby by promoting mindfulness and positive emotions. Stress-related hormones and neurotransmitters are a threat to our vital organ systems, especially the cardiovascular and a research conducted in 2008 confirmed that people who have positive thoughts usually experience lower levels of stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol.
There are thousand ways to develop a positive mindset about life and situations around you. They not difficult, sophisticated or energy consuming practices, but very simple and regular, yet important habits. Some of them include;
Living in the moment
It is not strange to see persons who have a developed the habit of either living in past glory, or in the future that is not yet certain. When you live in the past, you bore people with stories and events from yesteryears, wishing it could be extended to the present. On the other hand, if you live in the future, you will end up not making use of your time, thinking about how great things could be, or what will be. Most sources of negativity stem from a memory of a past occurrence or the exaggerated imagination of future events and fear for tomorrow. One of the best ways to develop a positive mindset is to live in the here and now. When you do so, you will be able to maximize the opportunities that are available but also in control of your emotions.
However, it is needful to understand that both the past and the future have a part to play in the present. The past reminds you of the things you’ve learnt, the mistakes you’ve made and the wins you have had. The future too is of utmost importance because it keeps reminding you on the many things you are yet to accomplish in life.
Hang Around Positive Friends
Friends, colleagues and associates who surround us, reflect our mindset, personality and attitudes. Take a look around; are you surrounded by positive or negative people? When a person we communicate with is happy and smiling, a neural structure in our brain called “the mirror neurons” reacts to that, and we start smiling ourselves. The same goes for all other emotions and attitudes and feelings.
This further implies that if the people around you are rather negative, you’ll most likely have a hard time maintaining a positive attitude. On the other hand, if your mates are people who are grateful, hopeful, and overall positive; your chances of becoming positive as well will become much higher.
When you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll hear positive statements, positive stories and positive affirmations. Their positive words will sink in and affect your own line of thinking, which then affects your words and similarly contributes to the group. You are the sum total of your friends. If you hang around negatively minded people, you will most likely end up being negative yourself. Friends play a big role in what we do, and how we do it.
Love and Reward Yourself
Loving, nurturing, and rewarding yourself can help you shift towards a positive mindset even in rough and difficult times. One of the greatest qualities anyone can acquire in the journey of positive mindset is that of loving oneself. The love we’re talking about is a love for the little things. When you can find love in the little things about your day, you will end up having an easy day. On the other hand, when you hate everything that goes on during the day, you will have one long day.
Self-reward can be important even when you fail! This is a bit controversial, but don’t you agree that failure is painful enough itself? Why would you punish yourself any further when you actually deserve nurture? Gratifying yourself after doing something good is called positive reinforcement. It’s a technique that enhances the odds of repeating the same behavior.
Also, when you love yourself, you will invest in making yourself happy. True, there are things that will try and upset your day, but when you love yourself, you will overlook most of these things.
One of the hardest things to do is to reward yourself. Many times, people will find good in other people but not in themselves. If you want to have a positive mindset, you will need to find good in yourself first, and reward yourself. Rewarding yourself can be interpreted in many ways. After a long week, you can reward yourself by taking the weekend off and relaxing. You could even do something as simple as getting ice cream, playing games, seeing a movie or hanging out with friends.
Practice Positive Self-talk
Another amazing method that can create a positive mindset in you is by practicing positive self-affirmations. These are simple statements designed to encourage you in life. There are no special rules on what they should sound like or when to practice them. You can make them a part of your productivity morning routine, or use breaks at work to give yourself a verbal “pat on the back”. Research shows that even a small shift in the way you talk to yourself can influence your ability to regulate your feelings, thoughts, and behavior under stress.
It is also pertinent to note that your language determines a lot when you’re trying to cultivate a positive mindset. What you say is either largely influenced by what you feel or it goes to influence what you feel. We tend to be the hardest on ourselves and be our own worst critic. Over time, this can cause you to form a negative opinion of yourself that can be hard to shake. To stop this, you’ll need to be mindful of the voice in your head and respond with positive messages which is the positive self-talk. For instance, you can use these words, “I am a smart and hardworking person”, “I will affect my generation positively”, I am beautifully and wonderfully made” as positive self-talks.
You are the best person to motivate yourself. Do not allow anyone be an object of down fall or depression for you. Live above all form of depression and psychological stress. Read motivational books, hangout with positive friend, engage in mind relaxing exercises and always be grateful with whatever you have.