How happy you depend less on external circumstances; more critical is your thinking. With our 12 tips and exercises, you can learn to think more positively and become more satisfied.
What positive thinking is and what it brings you
Positive thinking means seeing the famous “half-full glass” in a situation, that is, perceiving its positive aspects rather than its negatives. It also means trusting oneself, believing in achievements and opportunities, and tackling things that others find impossible. Almost all significant results in history have to do with positive thinking: Someone believed in an almost incredible possibility and put it into practice. Positive thinking has many benefits to your life:
- Focusing on the right things makes you happy.
- Whoever sees the wrong things, the dangers and failures soon become paralyzed. Positive thinking keeps you able to act and ensures that you can always get up and continue.
- Positive Thinking Makes Healthier: Those who believe in their healing have far higher chances of defeating even the worst diseases.
- Optimism is an important prerequisite for professional and personal success.
- As you learn positive thinking, you will discover another critical lesson: you are the Lord or Mistress of your thoughts, you can decide to a certain extent what you think. This opens up completely new possibilities!
- A positive view of yourself and your achievements strengthens self-esteem, and self-esteem.
- Positive thinking makes you open to new things and helps you broaden your horizons.
- It has been found that the sensory organs of positive people work better. So negative thinking does not just seem to lead, in a figurative sense, to “closing our eyes.”
What positive thinking is NOT
Many people roll their eyes at the topic of “positive thinking.” The reason is a misconception of what it means. Positive thinking does not mean simply fading everything negative. And it certainly does not mean that you can only prance through the world as some might imagine. Optimism is just as realistic as pessimism: after all, there is virtually nothing that is only positive or only negative. Which aspects we focus on, we decide.
12 tips and exercises for positive thinking
1. Remove your attention from negative thoughts
Negative thoughts can have tremendous power. They destroy our mood, our courage, and our joy. But you do not have to give them that power. You can withdraw your attention from negative thoughts. Of course, that does not mean that they are not there anymore. But they do not have that much influence on you anymore. Here’s how it works: When you find yourself dealing with worries, fears, self-reproaches, or other negative thoughts, you draw an energetic line in your mind and turn to other things. Distinguish yourself from the negative thoughts; they do not help you anyway.
Some people always go grouchily through life and others who still have a smile on their faces. The smiling ones are almost always happier people. The reason is also in the smile itself: Researchers have found that by a positive facial expression almost immediately, happiness hormones are released. The brain also seems to pick up the information about how you feel from the facial muscles. The smile makes you more relaxed and happy, and that helps you not see the things around you that black.
3. Always look for the good in a situation
There is almost always something good in a situation, and if it is just something you can learn from it. You can also interpret obstacles as challenges, mistakes as learning fields. If you have not found a parking space near your apartment, you can either get upset or enjoy the short evening walk. If the food you need for your prescription is sold out, this is a chance to experiment with something new. Admittedly, it is often challenging to find something positive in the big, existential topics. “It’ll be good for you” is a little helpful advice for someone who is mourning a bad loss right now. But on a small scale, there are countless opportunities to take a closer look and find out the positives.
4. Keep a thankful journal
Even if sometimes everything looks terrible, there are undoubtedly many things in your life that you can be grateful for. By keeping a thankful journal, you focus on these things instead of the perceived lack. Just write down three things every morning or evening that you’re grateful for. It does not matter if they are the same again and again. The main thing is, you notice that they are there. And over time you will notice more and more positive things in your life.
5. Dose the messages
Catastrophes on television, on the radio, in social networks, and other channels can quickly give us the impression that there is only something terrible going on in the world. Of course, that is not the case. In addition to the great catastrophes and violence, there are millions of positive things every day. But these are not the messages that run in the news in the first place. To lessen the negative impression, it can help to dose the story. Just do not watch any news for a while or at least get rid of the constantly popping up messages in the social networks. Do not let yourself be bombarded with negative stuff all the time.
6. Remove yourself from Perverts
Whether we are positive or negative depends on the people around us. If you are continually dealing with people who complain and moan, then this negative attitude will also affect you. Conversely, happy, funny people can also make us more comfortable. Do the squirrels or the sun children outweigh your surroundings?
7. Say goodbye to your victim role
Thinking positively also means assuming full responsibility for one’s own life. Say goodbye to the thought that you are the victim to whom bad things happen again and again. You have many more aspects of your life in your hands than you think! Once you understand that in all its consequences, it will be much easier for you to realize the possibilities in a situation.
8. Avoid comparisons
The neighbors have such a beautiful apartment and a big car. The colleague is slimmer and prettier, and the cousin is much more successful in his job … Such comparisons make us unhappy, and they are an expression of negative thinking. Just as well, we could compare ourselves with the many people who are worse off than us. But we rarely do that. We tend to differentiate ourselves in each area with someone who is supposed to be better off. If you manage to avoid these comparisons, your essential attitude changes almost automatically to the positives.
9. Make your achievements clear with positive thinking
Even if it sometimes does not feel like that: You have already achieved a lot in your life. Make a list of all the achievements you can think of: your graduation certificates, the driver’s license, difficult situations you have mastered, the children you have brought up a decent living, the move to a more beautiful apartment, completed projects, … If you think a lot will come together. Add to this list again and again with the little things that you encounter every day. You finally made an overdue doctor’s appointment or repaired the dripping faucet? Great! A daily “I’ve made it” list motivates much more than a to-do list.
10. Pay attention to your limits and needs
It’s tough to stay positive when your ceilings are always being trampled on. Being aware of your needs and limitations is, therefore, an essential step on the path to positive thinking. Take care of yourself!
11. Start the day with positive thoughts
If you start thinking of something positive in the morning, the rest of the day will be better. This exercise helps: Every morning, put yourself in a situation in which you were well, in which you were happy and carefree, and you have felt well. Try to recapture this situation and enjoy this decisive moment.
12. Read books about happiness
There is much more to say about positive thinking and happiness than is possible in an article. And: dealing with these topics helps to rethink. Therefore, I always read a book about happiness and other positive issues.