The power of positive thinking has been well documented. Being positive and hopeful is proved to be associated with improved health and wellbeing. It increases our resilience when we go through hardship, and optimism might even boost our immune system!
However, for some of us it can feel difficult to suddenly become an optimist, especially in the midst of a global pandemic! So how so you start building a positive mindset?
1. Recognise Negative Thoughts
It’s unrealistic that we can be positive all the time with everything going on in the world right now. However, you can start by recognising negative thoughts so that you can start to reframe them to be more positive. There are four main types of negative self-talk:
- Personalising – thinking you are the problem rather than anyone else
- Filtering – focusing and magnifying the negatives and ignoring positives
- Catastrophising – anticipating the worst situations
- Polarising – There is only good or bad and no in between
Recognise when you start to think in these negative ways. Purposely try to change them into a more positive thought. Change your perspective and create more headspace for thinking positively.
2. Recognise Your Dialogue With Others
Often, negative thoughts can spill out into the way you talk to other people. It can be a shock to realise this! Recognise the way you talk about yourself to other people. Do you use words like ‘I cant’ and ‘It’s my fault’? Do you talk down about yourself or your body? Do you always make self deprecating jokes? Think about the way you talk about yourself, and try to adapt. The more you speak them over yourself, the more you will believe them.
3. Watch What You Spend Your Time On
Sometimes the things we spend our time doing can have a huge effect on your mindset. For example, at the moment it can be tempting to just sit and watch the news, or read it constantly on our phones to keep up to date with the latest developments. However, the news can put us in a negative frame of mind focusing on how bad things are. Try to limit your time watching the news and only check in once a day. As you have more time to binge watch, also make sure you don’t spend all your time watching true crime documentaries, or thrillers that could make you feel bad about the world!
4. Believe In Yourself
Whether it’s an exercise goal, or a hobby you want to start, believing in yourself goes a long way. If we believe we are active and healthy, we are going to act in a manner that supports good health. If you believe you can start that new hobby and succeed, you will put more energy into getting it done. Believing that you can’t will feed into a negative mindset and make you more likely to give up.
5. Visualise your goals
If you are aiming for something in particular, make sure to visualise the outcome of your goals. Think about how you will feel when you achieve them. How will the affect your day to day life? The more you visualise the outcome, the more likely you will push through to achieve them. It’s also important to visualise potential issues that could come up and how you will overcome them. This means that you will be ready if they happen!
6. Think Long Term
Sometimes we can get so focused on the short term that we cant think beyond it. This is especially true at the moment, when we can only think about the situation we are stuck in. Remember that one day we will be out of this, and think about the things you will do when things are back to “normal”. If you are trying to reach a goal, it’s also important not to focus on how you are achieving it in the short term. Think about projects as a long term project, so that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself to achieve everything now.