If you often struggle to be optimistic, you’re not alone. You don’t have to be clinically depressed to be a cynic, but a lack of positively naturally increases how often you experience negative emotions. Our thoughts frame our entire world, and a positive mindset can make the difference between seeing the world as full of possibility or nothing but loss and heartache.
Living positively can have a tremendous impact on both your physical and mental health; positive people have reduced stress, lower blood pressure, a lower risk of heart attack and a stronger immune system.
The physical benefits of positive thinking are just one reason to consider changing the way you think. If you’re not a natural optimist, consider these seven tips to start looking on the bright side a bit more often.
#1 Practice Positive Self-talk
We all have an inner voice, and how we communicate with it is known as “self-talk” in psychology. You can be your biggest confidant or worst enemy; practice building yourself up to more throughout the day little by little. Offer sentiments like, “You’re doing great,” or “That was a tough job, but you did your best and pulled through like a champ.”
For people whose inner voice has been shaped mostly be negative experiences, learning how to talk to themselves in a kind manner can be difficult. Don’t shy away from a challenge. Even one positive thought toward yourself in a single day is better than zero.
#2 Begin to Exercise More
Regular exercise releases lots of feel-good hormones including endorphins. A simple fitness routine can get physiology on your side and give your brain a natural boost of positivity. When your body is literally giving you what you need to feel happier, thinking in a more positive manner can become much easier.
Routine exercise also helps prevent injury, illness and a wide range of health conditions. The right health insurance plan can make sure that you are always protected no matter what you come down with; learn more about finding the right coverage for you as mentioned over here.
#3 Do Something Nice for Someone Else
Being kind to others will increase your own self-esteem. You may head to the office kitchen for a cup of coffee and ask your co-worker if they’d like one, too. Or maybe you decide to do the laundry or dishes for your spouse before they get home. Look for small opportunities to do something nice every day. Occupying your mind with positive intentions naturally lifts your spirits and helps you see greater possibility in the mundane.
#4 Smile More
You may not be in a smiley mood, but research shows that even fake smiles can improve people’s moods and make them feel better. Feedback from the face muscles trigger a happiness response in the brain, so you really have nothing to lose the next time you see a cute kid or adorable puppy pass you on the street!
#5 Pursue Your Passions
Contrary to what the internet might have you think, you don’t have to sustain yourself off your passion for it to matter. Just because you work a regular 9-5 doesn’t mean you can’t write a book or paint. Whatever it is you like to do, make time for it at least three to four times a week.
People with passion and regular hobbies have a greater sense of purpose and are generally happier than those who just coast through life day after day.
#6 Listen to Music That Makes You Feel Good
If you listen to music that captures how you want to feel, you’ll have an easier time conjuring up the right emotions. Research shows that the human brain processes music the same way it does other pleasurable acts like eating and sleeping.
#7 Practice Meditation
Maybe you’ve given meditation a shot in the past and it didn’t work. Don’t let this discourage you. There are a lot of misconceptions about meditation nowadays, but it’s benefits are unwaveringly positive.
Just a short meditation every day can help lower your stress levels. If you find traditional meditation too difficult, try starting with an informal practice instead.
Putting it All Together
Living a more positive life starts with a decision. You shouldn’t expect to simply wake up and never think a negative thought, but you can decide to challenge those negative thoughts and make them more positive whenever you can. Doing so will enable you to see more goodness in the world and yourself.