Positive Mindset: 10 Ways to Get It and Keep It
A positive mindset can be hard to come by in a world with social media, political squabbles, and the mounting pressures of getting by. But it’s still possible to achieve it. And if you want your life to go the way you want it to go, you’ll learn how to master getting there as soon as possible.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing some methods you can employ to achieve and keep your positivity. But first, let’s answer a question.
Does a Positive Mindset Really Work?
In 2018, a study conducted by Stanford University discovered that a positive mindset actually makes your brain work better than one clouded with negativity and pessimism. From an Inc article examining the study:
“To start to tease this out a research team out of Stanford recently analyzed the math skills and attitudes of 240 kids aged seven to ten, as well as running 47 of them through an fMRI machine while asking them to do some basic arithmetic. What did they find?
“As expected, kids who did well in math liked math more, both according to self reports and their parents, and kids who hated the subject did poorly. But the brain scans also turned up something much more fascinating. The images revealed that the hippocampus, a brain area linked with memory and learning, was significantly more active in kids with a positive attitude towards math.
“It appears it’s not just that children like subjects they’re good at. It’s also that liking a subject helps students’ brain actually work better.”
Clearly, positive thinking can bring with it a slew of benefits. Let’s explore what each of those are before moving onto how you can get there and stay there if you’re struggling.
The Benefits of Having It
There are several important ones. Let’s cut right to the chase, starting with:
In life, you will win. But you will also fail. Winning is easy to cope with because you don’t have to undergo the painful autopsy of what you could have done differently to succeed.
Failure, on the other hand, requires you to look inwardly and confront things about yourself that may not be easy to handle. Keeping a positive outlook through it all allows you to remain patient with your own shortcomings. It inspires a feeling of “we’ll get ‘em next time” instead of dwelling on the loss.
A Solutions Mindset
Positive thinking also causes you to think less about wound-licking and more about solutions. When you’re positive, in other words, you don’t spend a lot of time beating yourself up. And that’s because you’re too busy concerning yourself with potential solutions.
You Are Easier to Be Around
No one really likes to be around people who think the worst. That’s because they know all too much how contagious defeatism is.
At the end of the day, no one really wants to lose. But surrounding yourself with people who expect failure creates a higher probability that you will fail as well. When you don’t give into that way of thinking, you tend to inspire others and, as a result, they appreciate the time they spend with you more.
It Brings More Peace and Joy Than the Alternative
You may have two or three or four failures in a row. If you’re negative, it can get the better of you and become a vicious cycle of loss and negativity.
But if you’re positive through it all — as in counting the blessings you do have and thinking more about future possibilities — you’ll be at peace and experience higher levels of joy as a result. And who doesn’t want that!? Now…
How to Get the Mindset and Make It Work for You
Getting the positive mindset isn’t easy, especially if you haven’t had it properly modeled for you growing up. We’ll get into that in this section along with these other suggestions. Let’s roll.
1. Notice the Negativity
Being mindful enough to call out your own negativity when you see it, hear it, feel it. That’s an important place to start if you plan to overcome it.
Try to keep a running dialogue with yourself that examines and critiques how you’re responding to things. Ask yourself a simple question: am I being positive or negative?
How do you know the difference? If your response to whatever happens is of the “my God, what am I going to do now?” variety, you’re approaching it from a defeatist mindset (negative). If your response is, “what’s my next move?,” then you’re focused on solutions (and that’s a good thing).
2. Explore Your Culture of Origin
Your culture of origin is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the environment you come from. That means physical, spiritual, emotional, mental.
Parents model for their kids how to act in the face of adversity. If yours had a defeatist attitude, then it’s really easy to fall into that trap yourself.
On the other hand, parents who always have a positive, constructive response to life’s good-and-bad make it easier on their children to do the same. The good news: you can overcome a negative culture of origin provided that you’re calling out these behaviors as you notice them in yourself.
3. Determine the Type of Person You Want to Be
It’s easy when examining your culture of origin to fall into certain traps. One of the biggest: I don’t want to be like my Mom or Dad. But this isn’t as constructive as you think it is, even when Mom and Dad failed to set the best examples for you in life.
Instead of fixating on what you don’t want out of life, start thinking about the type of person you do want to be. This practice forces you to envision an ideal life instead of simply avoiding certain negative traits.
4. Meet Others Where They Are
It can be hard in a personal relationship when you do something for someone else and that’s not reciprocated. But try to remember that acts of love or positivity aren’t always as effective with others when you’re performing them the way you want.
Think about what they want instead. This allows you to connect with them on their level, and it makes it more likely they’ll want to do the same. Being able to connect with others in a constructive way goes a long way in helping you get and keep the positive mindset.
5. You Do You
When carrying out No. 4, it can be frustrating, especially when you feel like others aren’t reciprocating. But it’s important that you stop worrying about that.
Instead, keep your eyes and attention on yourself. Do things that make you feel better without waiting for others to take the hint. Being on different wavelengths from other people is just a part of life. As long as you’re into self-improvement, the rest will fall into place.
6. Establish Clear Goals
Goal-setting and attainment go a long way in being able to get and keep the positive mindset. When you’re hitting those targets, you feel like you’re winning or making progress. And both of those feelings feed into positivity perhaps more than anything else.
As you go this route, make sure you have a healthy mix of goals that are both lofty and attainable. You want to shoot for the sky, but it can be hard getting there without any victories along the way. So sit down, pen-in-hand, and figure out where you’d like to be by the end of the year, month, week, and day.
Work toward something bigger than yourself. But celebrate those actions you have to take each day to get there. Doing so will make it easy to stay positive.
7. Look at Failure Differently
Failure is inevitable. When you fail, however, it leaves you with two options. Giving up or learning from your mistakes.
For the positive person, failure means learning and resisting the urge to kick yourself while you’re down. Just remember that every champion in every sport since the dawn of time has won and lost.
It wasn’t their victories that set them apart in the history books, though. It was how they responded when they weren’t quite there yet. Most learned from their mistakes, and that’s how they made it as far as they did.
8. Enlist Help
Not every victory can be achieved on one’s own. That’s why we have team sports like soccer, football, basketball, and baseball.
Even in individual sports like boxing and auto racing, the person at center-stage has a team of sponsors, trainers, pit-crew folks, etc., that allow them to focus on performance. Without them, they wouldn’t be able to do it all.
So, when you hit a roadblock, reach out for help. There are people in your world right now who are only too willing and capable of offering it. Let them be your lifelines through the storms ahead.
9. Be a Giver
When you feel like you can’t help yourself, help someone else. It may not do anything to help you conquer the current challenge. But it can do a world of good for your attitude and, indirectly, that’ll be important for soldiering on.
What are some ways that you can give to others? Get involved with a church or civic organization. Help a family member in the yard. Think of ways that you can offer your talents and abilities without the expectation of getting anything out of it.
This type of approach to life almost always pays dividends. That’s because people will remember your kind act, and they’ll be a more valuable part of your social network moving forward.
Some may never reciprocate. But many will. And when you need extra help, that good deed you did today with no selfish ambition driving it can help you reap benefits.
10. Kill Your Inner Perfectionist
Some people hear they should never feel sorry for themselves, and so they try not to and end up getting more bitter and resentful when things don’t improve. In reality, not feeling sorry for yourself is neither healthy nor realistic.
Rather than trying to do the impossible, try this the next time you do feel self-pity encroaching on your day. Give yourself 60 seconds to reflect with as much “woe-is-me” bitterness as you can muster. Acknowledge it, embrace it, and let it wash over you. But only do it with the understanding that when that 60 seconds is up, it’s onto thinking about solutions instead of negativity.
This act will help to kill your inner perfectionist — the guy or girl inside of you who’s making it way too hard to handle life as it comes. Once they’re dead, it’s easier to act without the paralysis-by-analysis that leads to negativity and failure.
You may still fail along the way by killing your inner perfectionist. But you’ll be in a much better position to come back stronger and more positively than ever before.
The Positive Mindset Can Make a Big Difference
We hope you’ve enjoyed this examination of the positive mindset. More importantly, we hope that you’ll be taking some techniques and advice from this. We want whatever you get from it to prove useful in your future life and decision-making.
Now it’s your turn, positive thinkers. What are some techniques you’ve used to keep a positive mindset amid adversity? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Forbes]