Our minds are amazing, aren’t they? They can be our greatest strength, and also our biggest obstacle. The key is to learn to manage our minds and our thoughts in a skillful, productive way. This is why we need to teach our minds how to have more positive thoughts. Once we are able to do this, it can help us to reach impressive new heights in our performance and development.
As it turns out, research has shown that of the thousands of thoughts that our minds go through each and every day, over 80% of them are negative. That means that many of us are bombarding ourselves with negative thinking. Additionally, many of these thoughts play over and over again in our heads. That means we are constantly replaying negative thoughts. It’s time to change that.
What are the benefits of having more positive thoughts?
Believe it or not, many people agree that there are actually health benefits that come with having more positive thoughts. There is continued research to support this theory (check out this post from the Mayo Clinic). If you are wondering what these health benefits are, check out this list of ways that positive thinking may help you:
Lower rates of depression among those who have more positive thoughts
Boosted immune system
Increased cardiovascular health
Better physical well being
Increased ability to handle stress
Increased life span
While no one knows exactly why these benefits seem to be associated with having more positive thoughts, it may be that those who are focused on the positive are less affected by stress. Additionally, because they are affected by stress less they are likely to be following other healthy lifestyle behaviors.
How can we teach our minds to have more positive thoughts?
Here is the reality. We are not even aware of many of the things that are happening in our minds while they are happening. Our mind moves to its own rhythms in patterns that are independent of themselves and we have not control of them at all. Amazing, right?
In a 2005 study at Cornell University, researchers found that 85% of these negative thoughts or worries never actually happen. This means that much of what we are stressing about is actually pointless and a waste of our precious energy. Plus, the 15% of negative stuff that did actually happen, the study participants were actually mostly able to handle the issue without much difficulty.
This all means that there is very little reason in actually spending our time focused on these negative thoughts. If you are ready to be done with these baseless worries and exhausting negative thoughts, check out this list of ways that we can teach our minds to have more positive thoughts.
How to Have More Positive Thoughts
Accept the fact that you think negatively
Many people who focus on negative thoughts honestly don’t even realize that they do it. You need to realize that it is something that you are actually doing before you can work toward doing the opposite of that.
Start accepting compliments
If someone compliments you, say thank you. Stop dismissing these compliments or offering reasons why they aren’t true. Once you start accepting these compliments, they start to make their way into your mindset. That means more positivity!
Strengthen your memory
Building your memorization skills and use positive words and affirmations to help boost your overall thinking. Do this by writing out a list of positive words and play memory games with these particular words. When these positive words are at the top of your brain, it is easier to focus on them.
Teach yourself to notice the positive things that happen in your days
Are you a person who tends to notice only the negative things that happen throughout the day? Maybe your coffee was cold or your lunch wasn’t what you were hoping for. Instead of instantly focusing on these negatives, teach yourself to notice the positives that happen throughout the day. Maybe someone let you over in traffic, or maybe your kids didn’t get into a fight this morning. Oftentimes good things happen throughout the day, we just don’t notice them. Start paying attention.
Be realistic about the positive and the negative
It is great to think positively, but it is more important to be realistic. Be as positive as possible, but also be realistic about the negative things. You can’t pretend to be positive about everything because you will quickly get tired of that.
Take time at the end of each day to write out the negative thoughts that are plaguing you. Don’t make your journal all about the negatives though, make sure to touch on both. Consider starting a new section of your journal to focus on the positive things in your days and the things that have happened that you are thankful for.
Check out these posts on journaling that we have talked about recently.
Pay attention to the moments of positivity that happen in your day
Positive moments happen throughout our days all the time. We just need to actually pay attention and look for those. Those of us who focus on the negative are often so busy waiting for the next bad thing, we tend to look right passed it when positive things happen. You need to train yourself to pay attention to the moments of positivity that happen in your day or else you will likely never see them at all.
Practice more gratitude in your life
We all know that there are plenty of negative things that happen in our lives, and that it’s easy to be prepared for them. I realized that we likely simply don’t think to look for the positives. One way to start having more positive thoughts is by practicing being more grateful when you do notice them. Gratitude feels good and really does help us to change our mindset, but sometimes we need to condition ourselves to feel it. Savor the moments when they happen. Allow yourself to truly focus on how good they feel and how thankful you are for having the positive experience.