Can you think yourself into a successful career or relationship? Does the power of positive thinking help you to achieve your goals? It might seem like a cliché. But, according to the experts, the power of positive thinking – a part of the positive psychology movement – is the key to unlocking your full potential, whether in your professional or personal life. So, what is positive psychology, and how can you improve your positive thinking powers? It turns out that you can improve your ability to think more positively by taking positive action.
What is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life fulfilling, focusing on individual and community well-being to improve quality of life. Many studies show that positive emotions and life satisfaction enhance physical health, creativity, relationships, coping skills and connection.
Spend time with positive people
You’ve probably heard motivational speakers preach, ‘You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,’ and the adage, ‘Misery loves company.’ Again, this might sound like a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth. If you’re surrounding yourself with negative people, developing and maintaining positivity will be challenging. Try to minimise your exposure to the negativity of others in your life and join groups – whether social, sporting or volunteering – that boost your positivity quota. You could also listen to positive podcasts or audiobooks to fill your positivity cup further.
Contribute to your community
Volunteering has long been connected to positive mental and emotional health outcomes. It can provide purpose and meaningful experiences to your life, increasing self-esteem and general wellbeing. It’s also widely recognised as relieving stress and symptoms of depression and improving relationships. If you can make time to contribute to your community, your mental and emotional well-being will thank you for it.
Recognise and replace negative thinking
Negative thoughts are insidious. They creep in when you least expect it and influence your whole perspective, negatively impacting your life. Keeping a mood diary can help you identify and challenge your negative thinking by replacing every negative thought with a positive one.
Make and achieve goals
Fail to plan, and you intend to fail, they say! So, make sure you’re setting SMART goals. When you’re actively working toward achieving personal or professional development goals, you’re engaging in positive thinking. The act of holding yourself accountable further encourages you to take positive action. Just as negative thinking can be cyclical, positive actions can promote more positivity. So, make a list of what you want to achieve next year and set SMART goals.
In positive psychology, gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. Gratitude encourages more positive emotions and is crucial to engage in good experiences fully, boosting health and maintaining strong relationships with others. If gratitude is challenging at first, start noticing even the most minor things that bring joy. Notice if it’s the sunshine after the rain or a home-cooked meal.
According to research, mindfulness can help you learn acceptance skills and notice present-moment positive experiences. One of the simplest ways of incorporating mindfulness into your every day is to focus on the five senses at moments throughout your day. Take a moment to observe what you can see, hear, smell, feel and taste as a way of grounding yourself. Next, focus on your breathing to slow down. When you get accustomed to slowing down, you’ll probably find that you can readily identify every day’s positive aspects.
Laughter is the best medicine! Researchers discovered that positive emotions associated with humour and laughing correspond with understanding the purpose of life and help older people appreciate a positive perspective on the obstacles endured in life. So, if you want to increase positive thought, put on a comedy, read a funny book or learn and tell some jokes!
Positive self-talk is your internal dialogue. It’s often subconscious and influences your thoughts, beliefs and ideas about yourself. If you tune into your self-talk and find a negative Nelly/Nell – it’s time to challenge and change how you talk to yourself. When you change your self-talk, you’ll improve your self-esteem and ability to tackle challenges.
Interested in developing the power of positive thinking? Is negativity holding you back? If so, try incorporating one (or all) of these strategies to improve your positive thinking skills. The law of attraction shows that where your focus goes, energy flows. So, when your focus is positive, your life is a magnet for more positive experiences. And if your professional or personal life needs a positivity boost, browse hundreds of online courses and discover your full potential today.