“Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results.” - Remez Sasson, founder of Success Consciousness
our mindset is made up of your beliefs, values and unconscious patterns, and a positive mindset has the power to transform your experience of life. Following the steps below can help you close the gap between how you’re currently showing up in the world, and your true self.
To help early humans survive, we developed a negativity bias that makes us much more likely to perceive something as bad or threatening. Fortunately, we can choose to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves and develop our self-awareness. We can choose to think new thoughts, choose to believe them, and choose to take aligned action.
Operating from a positive mindset moves people out of survival mode and into thriving, serving and living with purpose. If you can change your mindset, you canh change your life - so here are 12 ways to develop a positive mindset!
Let go of limiting beliefs
Our beliefs determine our experience of ourselves, our lives and the world. Your beliefs are what’s true for you, but they don’t reflect every potential of reality. Beliefs are just stories that can be rewritten, so let go of your limiting beliefs and develop more expansive beliefs that enable you to embody new states, and open up to more possibilities.
What are your core beliefs? Do these beliefs feel good? Are they holding you back or supporting you in towards your goals? There is no point in maintaining a belief if it isn’t useful to you! Nothing is ‘wrong’ if you believe it, but if you can have a better experience of life just by changing some core beliefs, then why wouldn’t you?
The brain has something called the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which filters through the 2 million bits of information that are taken in by your subconscious mind every second. The RAS is like Google; there are millions of website, but you narrow your search down by typing in some keywords. In the same way, the RAS locates the information that validates your beliefs.
In other words, we don’t see all of reality; we only see what supports our beliefs.
Everything that exists in the world can exist for you too, depending on which beliefs you choose to foster.
Practice positive affirmations
The mind is like a computer, and the practice of positive affirmations is like updating and installing new software. The brain and body go to what they know, so it’s time to let them know something new, positive and empowering.
It’s not enough to simply write your positive affirmations down and forget about them. For this practice to be effective, aim to read them out loud to yourself every day. Your affirmations might feel like big lies for a while, but just for that moment, breath deeply and let yourself feel the truth in your words.
Feel the expansion in your body as you say your affirmations; this process rewires neural pathways, stretches your nervous system, and teaches you to have a new experience on a cellular level. With time and persistence, your mindset will shift, and your world will change.
When you change your focus, you change your experience of life
Expand your awareness
Your focus determines your quality of life and whatever you focus on expands. So when you change your focus, you change your experience of life. We often go through life focused on what we want and what we don’t want, but finding solutions comes from expanding our awareness, not focusing on the problems.
Expanding your awareness is all about your willingness to see things differently while understanding that everything you experience as ‘real’ in the external world is raw data. In other words, it’s just information with no intrinsic meaning. Your mind creates the meaning and informs your internal state, and therefore the decisions you make and the version of reality you experience.
The difference between problem-focused thinking and expanded awareness can be felt in our language patterns. For example, how do you feel when you say, “I want to be fit and healthy,” instead of “I don’t want to be weak and unfit”?
Decide to want something new, be willing to see things differently, and visualise yourself making new healthy choices so you can internally experience a positive outcome before it happens in real life. When it does happen in real life, you’ll be ready for it to feel normal, natural and easy.
View failures as lessons
“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling
How do you feel when you fail?
Our memories are our rationale for keeping our beliefs, whether they serve us or not. We use our snapshot from the past to anticipate our future, but these snapshots are only a tiny fraction of reality. This is why it’s so important to focus on the positive lessons you’ve learned when something doesn’t work out.
Hiding your mistakes and lessons only feeds the unattainable illusion of perfection, but if we reframe failure as feedback, then we can really make the most of this valuable resource. Failure is an essential part of learning and success, so be glad when it inevitably happens sometimes!
Be present in the moment to catch negative self-talk
Over time, we believe what we’re repeatedly telling ourselves - but this doesn’t mean it’s the truth! When we cultivate the presence to observe our internal dialogue, we can identify our subconscious patterns and decide to say new things to ourselves.
Write down all the negative things you say to yourself. Would you say this to a child? A friend? Would you even say these things to someone you don’t like? Actively replace your negative self-talk with positive language that gives you more choice and support.
When you tune in, you’ll probably catch your inner critic, so give that voice a name and say it out loud! When you catch yourself in the middle of negative self-talk, the least helpful thing you can do is to beat yourself up over it.
Instead; smile. Breath deep and shake your body. Celebrate your awareness and swiftly switch to your more empowering story. You’ll then be primed to take action that aligns with your new story.
Surround yourself with positive people
Does your community inspire and support you in your truth and where you want to go? If not, perhaps it’s time to let people know about the future you want to lean into because life’s biggest changes can happen conversationally. However, it’s important to keep in mind that fear of rejection and the threat of loneliness might initially hold you back from these conversations.
When you live and share your truth, there will be people who no longer resonate with you. We all must find our peace with this if we want to overcome the fear of rejection. It may not happen overnight, but you will attract new people into your life when you start living your life unapologetically as yourself. Rest assured, these new connections will feel so much more nourishing than the relationships you had when you were hiding.
We match with people based on resonance, and your vibe really does attract your tribe!
Are the people you spend your time with also developing a positive mindset? Does your community share helpful feedback, ideas and insights on personal development? With a network of people who empower and inspire you, a positive mindset is much easier to cultivate.
Feel your emotions
“Positive thinking actually means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.” - Kendra Cherry at Very Well Mind (2017B)
There are no good and bad emotions; they are all valid parts of the human experience.
You can feel sadness and anger and still have a positive mindset. Anger helps us set healthy boundaries to protect ourselves and our loved ones, while sadness is a healing physical release that helps us let go of past attachments before moving forward.
While there’s a lot of social conditioning around emotions, all emotions can be expressed in a healthy or unhealthy way. It’s also impossible to selectively suppress certain emotions, so if you try to suppress sadness and anger, you will end up suppressing joy, love and peace as well.
As emotions are in the body, they are best processed with breath, sound and movement. Many of us fall into the trap of trying to think our way out of heavy feelings, but when we surrender to our emotions and fully feel them, the intensity only lasts 90 seconds. When suppressed, however, an emotion becomes a mood, before becoming your state of being. When emotions are stored instead of felt, they can lead to poor mental and physical health.
It’s impossible to think your way out of a bad mood. Instead, change your physiology to improve your psychological state. Smile; breath deep into your abdomen; move randomly and shake your body to break the familiar cycle. Avoiding your pain is a form of toxic positivity, so let yourself feel to heal and grow!
When it comes to feeling grateful, some days are definitely more difficult than others! It’s never impossible though, and when we make gratitude a daily practice, we’re training our minds to search for the positives more efficiently.
We’re already really good at finding the negatives, even when we’re having a great day - that’s human nature. A gratitude practice is an excellent tool for shifting your focus and energy, so take a few minutes each day to write down everything you’re thankful for.
This can include the smallest things that bring you joy (or even just relief), but you can also feel gratitude for something you want to have or experience in the future. Money is always a good example to use when talking about gratitude because many people have complicated and resentful stories about it.
To nurture a more positive relationship with money, experiment with consciously feeling gratitude for every little financial transaction, both incoming and outgoing. Feel into all the wonderful and important things that money provides!
It’s much easier to have a positive mindset when you lead life as yourself
Getting to the core of who you really are can have a profoundly positive impact on your mindset. To unlock this level, however, you must be prepared to question your conditioning and dare to deviate.
It’s much easier to have a positive mindset when you lead life as yourself. Do you show up in your truth across all parts of your life, or do you hide behind different masks to cater to different people and situations?
Personal development is not about becoming a better version of yourself; it’s about remembering who you are. It’s reclaiming all that you are through growth and expansion as you unravel the conditioning that keeps you playing small and feeling lost.
When are you happiest? The most honest and straightforward answer to this question is a great place to begin. Once you’re clear on that, you can move on to questions like these:
- If there were no right or wrong when it came to planning my schedule, what would be different about my days?
- Is X really working for me?
- Is X putting a kink in my hose and cutting off my creative flow?
- If I got a free pass to cancel any commitment in my life, would I need to use it? If so, what would I use it on?
- What do I no longer allow in my life?
If you’re ready to connect with your truth and dance your own dance, then check out these 9 Questions To Reveal Your Passion And Purpose! The mind is extremely malleable, and it can be shifted far more easily than we realise. In fact, your mindset could be the only thing standing between you and your goals.