Whether we’ve experienced the death of a loved one, a recent divorce, a diagnosis of cancer, or any other hardships that plagues our society, we must learn to preserve and stay positive for those who look up to us. But how? How can we look up when it hurts so bad? How can we overcome our own grief and pain? How can we overcome our own mental illness? How can we stay strong when we feel so weak? How can we be positive?
Being positive is among one of the most sought after attributes that individuals have. Being optimistic is a skill. And it is a learned skill.
Optimism is a talent obtained like anything else. Some people are born with it, and others work hard to gain it. But at the end of the day, anyone can be optimistic. For those who struggle with staying positive here are five tips for training your brain to start positively viewing the world.
- Trust yourself
- Gratitude Journal
- Fake it until you make it.
Trust Yourself– Trusting yourself can be a process but is the most important thing for being an optimist. When positive people make mistakes, they will still say, “Welp, I messed up, but I’ll be better next time.” And they trust themselves to be better. Confident people don’t think they are awful people who always mess up; they think they are good people who happened to mess up occasionally.
Being positive is all about looking forward and trusting that you will be better, not looking at the past and thinking you will always be a screw-up. Give your future self a chance to prove to you that they will be better than you ever thought was possible. Give your future self a chance to show to you that they will not make the same mistakes. Learning to be optimistic starts here; it is learning to love your present self and trusting that your life will get better in the future because you will make it better.
Gratitude Journal– 5 minutes. That’s it. Take 5 minutes of the day to write down three positive things that happened that day. Writing down positive thoughts about the day will slowly train your subconscious to look for favorable situations throughout each day. After doing this consistently for a few weeks, it will become more comfortable for you to think good thoughts and to see the positive events that happened in your day. Once your brain can find three positives things each day, try finding four or five positive things daily.
Fake it Until you Make it- As a young football player, I never understood the reason behind practicing. I felt like I learned and did much better during the game. But as I grew up, I discovered the benefit of practice. Practice follows the pattern of fake it until you make it. And, although it feels “fake” those who practice when it is easy will perform much better when it gets hard.
Faking it until you make it follows that same principle. Practice being positive for a few days straight. No matter how bad you hate something, or how annoyed you are, fake it as if you were the most optimistic person in the world. Your brain is made up of 2 parts, the conscious and subconscious. Although your conscious mind may think that you’re “fake” your subconscious will not. Try saying only positive things. Even if you hate school, work, etc. whenever someone asks about it, respond positively. After just a few days, your brain will start to think more positively, and it will slowly feel more natural. If you want to train your mind to be positive, it takes lots and lots of practice.
Service- Serving someone else is a humbling situation in which you can stop thinking about yourself and your problems and focus on someone else. Whether big or small, taking a few seconds to help someone else is a fantastic way to overcome negative thoughts, forget about your problems, and improve the world. Often assisting others with their issues will help you realize answers to many of your questions causing personal negativity.
Exercise/Diet- Learning to push the limits, and become consistent in one area can help you stay consistent and committed in another. Exercise not only will not only train your body to push itself and change, but it will also give your brain endorphins which is a chemical necessary for greater positivity.
Dieting is also essential to staying optimistic because many mental diseases have been linked to diet, lack of vitamins, or lack of nutrition. Make sure that your diet is well balanced and that you are getting the needed minerals to help your brain beat mental illness.
In the end, those who work hard to try and be positive will succeed. Doing these few steps will help train your brain to think and be more positive.