Wondering how to develop a positive mindset? This is the blog for you. Especially if you are new to the concept of a positive mindset.
The “power of positive thinking” is a popular concept, and sometimes it can feel a little cliché. But the physical and mental benefits of positive thinking have been demonstrated by multiple scientific studies.
A positive mindset can give you more confidence, improve your mood, and even reduce the likelihood of developing conditions such as hypertension, depression, and other stress-related disorders.
Table of Contents
What is a positive mindset?
All this sounds great, but what does the “power of positive thinking” really mean?
You can define positive thinking as positive imagery, positive self-talk, or general optimism, but these are all still general, ambiguous concepts.
Characteristics of a positive mindset
So, now we know what a positive mindset is, we can dive into the next important question: What does it look like?
There are many traits and characteristics associated with a positive mindset, including:
Optimism: a willingness to make an effort and take a chance, instead of assuming your efforts won’t pay off.
Acceptance: acknowledging that things don’t always turn out how you want them to, but learning from your mistakes.
Resilience: bouncing back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up.
Gratitude: actively, continuously appreciating the good things in your life (Blank, 2017).
Consciousness/Mindfulness: dedicating the mind to conscious awareness and enhancing the ability to focus.
Integrity: the trait of being honorable, righteous, and straightforward, instead of deceitful and self-serving (Power of Positivity, n.d.).
Why Is a Positive Mindset Important?
The simplest way to explain the importance of a positive mindset is to give you the four essential areas in life that can be improved by this kind of attitude:
- Physical health
- Mental health
How Does A Positive Mindset Affect Physical Health?
You probably know this already, but repetition is the mother of learning, and our physical health is very much dependent on our psychological traits and conditions.
When we’re under a lot of stress, or often feel angry, or anxious, the organ that suffers the most is our heart.
A 2016 medical research proved that people who exhibited a positive mindset and optimism were far less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. There are two explanations for this, and they are both true:
People with a positive attitude have healthier habits: they eat healthy food, exercise regularly, rarely smoke, and drink less alcohol; People with a positive attitude experience less stress.
Stress-related hormones and neurotransmitters are a threat to our vital organ systems, especially the cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal (digestive).
A 2008 research confirmed that people who have positive thoughts usually experience lower levels of stress hormones—adrenaline and cortisol.
In line with these results are findings from Queensland, Australia. The research conducted with older generation participants proved that focusing on positive information can help strengthen their immune systems.
To put the cherry on top, it also turns out that people with a positive attitude have a longer lifespan. This link persisted regardless of sex, culture, and even habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
What do these results mean?
A positive mindset is a protective factor for our physical well-being.
How Does a Positive Mindset Improve Mental Health?
To answer this question, we will turn to science—again.
We all sometimes feel anxious or depressed, and there’s no shame admitting that at times it can become unbearable, which is why we sometimes seek medical help.
Research conducted with patients who suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder revealed that excessive worrying, which is typical for this disorder, can be successfully replaced with a positive mindset.
The participants went through a four-week positive-imagery training, after which they experienced less worrying and anxious thoughts.
With depression, it’s quite similar: a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic approach recommends replacing negative thoughts with more realistic and positive ones, as a method of lowering the depressive symptoms.
In general, a positive mindset contributes to our overall psychological well-being by promoting mindfulness and positive emotions. Just like with physical health, it works as prevention.
Positive Mindset and Relationships
It’s no secret that positive people are simply more pleasant to be around. You don’t need science to tell you that you’d rather spend time with someone who smiles, listens to you, has an empathetic approach, and sees the good even in bad situations.
However, if you do ask science, it will most likely tell you that optimistic people do have stronger and more cohesive social circles.
How Can a Positive Mindset Help You with Your Career?
There is one concept that captures it all: psychological capital. It encompasses four psychological resources that provide better coping mechanisms: hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.
Research conducted in 2004 discovered that people with stronger psychological capital are more committed and satisfied with their jobs. They tend to perform better at work and feel less stressed or anxious.
It’s pretty straightforward: as positive psychologist Sonya Lyubomirsky and her colleagues discovered, happier employees are more productive, and creative, and receive better evaluations from their supervisors. As a result, they also make more money!
This means that both employees and the organization benefit from instilling a positive mindset.
It’s not only that you become happier, healthier, more connected, and satisfied—but you can even become wealthier!
We’re aware that we’ve listed a ton of positive mindset benefits, but we still haven’t explained how to achieve one. Don’t worry—that’s where we’re headed next.
10 Ways to develop a positive mindset
While changing your mindset isn’t something that can necessarily happen overnight, it can still be done. Here are 10 simple things you can start doing today to develop a positive mindset.
1. Start the day with a positive affirmation.
What is a positive affirmation?
Positive affirmations can be defined as positive phrases or statements that we repeat to ourselves. Generally, they are used to manifest goals, dreams, or experiences we desire.
Starting your day with positive affirmations like “today is a good day, I’ve got this, I am going to give today my best, sets the tone for the day.
Positive affirmations are like the building blocks of a positive mindset. Incorporating it into your morning routine will make you unstoppable.
2. Have your why
The second thing you can do to develop a positive mindset is to have a strong “why”.
Introducing anything new or trying to learn a new habit is challenging. However, if you have a strong why, it makes it easier for you to stay the course.
3. Practice gratitude
The third thing you can do to develop a positive mindset is to practice gratitude. I have seen for myself the wonders of practicing gratitude daily, and I can tell you for a fact that it works wonders.
There is a great app called the 5 Minute Journal that I use to practice gratitude when I’m struggling with putting my thoughts in an actual journal.
All you need to start practicing gratitude is 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Turn failures into lessons.
Anyone who tries to do anything new will fail at some point. The only people who never fail, are the people who never try anything new. And who wants to live like that?
The point is that failure is a part of success. Here is one of my favorite quotes about failure, “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” ― Eloise Ristad.
Failure is part of the process. It’s borderline healthy to fail. Embrace it as part of the process.
5. Transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
I wish we could pinpoint the exact moment that triggered negative self-talk while we were growing up. Negative self-talk is one of the major culprits of us staying afraid, staying in the minor leagues, and staying mediocre.
The way to beat this is to imagine yourself as one of your heroes. One of the people you respect and want to emulate every day of your life.
What do you think they tell themselves first thing in the morning? Tell yourself the same things. Things like:
- You can do this.
- You’ve got this
- You’re worth the promotion
- You’ve come so far.
- You’re doing a great job.
6. Focus on the present.
The sixth thing you can do to develop a positive mindset is to focus on the present. One of the things that chain us to mediocrity is hanging on to our past.
When you were a child, this happened. When you were a child, that happened. You’re all grown up now. Time to take responsibility for your choices. Time to let go of the past.
7. Purge negative people from your life
The seventh thing that is essential to developing a positive mindset is purging yourself of negative people.
If you’re reading this, you probably have a few negative people that you can list off the top of your head. These are people who always have something negative to say about pretty much anything.
These are people who are miserable in their own personal lives and love to spread misery everywhere they go.
Avoid these people like the plague. They will be the enemy of your progress in this endeavor.
8. Surround yourself with positive people
The next thing to do to develop a positive is to surround yourself with positive people. Feel out for them and try to be friends with them.
Building a new community around yourself will help you get to where you need to be on your positivity journey.
9. Do more things that bring you joy
The ninth thing to help you develop a positive mindset is to do more things that bring you joy.
This all starts with discovering the things that bring you joy. What good things put a smile on your face?
Once you figure it out, inject it into your day or into your week as often as you can.
10. Unlearn negative conditioning
The tenth and final thing you need to do to develop a positive mindset is to begin unlearning negative things that you now know are true.
Things like life are hard, you need to work hard to get by, and life is out to get you… Okay, let’s just agree right now that all these things are bullshit. Life is a beautiful experience, and it’s very much what we make of it.
Our whole existence is just energy. What you give is what you get. You give and exude positive energy, and it will be rainbows and lollipop days, and the opposite also holds true.
If you walk around with lessons that no longer serve the new life you’re trying to create for yourself, then all your days will be dark and filled with self-inflicted pain.
The concept of a positive mindset can seem intimidating and unachievable. This holds especially true if you come from a negative and toxic environment.
However, with these ten tips, you won’t wonder how to develop a positive mindset, you’ll know exactly how to do it.