How to Be a Positive Thinker

Three Parts:Finding the Bright SideAvoiding NegativityImproving Your Life

Negative emotions can spiral. If you want to stop letting yourself sink down into bad feelings, you can train yourself to let the light in. You can learn to find the bright side and stay positive, avoiding negativity in your life, and going about the process of improving yourself for the better.

Part 1
Finding the Bright Side

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    Start smiling more. When you smile, your brain activates neural messages that actually make you feel more positive.[1] Even if you're feeling kind of "blah," make your face do the work of brightening up your day. It works.
    • An added bonus? When you smile, you'll spread positivity around to other people, putting other people in good moods as well. It's good for everyone.
    • If you're not in a great mood, complaining about it won't make it any better. Practice forcing yourself to smile, and it'll become second nature.
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    Make little changes in the words you use. It's easy to say things that can accidentally bring you down.[2] Using positive words, as opposed to negative words, has a proven effect on your mood and your attitude.
    • Don't identify yourself with your feelings. Don't say, "I am sad" or "I am frustrated." Instead, put the negativity elsewhere. Say, "That movie made me feel sad" or "This task is difficult and frustrating."
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    Do nice things for others, even if you don't feel like it. Not having a great day? That doesn't mean you have to act like it. Choose to spread positivity around, and the smiles you get in return will do a lot to make you think more positively. Here a few little ideas for things you can do to brighten someone else's day:
    • Clean up the house before your partner or roommate gets home
    • Pick up coffee or donuts for your office
    • Mow your neighbor's yard, or shovel their driveway in winter
    • Just say hello and compliment a stranger
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    Be with people you enjoy. If you want to think positively, surround yourself with other positive thinkers, and with people who bring out the best in you. Hang out with people who are supportive, friendly, and like you for who you are.
    • If you don't like hanging out with someone because they put you in a bad mood, stop hanging out with them.
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    Find positive quotes or mantras to keep with you. One great way to keep your outlook bright is to keep little quotes or sayings that you like in your pocket, on your phone, or otherwise in your mind as you go about your day.
    • Subscribe to positive affirmation feeds on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook to keep your social networking more positive an influence in your life.
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    Keep a journal and record each day. If you sometimes end the day on a sour note, train yourself to turn that around. Instead, pour yourself a cup of tea, or another beverage of your choice, and sit down with a journal and write it out. Just sit down and start writing about your day. What happened? What went right? What went wrong? Put it all down.
    • Write down three things that went well and explain why they went well. Write down three things that didn't go well, and explain why they didn't go well.[3] Be as specific as possible in describing the events.
    • Read back over what you wrote. Sometimes, what seems super-dramatic in your mind will suddenly seem much more minor when you actually read it out. Was it really worth all that negativity?

Part 2
Avoiding Negativity

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    Identify your negativity triggers. What puts you in a dark mood? What makes you feel bad? Identify the things that make you spiral into negative emotional states, so you can plan how to attack those triggers and get rid of them from your life.
    • Do you get angry or upset at a particular time of day? When a particular event happens? When you're around a particular person? What makes you angry?
    • Maybe you just have trouble feeling positive about much of anything. If you struggle to approach even your vacation day with a positive attitude, you might want to get checked out for signs of depression and talk to your doctor.
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    Only keep supportive friends. If someone in your life doesn't contribute to your mental well-being, they don't have a place in your life. People who stress you out, criticize you, or bring you down are a waste of your time and energy. Avoid these people or draw firm limits with them.
    • If you have to hang out with someone who rubs you the wrong way, or you can't stop seeing someone, do your best to draw limits. Be honest with them and tell them that you really need your space and you'd prefer to be left alone.
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    Give less weight to what other people say. If you feel good about something, let yourself feel good about it. If you don't care about something, don't let yourself be swayed by the opinions of others. Listen to your own voice and pay less attention to what other people have to say about you or your business.
    • Don't ask for other people's opinion if you don't really need it. What difference does it make it your coworker doesn't like the name you picked for your new pet cat? As long as it makes you happy, that's all that matters.
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    Stop comparing yourself to others. Competition can bring up a lot of negativity in people. Avoid situations that force you to compare yourself or your skills to the skills of others. These situations can breed bad feelings, resentment, and anxiety. If you want to keep a positive mindset, avoid any situation that will force you to compare or compete with others.
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    Stay busy. Work hard and play hard. Fill up your schedule with activities that will keep you so busy you won't have time to sink back into negative feelings. If you're focused and productive, it's hard to feel negative about much of anything. Stay focused on the things you're doing and your accomplishments, not on anything else.
    • In some people, staying busy helps to outrun feelings of negativity. In others, it creates it. Some people just need more downtime than others. If you're one of those people, make sure you get it for yourself.
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    Don't sweat small stuff. Being happy and satisfied, spending time with family and friends–these are the important things. Anything else? Chalk it up under the category of "small stuff." Do not sweat it.
    • Block stuff on social networking that drives you crazy. If you've got a friend who won't stop humble bragging and making you annoyed, stop subscribing to their updates. Ignore it.
    • Of course, if you're in a bad place and you need to improve your life, that may be an important step to take to help yourself get positive. Read the next section for tips.

Part 3
Improving Your Life

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    Get active. Exercise is shown to have drastic and positive effects on your mood, releasing stress-reducing hormones in your body that help to keep you feeling good.[4] One excellent way of improving your outlook is to find some method of exercising that you enjoy, and making physical activity a bigger part of your life.
    • Start small. Just start by taking 30-40 minute walks around your neighborhood, moving at a good clip. Cue up some music or a podcast that you enjoy in your headphones, and get some fresh air.
    • Find a team sport that you like, like football, soccer, basketball, or volleyball, and join a community team if you enjoy the positive effects of sport.
    • If you don't like gyms or sports, try a solo activity like hiking, swimming, or riding your bike.
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    Set and complete goals. Sometimes, if you start feeling like you're wandering aimlessly, the negativity will start to creep back in. To keep those feelings at bay, start setting goals actively and working hard to meet them. Even if they're relatively small things, it's important to have some sense of purpose to meet the day.
    • Write up a five year plan for important goals and do something every week to get yourself moving toward those goals. Where do you want to be in five years? What do you want to do? What can you do right now to move in that direction?
    • If you're feeling successful in your life, but still struggle with feeling like you're not getting the most out of it, get a new hobby. Pick up an instrument, or start an art project to get creative in a way you might not be used to.
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    Take the time to celebrate. It's important to set aside the time to let yourself feel good. Even if you're busy, even if you're not feeling that great, it helps you cultivate a positive mindset to take the time out to celebrate with friends and family.
    • Celebrate accomplishments, big and small. When someone graduates, that's cause for celebration. But, so is a regular Friday. Raise a toast to getting through the week!
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    Eat well. What you put into your body can have a big impact on how you feel, both physically and mentally. Getting more leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate in your diet is proven to come with mood-altering properties for the better.[5]
    • Always eat breakfast. Research reveals that people who eat breakfast are helping to jump start their metabolism, resulting in more energy and positivity throughout the day.
    • Eat complex carbohydrates, found in oatmeal, whole grains, and sweet potato, to give yourself energy without the crash associated with simple carbs, like sugary cereals and processed foods.[6]
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    Let yourself relax when you need to. Relaxation is essential to staying positive. If you're the stressful type, train yourself to take a step back and grab a relaxation break when you need it. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign that you're doing what you need to do to stay healthy.
    • Take short breaks periodically throughout the day. 10-15 minutes of sitting quietly and listening to meditative music, or reading a magazine during a busy workday can help you feel a lot more positive about the day.
    • Take longer breaks as well. Don't leave unused vacation days on the table. Take a week off and use it to restore.


  • As the old saying goes, if you wish to stay positive, prevent negative-minded people.


  • It is not easy to be positive, but if you wish to survive and enjoy success , you have no choice but to learn to think positively as negativity can be very destructive.

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Categories: Goal Realization & Problem Solving