Imagine how much better your life would be if you could take control of your life and create a powerful mindset for yourself.
How much more could you accomplish if you knew how to form thoughts that work for rather than against you?
The good news is that there are four ways to accomplish exactly that.
These four shifts in thinking help us to become more optimistic. They empower us and create within us the powerful mindsets we need to achieve.
Let’s look at each of these thoughts together and break down each idea into action items so that we can do something about becoming who we want to become.
1. Look on the Bright Side of the Situation
“Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see a shadow” – Helen Keller.
Thought: It’s natural to see the negative. We tend to lean towards what’s wrong rather than what’s right. The reason for this, however, is a habit. The good news is that habits can change. We can train ourselves to see the good instead of the bad. And what’s beneficial about this is that while we may be able to see multiple things simultaneously, we can only focus on one. When you train yourself to focus on the good, the bad gets blurry.
Action Step: Take 5 minutes to think about the most stressful situation you are currently dealing with in your life. You will notice that you’ve been focusing on the negative. Take a moment and think of at least one good thing that can result from the situation. Will you grow from it? Will you be stronger? Better? Now, spend a few moments thinking about that. Focus your attention on the positive. Concentrate on what’s good. Chances are, the stress you’ve been associating with this problem will dissipate as your focus begins to shift from what is wrong to what is right.
2. Focus on the Future and Forget About the Past
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson.
Thought: When we get hung up on what we should have done or what we shouldn’t have said, we tie ourselves to a moment that no longer exists. It’s gone. It happened. The key is to learn from it, not to waddle in it. The best way to move past the past is to look ahead to what’s next. Again, we can see many things at a time, but we can only focus on one. When we redirect our attention to what we can do tomorrow rather than what we should have done yesterday, we begin to see possibilities instead of mistakes.
Action Step: Let’s do an exercise together. Ready? Think of 3 things – things that you cannot do right now but that you can do within the next seven days. In other words, all three things must be things to look forward to. Now, write them down on a small note and stick them on your desk. Whenever your mind starts to wander to yesterday, quickly look at the note and redirect your focus towards tomorrow. When you keep your eyes looking ahead, it’s impossible to get frustrated over what we would otherwise see in the rearview mirror.
3. Use Time Wisely
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” – Les Brown.
Thought: Now, this point may take some convincing. What does time management have to do with being positive? Aren’t they two different things? Not exactly. You see, what you do with your time affects the way you see and value yourself. And your self-image directly links to your positive (or negative) perspective on life. Think about it. What is something you’ve done that you are most proud of having accomplished? Now, what is something you are frustrated with yourself for doing? Both incidents correlate to the use of your time. In the first example, you chose to use your time to do something that gave you a positive view of yourself. And in the second example, the opposite is just as valid. What we do with our time directly correlates with how positive (or negative) we see things in life.
Action Step: Open up your calendar and do something about it today. Add an activity that will make you feel good about yourself. Anything. It doesn’t have to be a significant accomplishment like win the Olympics by Friday. It just has to be important to you. The key is to put it on a calendar, not a to-do list. We aren’t trying to add more tasks to become even more overwhelmed. Instead, we are trying to make proactive use of our time by planning to do something that will elevate our self-image. And the key to associating this activity with time is to put it on our calendar.
4. Practice Gratitude
“Let us arise and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful.” – Buddha.
Thought: We sometimes feel as though we’ve got it bad. And yes, we do go through hard times. But no matter how bad things get, there is always someone struggling much worse than us. It’s easy to take life for granted, but the key to being content with what we have is to be grateful for what we have.
Action Step: This exercise will be life-changing. Make a list of things you are grateful for that you haven’t thought about before. Write at least ten but know that putting 100 items on the list is not far-fetched or even remotely impossible, so write as many as you can. Think about the things you usually wouldn’t think about – the things we usually don’t appreciate unless we lose, such as our health. Even the jobs we complain about are worth considering since the only option to having our job is not having it. Be creative and thoughtful. Then, read your list often. Take a few moments just to be grateful. Doing this exercise will change your perspective about many things. And the things that currently frustrate you may quickly turn into a source of joy.
It is often easier to talk about being positive than it is to be positive. But the action steps embedded in these four ideas will help us to make that change. When we look on the bright side, focus on the future, use our time wisely, and practice gratitude, we will become more positive individuals. This, in turn, will have a huge impact on our lives. It will enable us to enjoy them and to live them out to the fullest.
Now you might be thinking ‘wow these sound really easy” and that’s because they are! We often forget how simple the solutions can be because we overcomplicate things, but I can assure you, that shifting your way of thinking to these can make a big impact. Get ready to empower your mind!
In health and wellness,
Nadia La Russa