No matter who you are or what your life is like, there are probably going to be times when it feels like everything is going wrong.
Maybe you lose your job or your romantic partner leaves you…
Or you injure yourself, a family member falls ill, someone breaks into your car or your new boss turns out to be a total jerk.
And when you turn on the TV to escape from it all, the news is full of horrible and disturbing stories about a world in seemingly never-ending crisis!
But it’s important to remember that you have the power to change your experience at any moment. And that’s because it’s your thoughts that create your own reality.
And I mean that very literally…
The things you choose to focus on determines how you perceive the world – AND the experiences you have as a result.
If you focus only on the negative things in your world, the world can seem like a terrible place.
But when you focus on the positive things in your world, you see that the world is actually full of love and kindness and beauty and inspiring people doing incredible things.
Here are 5 powerful tips on how to retrain your brain for positivity, so you can maintain an optimistic, inspired, motivated outlook – no matter what is happening in your life or the world around you.
1. Be Aware of Your Thoughts
Take the time to pay attention to what you spend most of your time imagining and thinking about.
Start paying more attention to the things you tell yourself – and always remember that you have the power to change them.
This is called mindfulness. A technique I teach my students is to set the alarm on your cell phone to go off every 20 minutes. As soon as you hear it, take a moment to reflect on what thoughts you were thinking.
Were they positive or negative?
Were they fear-based or optimistic?
Were they judgmental or unconditionally loving and accepting of what you were perceiving and experiencing?
2. Reframe Negative Thoughts
Whenever you find yourself thinking something like, “People are horrible,” or “I’m so stupid and careless,” or “There’s no point in trying because I’ll probably fail” – catch yourself and take the time to transform that thought into a positive one.
For example, tell yourself: “Most people are actually pretty awesome,” or “I’m actually really clever and do great work when I apply myself,” or “Of course, I should try! It’s the only way I’ll ever succeed — and even if I fail, at least I will have learned something, and I can try again with this new information.”
3. Visualize Positive Outcomes
Another good idea is to spend more time visualizing positive outcomes.
No matter what you’re about to do – go to a party, take on a new challenge at work, enter into a new relationship, make a new sales call, or move to a new town – clearly visualize the outcome you want to experience.
Imagine what that positive outcome will look like and feel like. The more clearly you can see it in your mind, the easier you’ll find it to make that vision a reality.
Making a vision board is an empowering way to represent your goals and dreams and clearly picture your positive outcome.
4. Develop a Daily Gratitude Practice
I also strongly encourage you to develop a daily gratitude practice.
Spend some time every day to think about everything that is good in your life. The friends and family you have in your life.
Your home, your job, your pet, clean water, electricity, the beauty of the natural world around you. The fact that you have clothes to wear and good food to eat.
When you take the time to acknowledge everything that’s good in your life, you will realize that your life is FULL of wonderful things to be thankful for.
Make it a daily practice for a few minutes every day.
A daily gratitude practice—either writing in a journal or just speaking it out loud—will make it so much easier for you to maintain a positive mindset.
You may even want to deepen your practice by incorporating meditation to help clear your mind of negative thoughts.
5. Reduce Your News Consumption
I see so many people constantly checking their phones to catch the latest updates. But how does that really help you?
First, most news is generally negative–news about storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes, accidents, robberies, murders, mass shootings, wars, political corruption, jobs lost, congressional gridlock, and so on.
Almost all of which you can’t do anything about, except get upset. Knowing how to be optimistic about the future will go miles for boosting your positivity.
Furthermore, so much of what is called “news” these days is mere conjecture and opinion pieces written to provoke fear and outrage. All it does is make us feel angry and helpless.
You’d be doing yourself a huge favor if you took all the time and energy you normally spend on reading or watching the news and devote it to your own self-improvement and achievement of your goals instead.
Now, I’m not saying never read the news – it’s good to be aware of current events!
But if you only tune in once a week to spend an hour or so catching up on the latest stories, I guarantee you won’t miss out on anything important.
And you will be able to focus so much of your time and energy on what really matters in your life.
Which tip do you plan to first incorporate when retraining your brain for positivity?