I invite you to take a moment. Close your eyes, and picture a cup sitting in front of you filled to the halfway mark. How do you see it? Be honest with yourself….Do you have a tendency towards the glass half empty or the glass half full feeling?
Positivity, like many things in life, is a habit. Negativity is habit as well. Regardless of what kind of influences we had growing up, or what kind of circumstances we've faced in our lives, positivity and negativity are still habits.
Habits are things we have control over. They can sometimes take a lot of effort to change, but they are totally changeable if we have the desire to do so.
There’s a quote by Charles Swindle that I remind myself of often:
“We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
The ability to hold a ‘glass half full’ attitude can change how everything feels in life. It can take a multitude of shitty situations feel like opportunities for growth, and blessings in disguise. Research has clearly shown that a negative outlook on life can contribute to everything from depression to heart disease to lowered immune system function. It can affect sleep, weight maintenance, the quality of your relationships, your social life, and even your ability to hold a job.
I could write a book about this subject here, but my intention in writing this today is simply 2 things.
First, I’d like you to take a good look at yourself and really ask yourself how you are doing in this area? On a scale of 1-10, how positive would you say you are? Where do you struggle with keeping your attitude positive?
Secondly, I want to offer some practices that you can incorporate into your life, to create a habit of positivity. Even if you do feel like you are someone who is mostly on the positive side, how can you bring that to a 10? Life is a continual learning process, and I’m all about continual positive personal growth.
So, how can we foster more positivity in our lives? Here are some suggestions, and things to ponder:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Every evening list at least 5 things that you were grateful for in your day. Gratitude creates happiness & positivity.
- Practice giving compliments! Give them away freely. Purposely look for the good in others. Praise the people you interact with. Give strangers compliments! Be sure these are genuine compliments, but give them away freely! Make a point to do so several times daily.
- Share good news. Have something good going on? Tell people about it! Studies show that sharing happy events bring more happiness! On the flip side of that, ask the people in your life what's good with them? We can all have a tendency towards wanting to share the things we are struggling with. Practice focusing more on the positives in your conversations.
- Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. This includes the conversations and the daydreams you have all day!
- Purposefully spend more time around others that have glass half full attitudes, and restrict your time with those that have a glass half empty attitude. Just as you are what you eat, to a certain degree, you are who you spend time with as well!
- Practice correcting negative thoughts. Try to commit to this for a day or a week to start, and build on it. Whenever you find yourself thinking a negative thought, try to flip it around. Find the blessing in disguise, or the lesson in the struggle, or something positive surrounding whatever you are feeling negative about. Perhaps something awful happened in your day. Maybe losing your job creates the space for you to explore a career you’ve been to afraid to make the leap towards? There is a positive side to everything. Find it. Flip it.
maintaining a positive attitude takes practice. Like anything else that takes practice, the more you do it, the more easy it becomes. Positivity becoming second nature for you, creates a life that is healthier and happier. So yes, it’s absolutely worth the effort!