“Look on the bright side.”
“It could be worse!”
“You should count your blessings!”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever rolled your eyes to well-meaning ‘advice’ like that.
Sure, staying positive when life gives you lemons sounds like a great idea, but does it really help?
My answer may prompt another eye-roll: it depends.
On one hand, it’s important not to invalidate emotions like sadness, anger, or anxiety. These seemingly negative emotions play an important role in how we learn, process events, and navigate the world around us.
There’s no such thing as “bad” or “good” emotions - all emotions communicate important messages to us, even if they’re difficult to endure. They have their purpose.
On the other hand, emotions can be unhelpful and destructive, if left unchecked. We hear the term “toxic positivity” bandied about online, but rarely do we hear about its uglier sister - toxic negativity.
“My success is a fluke.”
“I’ll never be as good as her.”
“Why is it always me?”
Cultivating a negative mindset is dangerous. Negative thinking creates false narratives that stop us from dreaming, believing, and doing everything we’re capable of. And if you’ve ever been in the company of someone with an unfounded victim mentality, you’ll know how draining and hopeless this negative talk can feel.
Thankfully, there is evidence that you can combat a defeatist mindset and use positive thinking to develop a more healthy, balanced approach to life.
Ponderlily's 5 Positive Mindset Hacks:
1. Being Positive Doesn’t Work in Every Situation
Positive thinking isn’t about being upbeat about absolutely everything. If your laptop crashed in the middle of a report, or you reversed your car into a wall, you’d be counting your expletives, not your blessings.
It's inevitable that in life, some things will not go to plan - and that’s okay! Feel what you have to feel - remember what we said about emotions having a purpose.
2. Positive Thinking Helps Us Handle Difficult Situations
Positive thinking means believing that everything will work out in the end, even if the current situation is far from ideal.
Someone with a defeatist mindset would view adversity as indisputable proof that they’re unlucky or incapable. Someone with a positive mindset would understand that the negative situation is temporary.
Rather than dwell on how unfair the difficult event is, take charge of the situation and focus on solving the problem at hand.
3. Thoughts Are Not Facts
Every thought we have causes a feeling. The more we think certain thoughts, the more they become our internal reality - but we have the power to define what these thoughts and feelings are.
Be thoughtful and pay attention to how you talk to yourself, and make sure you’re not using judgemental or critical language.
For example, rather than asking yourself “why am I so bad at XYZ”, instead ask “how can I learn more about this?” - talking to ourselves in a more positive voice works like magic.
4. Practise Gratitude
It’s all too easy to focus on where there’s room for improvement - we’re our own harshest critics, and dwelling on the negatives is a natural human tendency. This is why it’s so important to remind ourselves of our strengths, achievements, and what we’re grateful for.
Gratitude journalling is a game-changer - the Ponderlily Undated Weekly Planner has a dedicated section for intentions and gratitude, so you can make practising gratitude a habitual part of your routine.
Alternatively, creating a positive habit to routinely jot down three things you are grateful for everyday in any notebook can work wonders for your positivity.
5. Set Goals For Fun
Goals don’t have to be a chore or a necessity. Sometimes, the most worthwhile personal development happens when we decide to pursue goals that light us up from the inside.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do? It can be as frivolous and fun as you like.
Doing and achieving things, no matter how seemingly small and unimportant, makes us feel accomplished and positive. This is why so many successful entrepreneurs talk about the importance of making your bed in the morning - don’t underestimate the power of that small sense of pride before you’ve had your morning coffee!
What are your favourite positive mindset tips? Let’s chat about them on Instagram!