Creating a positive mindset isn’t about overhauling your whole life. It’s about small habits in your lifestyle that will have a big impact. Build habits for a positive mindset to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Here are 7 habits to help you develop a positive mindset:
1. Feel good mornings
Mornings often set the tone for the day. You know what it’s like when the alarm doesn’t go off and everyone is running late and a pet has an accident on the floor and you’re out of coffee and the kids are arguing…it makes the rest of your day harder.
If you struggle with executive functioning, morning routines are vital. However, instead of stressing yourself out trying to do all the things and create some image of a perfect morning, choose one habit that is important to you. What will make you feel good in the morning?
Think of building your morning routine as a process. Once you have the most important part handled, you might add in others. But you need to start with something that will put you in a positive frame of mind. Here are some suggestions:
- Morning pages – write in your journal every morning at the same time. Use a prompted journal or just reflect and write your thoughts.
- Take a walk before everyone else in the house is up and moving.
- Do yoga or Pilates or Tai Chi or just stretch.
- Sit outside (weather permitting) with your coffee or tea and enjoy nature.
- Meditate or do some visualization.
2. Get moving
We all know we should be exercising more. I’m not here to tell you to work out so you can lose weight and be healthier. But I’m also not going to deny that physical movement tends to make us feel better. Instead of thinking about a workout regimen, think about ways you like to move that you actually enjoy.
I’ve mentioned how much I despise running. However, taking my dogs for a walk in the mornings feels good (at least until they catch sight of some squirrels teasing them). I don’t view this as exercise or something I’m supposed to do. We have a big backyard for my dogs to run around in. My walks with them are about me having some time for myself before I start my day and the walk feels good because I spend most of my day sitting at a desk.
Think about movements that might be fun for you.
- Taking a hike or a walk on the beach
- Dancing (this is great if you have kids – they love to dance and they don’t criticize)
3. Practice Gratitude
One of the biggest factors in improving your mindset is showing gratitude. Expressing gratitude shows that you can appreciate things in your life even when they aren’t going well. It allows you to see the positive side of things which improves your positive mindset.
How you choose to practice gratitude is up to you.
- Have a gratitude journal – you can respond to prompts or just write down good things daily
- Keep a gratitude list in your planner
- Make a gratitude jar – every day write something down that you’re grateful for and put it in the jar. When things are bad, or at the end of the year, you can review and reflect on what you put in
- Reflect or meditate on what you are grateful for
4. Use Positive Affirmations
I’ve mentioned the power of affirmations a few times. Affirmations work because we need to tell ourselves good things, especially if we’re in the habit of tearing ourselves down. You need to retrain your brain and affirmations can help.
You need to choose affirmations that resonate with you. You also need to be patient. Saying something to yourself for a week or even a month is not enough to undo years (or a lifetime) of talking down to yourself.
Say them. Think them. Write them. Practice the affirmations multiple times a day so they can take hold.
5. Regular Brain Dumps
Even if journaling isn’t your thing (although it is a great way to process your thoughts and feelings), a regular brain dump can help prevent overwhelm. We are bombarded with constant thoughts and feelings and sometimes they make it hard to remain positive. We worry about loved ones and our jobs and the state of the world.
All of that can be overwhelming and ruin any sense of positivity you have. Writing it down helps to get it out of your system. Writing it all down will help clear your mind and allow more room for the positive thoughts that you want and need.
So, if you’re not a journaler, do it in a way that works for you. It could be a scrap of paper you scribble on and toss. It might be a Google doc that you just keep a running list in. You don’t need structure and it doesn’t even need to make sense. It’s just about giving your brain more space.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
This goes along with the affirmations I mentioned. If you habitually put yourself down or think negatively about how you look or your abilities or how others see you, it will keep you from having a positive mindset.
A positive mindset starts with how you talk to yourself. You need to treat yourself like you would your friend or your child. Think about it this way – how would you react to someone talking to your kid the way you talk to yourself? If you’re anything like me, you’d be thinking about the best ways to hide a body.
We are fiercely protective of our children and our friends, and we need to start treating ourselves that way too.
Think about the things you like about yourself. Be proud of your accomplishments.
If you have a hard time doing that, start small, and like with a gratitude journal, just write down one thing a day you love about yourself.
They will add up and make you feel good about yourself, making a positive mindset that much easier to maintain.
7. Envision a Positive, Happy Life
Visualization is simple but powerful (like affirmations). It’s also something that many people have a hard time buying into (like affirmations). Visualization works because our brains are powerful.
Choose a time during the day when you can have some quiet and be alone. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning or right before you go to sleep at night. Think about something you really want in your life, something that will make you happy. Then picture it.
No, really picture it. All the small details. What will you feel like in this scene of your new life? Feel it. Don’t think about it as something for the future. Envision it as a reality.
Then play it on repeat. Envision it often enough that you believe it. Once your brain believes it, you will feel happier and your positive mindset will be intact. Even when you hit an obstacle, that image will keep you going.
I know that being positive is hard when life is beating you down. When you can’t seem to get a handle on managing your time and you’ve been late to three appointments this week and your kids are mad at you because you forgot it was your turn to bring snacks to the soccer game…it’s easy to just believe that is your life and it will never get better.
Putting in the effort to maintain a positive mindset will have a positive impact and make things better. You don’t have to do it all. Choose one habit and start working on that. Feel the improvement and that will give you the motivation to try something else. Once you implement these habits for a positive mindset, maintaining it will be easier..