Ever wondered why some people can take challenges in their stride? They go through a terrible situation and manage to walk away with a smile, attributing it as a positive contribution to their lives.

Maybe you have noticed how two people went through the exact same experience, but they see the experience completely differently; one person will tell you that it was the worst time of their life, while the other claim that it was the most wonderful learning experience. How is it possible for some to view certain experiences optimistically, while others experience life from a pessimistic view?

Positive thinking is about turning lemons (bad experiences), into lemonade (good experiences)

The power of positive thinking is something that can completely transform your life, and we’re excited to say that it’s freely available and something that you can learn. Through life alchemy, the people who have a positive mindset manage to turn any event around. They recognise that you cannot control life, but having a positive attitude is completely within your grasp and will help you craft the life you want instead of being a victim of circumstances.

This might sound very idealistic, but we can assure you it’s completely possible. If you are worrying and experience negative thoughts, then we just want to say stop, breathe and realise that this is all part of being human.

Even those happy people sometimes feel a bit depressed and unsure about their personal circumstances and life. An optimistic person also had to overcome their own pessimism, negative self-talk or self-esteem challenges. This is also possible for you and with this article we want to help you as you continue your journey towards unlocking the power of positive thinking in your life.

Positive Ideas
Unlocking positive thinking will also open up a brand new world of ideas and creativity - Image Aphiwat Chuangchoem on Pexels

Positive Thinking Requires Soul-Searching

Any person can greatly benefit from a positive attitude to life. A positive attitude will automatically make them feel more grounded, supported and safe in most of their life experiences.

Unfortunately, most of us experienced traumatic events in our lives which could’ve been the cause of some ‘false’ mental and emotional roots. As we grow into adults, we continue to build on these ‘lies’ as they continue to form cognitive patterns, emotional crutches and belief systems.

If you have a negative outlook on life, it is most probably grounded in negative past experiences and their consequent belief systems.

A lot of people want to have a positive outlook on life. This, however, remains a pipedream for most because people aren’t willing to invest effort, time and the sometimes painful, soul-searching required to unearth and face these demons.

If you have a sceptical view on life, experience constant negative thoughts and experience live overall as negative, it’s completely possible to change this towards an optimistic, positive outlook. Luckily for most of us positive thinking is a skill that can be trained and developed.

Who doesn’t want to be happy and fulfilled? Are you willing to what it takes?

Thinking positive
Positive thoughts can only become a reality if you are honest with yourself and face the deep-seated issues that keeps you from it - Image by Karim Manjra on Unsplash

The Science Behind Thinking Positively

Do you think it’s possible to think yourself happy or towards contentment? Well, it actually is and has been proven by science. Neuroscience confirmed through several studies that mindful practices, including affirmations and positive self-talk, can rewire the brain’s pathways to focus more on the positive.

Positive thinking can actually change the physical structure of your brain that you have more positive thoughts.

Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to reform and reshape its physical shape and thinking patterns. As thoughts or ideas travel via certain synapses from one neuron to the next, they create pathways in your brain, very similar to a physical highway for thoughts. The more thoughts you have of that specific type, the stronger, thicker and more engraved this pathway of thinking becomes.

Neuroplasticity allows us to actively and mindfully reverse negativity as our thoughts start to influence and redesign the brain’s physical structure to create stronger positive thought networks. The negative thought patterns start to grow weaker the less we use them and eventually insignificant.

Change negative thoughts
You can change from being a negative Nancy to becoming a positive Patty - Image by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

How to Develop Positive Thinking?

The secrets around how our brains work and how we can fully optimise them are still being discovered daily. One thing has been proven for certain; changing your thoughts and making a continuous effort to actively rewire your brain towards positive patterns will become easier with practice. If you can apply some of these principles in your life, you will certainly start your journey towards a happier, more mindful and joyful daily existence.

Developing Self-awareness and Mindfulness

Most people don’t realise that one of the most important, elusive and interesting relationships we have in life is the one with ourselves. Do you like yourself or are you constantly breaking yourself down? What happens in your thoughts when you make a mistake or do something wrong?

Negative self-talk and thought patterns during stressful situations are usually a good indication of how you relate to, deal with and manage yourself. A lot of people do not think they are worthy of real joy and happiness and this can be a massive stumbling block if you plan to orientate yourself more towards a positive lifestyle.

Make an Active Choice and Stay Focused

The key to changing bad behaviours, like your negative thinking, is having a solid reason why you want to think positively. A strong enough motivation will keep you going and will help you to remain positive as you tackle deeply engrained negative patterns and behaviours.

The biggest and most impactful realisation for most people around behavioural changes is seeing that whatever they are currently choosing, is not serving them anymore. This simply means that the ‘thing’ they do, or a current habit, produces unfavourable results.

People who want to be more positive got to the stage in their life where they actively choose to rewire and reframe old behaviour and patterns towards a different and more ‘positive ‘outcome. You have to be 100% committed because you will fail several times and require the courage and internal motivation to keep going.

Trapped by thoughts
Experiencing enough pain and disappointment from thoughts that trap us are usually our reason for wanting to change them - Image by Jacob Prose on Pexels

Seeing the Glass Half-full

The trick in reframing your thinking is to develop the ability to catch negative thoughts before they continue to drag you into a negative downwards spiral. The moment you realise you’re having those negative thoughts you have to immediately replace them with a positive one. Instead of saying to yourself to ‘not smoke’ you can replace that thought with ‘I choose health and vitality’. This way you are actively buying into the benefit of the new behaviour instead of feeling you are being punished for negative behaviours.

Another way to cultivate positiveness is to seek the positive side to each and every experience in your day. So, instead of focussing on the fact that you were stranded on the side of the road with a flat tyre, you turn your focus to thoughts like how amazing it was for someone to offer their help and how friendly people are in your town.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

To develop a sense of gratitude has been proven to attract even more positive energy and blessings. We still need to discover the potential magical science behind the law of attraction, but we know gratitude gives us a much needed shift in our focus towards the positive.

If you find that this is something that you struggle with, we recommend you do a gratitude journal. Set aside 5 minutes before you go to bed each night and write down 5 things that you are grateful for. Every single one of us have 100s of things we can be appreciate; our health, a roof over our head and food to eat, and even thought these might seem like basic needs a lot of people are not as fortunate as us to have them.

Even the most basic thoughts around gratitude will help to train your brain to be more positive.

You can also download a gratitude app or subscribe to some amazing online resources to help you develop gratitude. Some mindfulness programs develop great gratitude meditation programs that will assist you in exploring and developing it in your daily life.

Developing gratitude
Gratitude will chnage the way you view and experience the world - Image by Womid Armin on Unsplash

Extend a Helping Hand – You’ll Help Yourself

Doing something nice for a friend, family member or even a stranger will not only improve their life, it will also positively impact you and make the world a happier place. Generally, people feel the desire to do good once they’ve experienced the positive impact of a good deed in their life.

Doing good thus has a domino effect where your good deed influences people to more good deeds, resulting in a pay-it-forward multiplicity that will ultimately make the world greater for all of us.

There have also been studies that has proven how doing a good deed impacts the givers’ overall wellness, health and happiness. Not only does it give them a sense of purpose and meaning, they feel more connected to society and their fulfilment lasts longer than it would if they got a materialistic reward.

Choose Positive Company

There’s a universal law in life, like attracts like. Hanging out with positive people or reading positive blogs means you become more prone towards positive phrases, words and a positive way of thinking. You will learn how they think, how they manage challenges and discover ways to create a positive frame of mind regardless of circumstances. You can start today by evaluating those people in your life you spend a lot of time with and choosing to seek out the ones that can influence you positively.

Find a Mentor

This is very similar to being influenced by positive people, the only difference is you choose someone who is an expert in the field of psychology, personal development or life coaching. A mentor will guide you as you evaluate your personal beliefs and align your thoughts and behaviour towards your new life goals and objectives. They are incredibly useful in identifying negative patterns, putting personal development plans together and identifying opportunities for growth. Superprof has a range of experienced personal development specialists in your area that can help you with developing a positive mind-frame and outlook.

A mentor or life-coach with life-experience can help you identify where and how you can change your thinking - Image by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

The brain and life have an amazing way of supporting you once you make the decision to live life on the bright side. To develop the skill to reframe your thinking from negative to positive will be useful throughout your entire life. It will be challenging at times, but your practice to develop positive mental patterns will become better with time.

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Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.