Have you ever experienced the incredibly contagious effect of a motivational person? You walk away energised and inspired, but within a couple of hours of you find yourself back in your old negative ways of thinking…

For those brief moments you experienced how being positive can affected your outlook on life and your emotional wellbeing and you were wondering how you could harness the power of positive thinking?

You can only change something once you know it’s wrong and realising that your thinking might be a stumbling block in your life is a fantastic discovery. One that will not only help you to move towards becoming a happier person, but also one that will energise your personal development.

Science has also proven that the consequent happiness you’ll get from positivity will impact your overall health. You’ll have a healthier mind and happier body as you start to value yourself more and understand how positivity influences your entire being.

Discoveries around the plasticity of the brain also proved that we can physically change our brains to think more positive. As adults we can create new neurons (brain cells) and neuropathways to not only alter our thoughts, but the cognitive patterns of our thinking. This is quite an encouraging thought for those of us who want to change our default negative thinking.

Let’s find out how seeing the bright side of things can give your life an upgrade, what characteristics positive people enjoy and how you can start to craft your mind towards happiness.

Brain Health
Discoveries around the brain's plasticity confirmed that those who have lost the function of limbs due to partial brain damage, can develop new brain cells during the rehabilitation process and possibly regain the usage of those limbs - Image by Anna Shvets on Pexels

How Positive Thinking Can Help You?

Negative thinking and constantly breaking yourself down can only have a negative impact on your life. If you become someone with a positive outlook on life you will start to achieve more life goals, experience life better and even manage to inspire other people.

Most successful people in life have learnt to see the glass half full instead of half empty.  They realised that the most important aspect of life is making it a fun and good ride for yourself and to do so takes a bit of work, constant self-assessment and a good dose of positive thinking.

Positive thinking and happiness go hand-in-hand.

There’s not a single person in the world who doesn’t want to be happy.

Happiness is a frame of mind, unless there are chemical imbalances in the brain it is something that we can learn and to cultivate positive thinking is a core ingredient in making happiness a part of your daily life.

Feel free
The only way to free yourself from negative thinking is by actively replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, each and every single time they pop up - Image by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

To get there you will have to learn to replace negative thoughts with positive thinking. Making the decision that you want to be happy, will thus takes some practice and the development of mental strength to replace all the pessimism with positivity. The benefit to you? This will ultimately have a positive influence in how you perceive and experience life.

Addressing negative self-talk will also positively impact your self-esteem and confidence. Your entire life is spent with yourself and your biggest investment you can make is to develop a healthy, loving self-relationship. This is no easy task for most people, and you can start by exploring things in you that’s unique to you or list the aspects that you love about yourself.

To learn how to think positively will also give you the gift of motivation. It will be easier for a positive thinker to motivate themselves as they push through hardships because they believe in their capabilities. They turn challenges into opportunities and instead of giving up they become their own biggest inspiration.

Negative thoughts
If you struggle to get up in the mornings, battle with anxiety or suspect you are depressed we recommend you speak to someone you trust and seek out the help of a professional - Image by Keem Ibarra Unsplash

Focus on What You Can Control

Introspection, the ability to look at yourself and evaluate your life, is a fundamental requirement if you want to grow and become better at this thing called life.

A lot of our negative thinking patterns come from trauma or negative experiences established in our development years. They develop into thinking patterns and these can luckily be changed, as proven by science, if we make the effort to rewire those patterned thinking in our brains.

People with a positive mindset and optimistic approach to life have the exceptional capability to evaluate events objectively (from the outside) and make decisions after establishing what is truth, what is perception, and how they should move forward, if action is required at all.

In 1954, Julian B. Rotter developed a term in psychology called the locus of control. This is the means by which a person believes they, or external events, control what happens in their lives.

Those people who believe they influence the outcomes in their lives by their own actions and decisions are said to have an internal locus of control while those who have an external locus of control believe their successes and failures are because they are victims of external events.

An internal locus of control means you recognise how your thoughts, decisions and actions impacts your life.

Mentally strong people can ‘remove’ their identity from external situations and one of the most important qualities that happy people have is the ability to apply acceptance in their lives. We cannot change the past or control all events and to accept this and to let go is an important part of becoming positive about your circumstances.

Taking control of your thoughts, actions, decisions and attitude, however, remains your responsibility. Write this list down and remind yourself to let go of that which you cannot change, but to take accountability and be honest about that which you can.

Things you can control:

  • Your words
  • Your opinion and attitude
  • Your actions and ethics
  • How you look after yourself and create well-being
  • How you manage your thoughts
  • Who and what you spend time with (positive people, positive media etc.)
  • How you deal with your issues and develop yourself

Things you cannot control:

  • Other people’s feelings
  • Other people’s words
  • Other people’s behaviour
  • World events and tragedies


Who's fault is it
Placing the blame can be an easy escape route for not taking responsibility. Who would you say is at fault in this situation? - Image by Markus Spiske on Pexels

The Traits / Symptomatic Behaviours of a Positive Thinker

Those people who manage to develop the skills around positive thinking also have certain personal characteristics they gain while they harness the skill of thinking positively.

Integrity and Honesty

If you want to become a better person you’ll have to be honest about your flaws, your weaknesses and steer clear from justifying wrong decisions and actions. Are your perceptions a true reflection of reality? Sometimes people can convince and brainwash themselves to justify their actions. To live in truth and honesty, requires a long and hard look at your belief systems and decisions.

Self-Awareness & Mindfulness

Someone who seeks positive thinking will also require good, general self-awareness and a mindful approach to life. This means they constantly question and review their lives and actively participate in life by constantly asking, changing and growing. An optimist has learnt that if you are led by negative emotions you will become easily distracted, drained and probably demotivated. They know what they work towards and use emotions as guidance, not as a master to drive their decisions.

Remember to stay positive about yourself in the process. This means showing yourself compassion, kindness, forgiveness and comprehension as you learn what it means to take responsibility for developing an optimistic mindset.


No positive person will remain positive if they did not develop a level of resilience. Famous people like Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson or Morgan Freeman will all tell you that it’s important not to hold onto negative experiences and disappointments. The quicker you can bounce back and take on a positive outlook with revived energy, the closer you are to succeeding. Developing a resilience against disappointments is a fundamental leadership quality as well.

A Sense of Gratitude

Gratitude is a quality that will certainly be present in most positive thinkers' lives. Just like positive thinking, gratitude is infectious. The more you appreciate what you have in life, the more your focus shift towards those things, you actually change the way in which you view life and you'll attract and receive more blessings. You can practice gratitude daily by creating a gratitude journal or focussing on the things that you can be grateful for with each passing minute.

Constantly Finding Balance

Developing and creating balance in your life is integral to creating a happy, positive mindset. There’s no point in being obsessed with growth to such measures that you are constantly giving yourself a hard time. You need to get the balance between fixing things and accepting things, just like everything else in life.

Balance is also needed to create a healthy and better human.  You need to balance how you look after your mind, body and spirit.

Positive self-image
You are enough! Once you learn to accept and love yourself with all your flaws and beauty, the road to happiness is a much easier one - Image by Anna Shvets on Pexels

Getting Off to a Good Start

Humans are complex, intricate, layered and beautiful beings. Our thoughts do not operate in isolation and even though we can learn how to think positive, we also need to ensure we live the life we want that’s rewarding, fulfilling and with meaning.

With the help of a professional life-coach or personal development tutor you’ll be able to delve deeper into the questioning of your goals, beliefs, weaknesses and motivations.

In the meantime, here are a couple of tools and habits to get you started today:

  1. Journaling – Having a journal will allow you to reflect and contextualise your thinking. Not only will you get rid of what is spinning in your head, you’ll also be able write down your views on personal setbacks and develop objectivity towards obstacles. Journaling will also help you to establish pessimistic patterns and you’ll notice how they hold you back from thinking positive.
  2. Self-help books and positive articles – There are millions of positive reading titles out there that can help you. Stephen Covey wrote several books about the 7 habits of highly effective people, Victor Frankl wrote about The Meaning of Life and The Power of Now (Eckart Tolle) are some great all-time best sellers. There are also some excellent blogs and articles you can read that were written to help people develop an optimistic attitude.
  3. Apps – Happify is only one of the apps out there that can help you cultivate positivity. There are plenty of other apps that provide positive affirmations and daily meditations on your path to a healthier happier you.
  4. Inspirational movies abound - Into the Wild, It’s a wonderful life and Rocky are some exciting titles, but there are plenty of self-help films also available nowadays.
  5. Daily practice – Create a daily practice that compliments how you stay positive and establish positive patterns. Ensure you meditate and do research around visualisation, the law of attraction and living in the present moment.

Congratulations on choosing the best thing you can for yourself, a life of positivity and inspiration. Start to spread positivity and change today by renewing your thoughts and you’ll not only have a happier, more fruitful life, but you’ll also impact and inspire those around you.

If you need help we have a selection of personal development and life coaches who can help you with your goal of being positive in life. They will also work with you on your personal goals, your challenges and how you can put together a personal development plan.

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