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Let’s face it, the news and social media don’t do much for your anxiety levels and mental health do they? They certainly don’t do much for mine or my personal mission to stay positive!
I get that it’s important to have information about what’s going on in the world around us, but negative information overload is not the way to go!
This recent global health issue and the fear that the daily news has imposed on us has been overwhelming.
At the onset of said health issue, I had vowed to maintain a positive mindset despite what I was hearing. However, just one evening of watching the news brought my anxiety levels up. That night I didn’t sleep very well, which affected my productivity the next day.
Just why is it so important to stay positive?
Benefits of having a positive mindset
Keeping a positive mindset and outlook on life means dealing with challenges as they arise in a less stressful and more productive manner.
It has been reported that having a positive mindset and an optimistic outlook on life may have many health benefits. Health benefits include higher immunity to minor ailments, lower rates of depression, better cardiovascular health, and increased lifespan.
Having a positive mindset could also ensure better relationships with others.
Practical Ways To Stay Positive.
Start your day with positive affirmations
Positive affirmations have been proven to not only combat stress but also boost overall health. It’s not known how reciting or journaling positive affirmations works, but it is known that something occurs neurologically to bring about positive change in response to reciting or writing the affirmations.
Positive affirmations come to pass, as well as negative, so it’s important to be careful of what we say. If you constantly say “I can’t”, the universe will seem to repel your efforts. Professing “I can” will have you doing just that!
If you are a naturally pessimistic person, don’t lose hope. Begin to affirm positivity and with time, you will have developed a more positive mindset. You will begin to see the world around you in a more positive light.
No one can completely control the future, and the past cannot be changed. All we have control over is now.
Don’t worry about future problems when they are not imminent. You don’t know for a fact that what you may be worrying about will definitely occur so it’s best to reserve your energy for when you are faced with them.
It is reported that humans cannot truly multitask, but we may be able to conduct a series of things in quick succession. For this reason, we should focus on each activity as we do them.
Focus your attention on that one thing which demands your attention. Be it screaming kids, hounding debt collectors, or whatever else.
Being present with that one activity that demands your time, will free your mind from the excess demands that can be put on it, leading to less stress and an overall positive mindset.
Gratitude and a positive mindset go hand in hand. Robert Emmons PhD, a Psychologist and leading gratitude expert, has found that gratitude positively impacts one’s mental as well as physical health.
If it helps, have a gratitude journal in which you write things for which you are grateful. Even the smallest things can be things to be grateful for. Sometimes, I’m so grateful to have some time to relax with a ‘cuppa’, and my gratitude journal hears about it!
Being grateful leads to more positive things in your life to be grateful for. You may find that your life becomes one big positivity cycle.
Gratitude makes us happier, increases self-esteem, makes us more hopeful, healthy, and optimistic. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder we may develop positive mindsets as a result.
One tool that would no doubt help you with this practice is The 6 Minute Diary, which is a gratitude journal, daily companion, and mindfulness journal all in one!
This is more than just a diary. It starts off with a 70-page introduction of concrete implementation strategies and invaluable tips on how to get the most out of your diary. The 220-page diary is based on positive psychology research and because you only need a short amount of time in which to journal, it is extremely sustainable!
Seek lessons in everything
Life is a great teacher. It may be easy to stay positive during life’s peaks, but what about during its troughs?
No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “experience is the best teacher.” I have. I remember my mum telling me this when I was a young girl. I didn’t really know the full extent of what that meant, nor did I really care to know. Boy did I have to learn the hard way!
I have found, and you may have too, that by actively seeking to learn lessons from unfavourable outcomes in my life, I am able to potentially make positive changes for future occurrences.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll never feel hysteria during challenging experiences, but once you overcome initial anxiety, you may be able to evaluate the situations and learn from them what the universe intended for you to learn.
Your best teacher is your last mistake – Ralph Nader.
Surround yourself with positive people
“Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” is quoted in one variation or another across many cultures. This is a saying that rings true, but may not be so apparent initially.
You may have heard someone with racist friends say “My friends are racist but I’m not”, and to that, I say, they may want to re-evaluate their friends and their values!
The people you associate with are a reflection of who you are. Who we choose to spend our time with is a kind of gauge of our inner being and characteristics. The absence of similarities would eventually lead to conflict and schisms.
Surrounding yourself with positive people will transform your mind into one of positivity. You may pick up positive life hacks so that you deal with challenges in a more productive and less stressful manner.
When you become more positive, more people may want to spend time with you as you may be an inspiration to them to be more positive in their own lives.
Focus on your personal development
Personal development is a broad term which encompasses activities one would undertake to make improvements in any given area of their lives. It is a way for people to evaluate their skills and qualities and set goals to realise their maximum potential.
Personal development is a lifelong process that can be embarked on at any age.
Abraham Maslow (1970) suggests that self-actualisation, one becoming everything one is capable of becoming, is the ultimate human need.
Focusing on your personal development can boost your confidence as you continue to become the best version of yourself. Additionally, you will improve your skills, which may enhance your business and professional prospects.
The more you focus on your personal development, the more you will notice the changes and improvements in your life. This, in turn, would contribute to your having a positive mindset and a positive outlook on life.
You might be so busy achieving your goals that it can be easy to forget to acknowledge your wins. However, celebrating accomplishments, no matter how small, is reported to be important for success.
The act of celebrating releases endorphins inside the body. Endorphins are neurochemicals which are natural pain relievers within the body. They reduce pain and boost pleasure.
Celebrating milestones on your journey to success reinforces the positive feeling associated with success, and will spur you to continue achieving greatness over time.
Frequently achieving success and celebrating them contributes to maintaining a positive mindset.
We’ve all heard drinking water is good for our physical health but have you heard that it helps our mood as well?
Our brains are 80% water and our bodies 50 – 75%, so it’s no wonder that not drinking enough water can adversely affect our mental health and emotions.
Drinking water rids our bodies of toxins and helps to keep our minds focused on tasks and more alert throughout the day.
The body’s response to stress is to increase cortisol, which is the body’s chemical response to stress and fear.
Cortisol also does a number of things in the body such as keeps inflammation down, increases blood glucose, regulates blood pressure, and controls your body’s sleep and wake cycle.
Too much cortisol, however, can negatively impact the body, and cause anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances such as insomnia, and has been linked to diabetes.
The good news is that keeping hydrated can reduce the amount of cortisol in the brain. This, in turn, can contribute to a reduction in a low mood, and an increase in positivity.
Just how much is enough water? There are numerous suggestions of how much water is enough, however, the Eatwell Guide suggests drinking between 6 – 8 glasses of water (and / other non-sugary fluids).
This is a guide, and those with underlying health conditions or fluid restriction should consult their Doctor for definite amounts.
Eat a nutritious diet
Food is the body’s fuel, so it stands to reason that eating a nutritious diet, on the whole, will fuel our cells with essential nutrients and vitamins.
When we eat clean, healthy foods, we detoxify our organs, including our brains, which often means we can think more clearly.
Here’s an example of how diet can affect one’s mindset: A diet high in sugar and fat can lead to diabetes. Diabetes is excess glucose in the blood and is caused when the body does not produce enough or any insulin – a hormone made in the pancreas.
Insulin is required because it enables glucose to go from the blood into the body’s cells to be used for energy.
Excess glucose in the blood can lead to mood swings and irritability, as well as low energy and fatigue, which may compound negative feelings.
See also this post on foods which may help your mental health and wellbeing.
Get adequate sleep
There is a type of cyclical relationship between sleep and having a positive mindset. Being optimistic and having a generally positive outlook on life can contribute to better sleep. Similarly, getting enough sleep is essential to maintain a positive mindset.
Having inadequate sleep, including the amount of sleep and actual sleep patterns, can lead to irritability and low concentration, tiredness, and poor physical health. It can even lead to lower life span.
The Sleep Council suggests that adults require between 7 – 9 hours of sleep every night. Of course, everyone is unique and the optimum amount of sleep would differ from person to person.
To help you get a good night’s rest, try to observe the following:
- Exercise daily
- Limit daytime naps
- Sleep in a dark room
- Sleep and wake at the same time every day where possible
- Limit the amount of caffeine drunk, especially before bedtime.
One study found that caffeine drunk as early as six hours before sleeping can reduce sleep by more than one hour.
Limit the time you spend watching the news
It has been known for some time that emotional films, video games and media in general, can adversely affect people.
Unfortunately, the news seems to be filled with a lot of negative goings-on. One study found that excess consumption of traumatic news contributes to high anxiety levels in viewers.
A professor of journalism studies, Bob Franklin wrote some years ago about the increased sensationalism in what should be unbiased news reporting. Media outlets seem to be vying for views. Unfortunately, this is often done by broadcasting emotional material such as war, crime, or famine.
Johnston and Davey (1997) investigated the effect of positive, negative, and neutral news on the minds of viewers and found that those who viewed negative news reported higher anxiety levels. They also found that those in that category catastrophised their worries more than those who viewed neutral and positive news.
It is important to be aware of what is happening in the world around us, but there has to be some balance. Positive things occur too, so we should view and celebrate these accomplishments.
Having a positive mindset can help you to navigate through life less stressed.
I challenge you to pick three tips from the list and implement them for a week. Let me know in the comments section which three you chose and how you got on with doing them.
What other tips do you have on maintaining a positive mindset?
- Strategies to Find Inner Peace – Part One
- Strategies to Find Inner Peace – Part Two
- 7 Simple Self-Care Sunday Suggestions
- 40 Positive Affirmations For Self-Empowerment
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