Are you a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full kind of person?
Are you sure?
I used to think that I was the glass-half-full type. I saw possibilities everywhere. I could see a future filled with satisfying work, a strong, energetic body, and a close-knit, happy family. I knew these things were possible for me.
But as the years went by, my goals were always on the distant horizon, elusive and out of reach.
Frustrated, I started working with a coach. As she helped me become more self-aware, I started examining my thoughts – that every-day-back-of-the-mind-monologue that we don’t even notice most of the time.
I was shocked at what I found. I was not positive. The glass was not half-empty, it was bone dry.
Although I had these lofty goals, I saw roadblocks everywhere. Here are some sound bites from my thoughts that year:
- ”I can’t quit a good paying job in a recession! (Even though the stress is making my hair fall out.) People are losing their jobs by the hundreds each day. That would be irresponsible!”
- “It’s too hard to eat right on the road. The only place to eat in the rural corners of Colorado and Nebraska are the local mom and pop fry or burger joint with card tables and plastic cutlery.”
- “I am a terrible wife and mother. I am so tired and stressed out that I can’t even give my husband and son the attention they deserve.”
This kind of diatribe was relentless. It was debilitating, and it kept me stuck.
Research has found that a negative outlook can contribute to everything from depression to heart disease to lowered immune system function. It can affect sleep, weight maintenance, the quality of your relationships, your social life, and even your ability to hold a job.
I was experiencing the truth of this every day.
Once I became aware of my negativity, I started taking steps to focus on what was good and possible (right then and there) in my life. I used my powerful brain to find the route around or over perceived obstacles. And I took action on my new, powerfully positive thoughts.
If you have found yourself in a similar pattern of negative thinking, you can take steps right now to approach life from a place of positivity, fun, connection, health, and possibility.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
6 Simple Strategies to Become Positive
To help wipe out negativity, try one or more of the following action steps:
- Go complaint-free. Try going an hour without complaining and see the positive things in your life. Next, try a day, a week, and so on.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each evening, list 10 or more things that you are grateful for. Some days it may feel hard to find 10 things. Write as many as you can think of, then find one more new thing to be grateful for.
- Give compliments freely. Notice the good in others. Praise every person you interact with. This will do wonders for your family life if you have a high stress job.
- Find beauty everywhere in your world. Notice its gorgeousness. Even if it’s for only a few minutes, stop and really look at something – a flower, your child, the bark of a tree – and see the intricate beauty.
- Share your good news. Studies show that sharing happy events brings even more happiness. When someone asks how you are doing, resist the urge to unload on them all that is going wrong. Instead, challenge yourself to find one good thing to share, then ask them how they are doing.
- Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. What you focus on grows. So focus on how to accomplish what you want in your life – one small step at a time. Ask yourself – what is ONE thing I can do today to feel more in control of my life, to feel more in touch with my family, or to build a healthy, strong body.
Maintaining a positive outlook takes practice, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. The payoff – a happier, healthier life – is absolutely worth the effort.