Do you ever find yourself stuck in negative thinking, entertaining what Congo wrong, or mulling over sad memories? What things do you do to keep a positive mindset?
Chances are, you’ve probably had someone tell you to “Cheer up” or “look on the bright side.” And while there’s no doubt they can mean well, it can be difficult to keep a positive mindset all the time.
Cultivating a happy mindset puts you in the right mood to compound your happiness with happiness-boosting behaviors. To focus on ways to keep a positive mindset, we need to focus on ways to become cheerful, content, and pleasant toward others: finding reasons to laugh, practicing being polite, searching for the positive in situations and finding a way to escape mentally.
Here are some simply ways to keep a positive mindset and focus more on joy instead of negativity.
1. Find Reasons To Laugh
Laughter has the obvious side effects of making you happy, along with lowering your blood pressure and stress levels, helping ease conflicts, and strengthening social bonds with others. What’s less obvious is that your laughter goes a long way toward making others happy. There are several ways to come up with more occasions to laugh.
- Indulge in others attempts to make you laugh. This makes them feel good, as we all enjoy being the one to make another laugh, and it helps diminish our self-centered tendencies by forcing us to really listen to what others are saying.
- Force laughter if you have to – such as when a child is telling you a joke for the 20th time. This will delight them and their emotions will be bounced back to you, so your forced laughter may very quickly become real,
- Take yourself less seriously and be willing to laugh at yourself more. This often has a cheering effect that dissipates the stress of the situation, while defensiveness makes you ruminate on negative feelings. For example, if your like me, I tend to put things in stupid places. I’ve put the remote to the tv in the refrigerator. I sometimes inadvertently take the remote with me to get a snack and sit the remote down to get to what I want. Then spend the next 30- minutes looking for the remote. Instead of getting stress and upset or getting mad at myself because I can’t find the remote, I find ifI just laugh at myself “WoW I did it again.”
2. Practice Politeness
To be come more pleasant and kind toward others, focus on practicing good manners and conscientiousness. In our busy lives, we often skip over politeness because we’re too caught up in our own stresses. To work against this, be on the lookout for small ways to be considerate of others – such as giving up your seat on the bus, or letting someone with only a few items at the grocery store cut in front of you, when you have a cart full. Or offer to help a elderly person with their groceries or return their shopping cart for them. I only takes a few minutes a day to bless someone.
3. Be A Better Conversation Partner
I admit this is one I struggle with this one. Recently I went to a concert with a friend. While standing in line she struck up a conversation with a stranger. By the time we were at the end of the line she knew all about them. I struggle with talking to people I’ve don’t know. It may be because of my social skills (being I didn’t learn any as a child). But it is something I need to work on.
One place that many people are guilty or bad manners is in conversation. While speaking to someone listen carefully and make sure that you’re not coming off as rude.
- One-uppers always respond to the speaker with a better or more extreme in their own lives. Like, “ Oh you think that’s painful? Listen to what happened to me a few months ago.”
- Know it-all’s hijack the conversation to demonstrate how much they know about the subject at hand. Like, Did you know that in that region you visited in France is the only one where they speak Ch’ti?”
- Interrupters cut off others in the middle of their sentences to ask questions or respond. This happens to me a lot because I think before I speak and people think I’m finished talking.
- Non-listeners don’t actually listen to people they’re speaking to – instead, they’re thinking about the next thing they want to add to the conversation.
Beyond cutting out our bad conversation manners, we need to find ways to give the floor to others. You might respond to someone’s expertise with, “That’s interesting tell me more.” Or, follow up your addition to the conversation with, “What do you think about it?’
Pinpoint What Makes You Rude
Keeping an eye out for external factors that might be making you act rudely. For example I have a friend that when she drinks more than 3 alcoholic beverages she gets argumentative and obnoxious, and she regrets coming away from get togethers instead of feeling happy. So she decided to cut back her drinking when she’s out. For you it might be that the music is to loud or even being to hot or cold. (I know when I get cold I get irritated and seem to lash out at people for no reason). Once you find out what prompts your rude tendencies, find a way to mitigate it such as always having a sweater.
4. Search For The Positive
Many people instinctively prefer to be critical, rather than enthusiastic, about things – for several self-serving abs defensive reasons.
- Being critical feels and is often perceived as a trait of sophistication or intelligence.
- It’s very easy. Being critical of or detached from something, such as reality television or a cheesy band, is much easier that leaning into your enthusiasm for it.
While expressing enthusiasm might be the harder and more unpopular choice, it comes with the benefit of lifting others’ moods and making them feel more enthusiastic as well. Imagine that your friend invites a group out to see a college concert, she loves singing, but you find it boring, you don’t want to hurt your friends feeling so you go. She wants you to participate in singing along. and you end up singing along and actually enjoy the concert.
There are three ways to commit yourself to searching for the positive and expressing enthusiasm as much as possible.
- Look for ways to be positive about everything, even the things you don’t like. For example, when you’re trying a new food don’t say “This had to worst taste and texture.” Instead try it, it might be fun trying something new.
- Try to deliver criticism in a more positive way. Instead of telling your child, “Stop playing that recorder, you’re driving me nuts,” try you’ve practiced your recorder so much today. I think you deserve a break.”
- Create a reminder to stick to positive comments. My friend complains about the same thing everyday. Every time she brings this subject up, I’m going to give her a compliment.
4. Find A Mental Escape
One thing that goes a long way toward adjusting your mindset is finding ways to avoid negative thoughts. Humans naturally have a negative bias – that is we, remember and ruminate on negative things much more than positive things. Of course, it not possible to avoid everything negative in our lives, but we can keep ourselves in an overall positive mindset if we create a mental escape that helps us avoid the rumination spiral that comes on the heels of a negative experience.
For example, a mental escape might be thinking about funny things that your partner or child has done. Lime writing down the little things in life that bring you joy. So remembering a happy time you’ve had with a loved one.