We all know the distinction between positive and negative. It’s like white and black, good and bad, and right and wrong. Therefore, the desire to live a good and positive life comes natural to us.
A positive life is different from a specific goal or want. If you want a specific thing like money, a job or a person – then you might have it, but it's still something you can't always control.
But a positive life is something you can always take control of yourself and change from within because you can live a positive life no matter where you are, who you are, or what you do.
This article takes you through 4 simple steps that will help you let go off negativity and start living the positive life you deserve.
1. Take Control of Your Mindset
Did you know that most of our reactions and actions are controlled by our habits
Let's use an example:
You might wake up every day with the alarm clock going off and this causes a negative reaction. Why? Well, you have implemented the idea of waking up early as a bad thing. Then your mind has made the alarm clock a trigger. The sound of it now connects it to something negative.
It’s normal to be tired in the morning, but you don’t have to start out your day by being grumpy. Even though you’ve told yourself that it’s okay and it's a ‘normal’ reaction; it’s actually something you've programmed all by yourself in your mind.
Changing your mindset takes time because it’s about recreating your way of thinking, but it's still a simple step. The good news is that unlike a vegetable, you actually have thoughts - and not only that – you’re able to change them
You might have told yourself that you daily negative responses to certain things are normal and they are out of your control at this point because the reaction is unconsciously made. But the unconscious mind is not a second mind playing by its own rules. It’s something you can control and reprogram.
John Bargh explains how our unconscious mind functions. It's controllable if we want it to be:((John Bargh: Before You Know it – The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do
”We have a single, unified mind that operates in both conscious and unconscious modes, always using the same set of basic machinery, fine-tuned over the course of evolutionary time.”
This means you can take control of your mindset and you can change your outlook on things.
Remember, the alarm clock is just an example of a daily habit or routine that can control your mind-set with or without your knowledge.
It’s not about the alarm clock ringing. You can’t turn of the alarm clock without throwing away your responsibilities. The problem isn’t the alarm clock. The problem isn’t even your response. The problem is that you have programmed this reaction without noticing it.
If you create a mindset that reacts to these situations with a positive response, then you’ll reprogram yourself
day by day.
Yes, you have to get out of bed early. No, you don’t really want to go to work or wherever you have to go, but what do you want? You still want to get out of bed and do something with your day. You still want to live your life. Instead of letting the sound of the alarm clock reminding you of what you don’t want, then let it be a reminder of a new day arriving - that’s great - because this day is yours.
2. Memorize Positive Words
It sounds too easy to be true, but by memorizing a list of positive words
you can force your brain to use positive words more often and this will help you live a more positive life.((Psychology Today: Think Positive: 11 Ways to Boost Positive Thinking
)) The same way you can reprogram your mindset, you can rewrite your vocabulary. The words will start come to you naturally and your outlook will change.
Some psychologists have measured which words count as positive and negative, but if you think about it, then you probably already know the words yourself.((University of Florida: Affective Norms for English Words (ANEW): Instruction Manual and Affective Ratings
)) It’s not about educating yourself and learning new words. It’s about using what ’s already within you.
Once you start using more positive words
, it will not only affect your own way of thinking, but it will also affect the people around you.
Have you ever noticed how positive and happy people tend to spread their mood to other people around them? Usually a smile is met with another smile. A positive conversation will most likely be met with the same good tone.
3. Focus on What Matters
Mark Manson wrote a book titled The Subtle Art of not Giving A F*ck
, which leads many to believe it’s about not caring about anything. This could not be further from the true.
The one thing you have to realize is that there will always be both negative and positive things in your life, but you can control which ones affect you.
Yes, you have the ability to care about what matters. It’s as simple as it sounds. Take a look at your past, present and future. How many times have you wasted your energy on something that in the end didn’t matter?
The true is that we shouldn’t care about everything. We shouldn’t care about certain things
like what our old classmates thinks of us, or what people say about our social media or get annoyed by the co-worker who talks behind your back.
In the end, you’ll never be able to win in all aspects of your life and you can’t focus your energy on everything.((Mark Manson: The Subtle Art of not Giving A F*ck
“You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.”
What you can
do is prioritize
. What really matters to you? What do you
care about? Block out everything else and focus on what you should care about.
4. Learn to Say No
For some people, it’s hard to say no because it means you’re either letting someone down or letting an opportunity go. If you look at the words yes and no, then most people would view a no as a negative and not a positive word.
The thing people forget are that you can’t say yes to everything. When you say yes to something, then you’re also saying no something else. Maybe your boss asked you to work late and finish a project, so you say yes because you don’t want to disappoint him or her. At the same time, this may mean you’ll miss out on your kids play, even though you promised him or her that you would be there.
The point is that every time you say yes, you’re also saying no. Every time you choose to do one thing, then you’re taking away time from something else. It would be great if we could do it all, but we can’t.
You need to learn to say no
. This step can be very simple as it’s actually just an extension of the step above. You’ll learn to say no by finding out what you really want and what you don’t want. This way you won't be saying no, when you turn away someone or something, because you’ll know that you have already chosen to say yes to something else.
A positive life starts from within and even though nothing (rarely) drastically changes from one day to another, a positive life can come to you easily by following these simple steps.