Did you know that positive thinking can improve not only your mental wellbeing, but your physical health? According to Healthline, having an optimistic mindset can help you manage stress, boost your energy levels, and even recover faster from injuries! In this article, we’re giving you 4 easy steps that you can practice daily to care for your mental health and encourage a positive outlook.
1. Practice gratitude
Focusing on the things you’re thankful for is a simple but effective way to start building a positive mindset! Gratitude is linked to increased happiness, optimism, and resilience. Every day, take a few minutes to write down three to five things you are grateful for. It could be anything from a person or place to a small convenience that makes your life easier. After a few weeks of practicing gratitude daily, notice how your mood changes. Over time, you might find that you start automatically appreciating the things in your life that bring you joy, which helps cultivate an optimistic attitude.
2. Be intentional with your language
Your mindset is heavily influenced by the words you use. As you go about your day, notice the language you tend to use when you’re talking to others. Replacing phrases with a positive alternative is one way to be intentional with your language. For example, you can view something as “challenging” instead of “difficult.” You can also replace the word “should” with “could.” Instead of saying, “I should finish my project today” – which might make you feel pressured or stressed – try saying, “I could finish my project today” or “I get to finish my project today.” By making simple changes like this, you can start to view your daily activities as opportunities rather than obligations.
It’s also helpful to engage in positive self-talk. Try saying or writing down affirmations, or statements that make you feel good. Some examples of affirmations are, “I am strong,” “I love myself and my body,” or “I am successful.” Use language that resonates with you.
3. Practice Mindfulness
When we are mindful, we are fully present and aware of our surroundings and feelings. Rather than being distracted or overwhelmed by our thoughts, we are focused on our immediate environment; the here and now.
You can practice mindfulness at any time. When you feel distracted by your thoughts, bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on what’s happening around you. Mindfulness has been shown to contribute to a positive mindset: those who practice mindfulness are more likely to report higher wellbeing and life satisfaction. Check out our blog post on Mindfulness and DBT for Mental Health to learn mindfulness exercises that you can implement in your daily routine!
4. Identify thoughts that don’t serve you
Becoming aware of the thoughts and behaviours that don’t serve your wellbeing is important for building a positive mindset. Do you ever ruminate on thoughts that make you feel anxious or overly self-critical? If so, you can encourage a more positive mindset by gently “challenging” the thought. To do this, you can ask yourself: is there any evidence that it might not be true? Is there another way you can view the situation that would make you feel better? Having self-compassion and giving yourself grace is also part of building a positive mindset. If you feel down, it can be helpful to acknowledge these emotions, sit with them, and remind yourself that it’s okay not to feel okay.
Focusing on what you’re grateful for, using positive language, and being present and aware of your thoughts are effective ways to build a positive mindset. If you put these tips into practice, you might find that your thoughts start to shift and become more optimistic!