Cultivating a Positive Outlook for a Happy and Successful Life
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies Coaching
According to Hara Estoff Marano, editor-in-chief of "Psychology Today" Magazine, the average person generates 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts daily. Imagine how you would feel if each of those thoughts were negative. What effect do you think it would have on your life? You'd probably be unhappy with yourself and those around you. You would also probably find that you were getting very little accomplished at work or home. You might also feel defeated and see no point in living, dreading each day.
Now let's look at the opposite possibility. What if those 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts were positive instead? You would feel probably feel happier, more optimistic, and more confident about your life. You might find that you consistently accomplished your goals at work and home, making you think each day was a success. You would also be more tolerant and accepting of others and you would be more compassionate.
This concept of how our thoughts affect our outlook on life first became popular around 1952 with Norman Vincent Peale's book, "The Power of Positive Thinking." An entire school of thought then developed around the idea that happiness and unhappiness were a by-product of our thoughts. Additionally, many came to believe that negative thinking leads to a variety of psychological and physiological disorders.
This guide shows how positive thinking can change your life and help you become more successful. You'll begin by learning how success is connected to your thoughts. Then, you'll discover ways to rid yourself of negative thoughts when they occur. Next, you'll learn to tap into your subconscious for even more positive effects. And finally, you will uncover ways to harness the power of positive thinking to use in all areas of your life.
Connecting Success with the Power of Positive Thinking
"Positive thinking is expecting, talking, believing, and visualizing what you want to achieve. It is seeing what you want as an accomplished fact." ~ Remez Sasson
Everywhere you look, you see interviews from successful people describing what they did to become successful. The key is to look at how they did it. Almost all of them express a positive "can-do" attitude. They use this power of positive thinking to help them succeed. They first believe they can do something and then figure out how.
Let's face it. Why would you even try if you don't believe you can do something? Assuming that you can accomplish something is the key to your success.
Your outlook is your perception of success (or failure). It has a significant impact on your success. The good news is that if you have a negative mindset, you can change your attitude to be more positive.
Here are seven ways positive thinking is connected to success:
1. It's proven to help with problem-solving. People who think positively are better able to learn new information. This improves your perspective and enables you to tackle problems and obstacles as they happen.
2. It promotes and enhances your energy level. For example, when you are in a good mood, you tend to laugh more, boosting your endorphins and energy level.
3. Positive thinking helps to give you control by giving you confidence about yourself, your abilities, and your situations. Successful people control their thought processes, turning a negative pattern into a positive pattern as the need arises.
4. A positive attitude attracts other positive people to you. Successful people often have a large circle of friends and acquaintances. The more people you know, the more doors of opportunity will be opened to you.
5. Positive thinkers are more likely to set goals and follow through by taking action, which also happens to be one of the keys to success - setting goals and following through.
6. Positive thinking improves your decision-making ability by opening your mind to broad review and creative solutions, while negative thoughts close your mind and narrow your thought process. As a result, successful people are often open-minded, forward thinkers who make good decisions and problem solvers.
7. A positive outlook builds resilience. Successful people often face many failures and mistakes before they succeed. Those with a positive attitude are more resilient and recover quicker when they do fail.
Success is more than positive thinking. It requires positive action as well.
While positive thinking builds the foundation of success, you must follow up by taking positive actions.
How Do You Rid Yourself of Negative Thoughts
A positive attitude is one of the stepping stones to success. Everyone has negative thoughts occasionally, and you may be able to counteract them with positive thinking. When negative thoughts fill your mind, it may be time to change your mindset. But how do you do that?
· Become aware of your thoughts.
The trick is to take control of your thinking. Frequently ask yourself, "What am I thinking right now?" Learn to recognize negative thinking patterns and replace them with realistic, positive alternatives.
· When a negative thought enters your mind, immediately replace it with a positive thought.
Negative thought: "I can't believe that jerk cut in front of me!
Positive thought change: "I'm not rushed and in a hurry like that guy. He must be extremely stressed."
Negative thought: "I can't believe the poor service at this restaurant today!"
Positive thought change: "The waitress must be having a bad day because the service is usually great here."
· Read inspirational, positive quotes and articles. Read about the lives of successful and happy people.
· Do things you love. Do at least one thing every day that you enjoy doing.
· Visualize your life as you want it to be. Create a visual map. When negative thoughts intrude, look at your map to remind you of what you want.
In the end, everyone has negative thoughts occasionally. The trick is to recognize and replace them with positive thoughts immediately, so you don't dwell on the negative thoughts.
Top Tips to Cultivate a Positive Attitude
There is a time and place for negative and positive thoughts in life. However, when negativity becomes a habit or begins to have adverse effects on you, it's time to make an attitude change and cultivate a positive mindset.
Here are the top tips to help you cultivate a positive attitude:
1. Do NOT complain. Complaining is a very negative response to any situation that drains you of energy.
2. Express gratitude every day, even for the small things. Eventually, you will become grateful for everything.
3. Keep a list of things of your accomplishments.
4. Let go of the people around you who are negative, critical, and abusive of you. They drain your energy. Instead, surround yourself with supportive, positive people.
5. Help others. Volunteer occasionally.
6. Learn to meditate daily. Even a 10-minute meditation in the morning will help you start your day with positive thoughts.
7. Let go of envy. Envy is a very negative emotion. It eats at you, pointing to the faults we see in ourselves.
8. Be kind and smile at others.
9. Choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice. When a negative thought enters your mind, push it out quickly. Substitute a happy thought.
10. Have faith in yourself. Believe the Universe is on your side and will help you.
11. Read inspiring stories and watch inspirational movies or television shows.
12. Repeat inspiring and motivating affirmations.
13. Practice mastering your thoughts. Access your subconscious mind.
14. Visualize what you want to happen. Then, release the thoughts you don't want to happen.
Cultivating a positive outlook takes conscious thought. Be aware of your thoughts and the attitudes of those around you. Once you are aware of the negative thoughts in your environment, you'll be able to counteract them more quickly.
5 Ways to Go Deeper Into the Subconscious Mind
Now that you've learned how to rid yourself of negative thoughts and build a positive outlook, you are ready to go deeper into the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the storehouse that holds your memories, past experiences, your deepest beliefs, and everything that has ever happened to you.
It's where automatic functions take place, like driving a car and carrying on a conversation at the same time. You instinctively know how to go so you can focus on your conversation.
The subconscious mind is much more powerful than your conscious mind. It makes everything you say and do a part of your self-concept. That's why it's important what goes into it. To change your outlook, you must go deeper than your conscious thoughts. The good news is that the subconscious mind learns through repetition.
There are several ways you can go deeper into your subconscious mind.
· Use repetition. Repeat your new beliefs or thought patterns every day. Repeat inspiring words. Choose affirmations like, "I love and respect myself." or "I attract good things into my life." Feed your subconscious mind only with what you desire.
· Meditate. Meditation allows you to go deeper into your consciousness, slowing the brain pattern down to release stress, anger, anxiety, and even alertness. With practice, you can become an observer of your thoughts. Allow your thoughts to flow, not reacting to any of them in any way.
· Let your creative side loose. Get creative and take up some form of artistic expression like painting, drawing, sculpture, or decorating. Nurturing your creativity helps you to become more authentic and tune in to your subconscious self.
· Trust your instincts. Your intuition is your connection to your subconscious mind. This is your gut feeling. Positive people have a strong sense of intuition.
· Reprogram your subconscious mind using hypnosis. Hypnosis relaxes your brain waves, so you are open to suggestions or reprogramming. In addition, hypnosis can help you release negative thoughts that may have been instilled into your subconscious by society, yourself, or your upbringing.
There are other ways to access your subconscious minds, such as energy psychology and brainwave entrainment.
In the end, I hope you have realized that despite your efforts at changing your thoughts, you might need to access your subconscious mind and take steps to dig deeper into those negative thoughts holding you back.
Picture Yourself Achieving Your Goals and Attracting Success
What if you could achieve your goals and attract the success you want using your thoughts? It is possible. Along with taking action, positively imagining what you want your success to look like is the key.
"Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." ― C.G. Jung.
Keeping your attitude positive is crucial to succeeding even in difficult times. Here are six ways to use positive thoughts to imagine yourself attracting success.
1. Visualize. Picture yourself achieving the success you are after. Visualize yourself in detail. For instance, if your goal is to lose x amount of weight, envision yourself putting on a pair of sexy jeans. If the goal is to sell x amount of products, picture yourself receiving paid invoices. Keep visual reminders around you.
2. Be thankful. Acknowledge three or four things you are grateful for each day. Embrace the day to be thankful. Picture in your mind how you would be grateful for your success.
3. Have a plan. Schedule each day in advance. A plan helps you see where you are going and make changes accordingly.
4. Take time to meditate or spend time in nature. Silence the noise that is around you. Sit quietly with your thoughts, removing negative noise.
5. Surround yourself with positive influences and people. Associating with positive people rubs off on you. See yourself being positive and kind.
6. Be enthusiastic and excited in your daily activities. Enthusiasm is contagious. It draws others to you. Force it when you don't feel enthusiastic. Remember to "fake it until you make it" if you must. Picture yourself being happy and excited.
You've got this! Use your mind's creative visualization ability to see yourself attaining your goals and achieving your desired success. Visualize where you want to be and set your goals to get there.
10 Easy Ways to Be Happier
Here's a quick list to help you create a more positive attitude and to be happier.
· Listen to good music. Music improves your mood and is a simple thing to do.
· Don't watch television passively--or at all.
· Be aware of negativity. Negative thoughts and feelings drain your energy.
· Make time to be alone. Sit quietly in your favorite room, in nature, or anywhere you can be alone for at least five minutes.
· Take time to figure out who you are or want to be.
· Exercise daily. Even a short walk will improve your mood.
· Have projects and goals to work toward.
· Do the things you enjoy doing. Like to crochet? Do it daily. Love to read novels? Do it for a few minutes daily. Enjoy hiking? Go ahead and take a hike.
· Ignore things that make you unhappy.
· Just smile. Smiling will bring a happy feeling, so even when you don't feel like it, do it.
Cultivating happiness is one way to build your positive outlook. So every day, find ways to be happy, even if you have to force it.
There you have it. You can cultivate a positive attitude. If you've always had a negative attitude, the tips in this guide can help you banish that negativity. Begin by becoming aware of your thoughts. When a negative thought enters, replace it with a positive one. Do things that make you happy. Meditate and visualize your way to success. Successfully changing your outlook may require digging deeper into your subconscious mind, where your thoughts and actions have been recorded repeatedly. In the end, you are the one who is in control of your thoughts. You can choose to be successful, have positive thoughts, and be happier.