The subtle art of positive thinking can play a vital role in turning the tables when life begins to feel difficult or motionless. Many of us have had a similar experience: we encounter challenging times and are left wondering what remains to feel positive about.
Positive thinking means focusing on the good in any given situation. This can be in a specific circumstance or a general approach to everyday life, and the benefits can be highly satisfying.
Joyous moments in life are often filled with laughter, smiling and are usually shared socially. But these conditions aren’t easily replicated; and not to mention, they only last for a limited period of time.
This article will focus on the five key attributes that can help you develop your own foundation of positive thinking. Because more smiling and less worrying costs nothing, but feels amazing.
Learn About the Power of Positive Thinking, Broken Down to 5 Key Benefits:
Read on to gain more clarity on the quality of your thoughts, and to see what habits might be stopping you from thinking – and living – positively.
1. Greater Focus On Solutions
You can’t Google anything about positive thinking without the phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” coming up. And as common as it is, this phrase has its faults because living in a fast-paced world where convenience is key, chasing a distant light can sometimes feel unreachable.
When it comes to positive thinking, it’s less about how distant your destination is, and more about the journey. There is a peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are en route to your goal.
Thus, by putting your energy into the journey, you can in turn generate motivation. If you set your eyes on the prize and never look back, you can become unstoppable in your approach to reaching your goals.
There is a peace of mind that comes with knowing that you are en route to your goal.
We’ve all seen the cliché scene in the movies where the children in the back seat complain about the journey and ask, “Are we there yet?”
Like this scene, there are people in life intent on focusing on the problem. But moaning, worrying and complaining rarely offer any productive solutions. Instead, they drain your positivity and quickly create a lack of clear objective.
Focusing instead on the solution allows you to see the opportunity within the challenges. This can form a part of your personal development, learning and growth. Your obstacles help identify weaknesses so that next time you can save both time and energy.
Remember: where you focus your mind, you direct your energy.
2. See the Positive In Others
To see positives in others, you must invite people to be their authentic selves. This is very important.
It’s when we have a limited belief in someone’s abilities that they fold into the energy you’ve projected.
By instead offering encouragement, motivation and love to those around you can often result in them achieving things they never thought they could. This especially rings true in romantic relationships, in the workplace, and in parenting.
In this form of positive thinking, it’s all about lowering our boundaries and nourishing our connections.
The Dalai Lama infamously says, “Forgive those who harm us, and treat everyone as a friend.” Yet this is easier said than done – especially when someone lets you down or betrays you.
The more we focus on the positives in others, the more positives we will see.
Seeing the positive in others is about forgiveness and freedom. Knowing that nobody is perfect releases us from the social pressures of pretending to be somebody else, and instead creates self-confidence and the space to truly show the beauty of our innately positive character.
There are many great benefits to seeing the positives in people. You reduce anxiety around meeting new people, because you are looking for the good in someone, not the negative.
You also expand your capacity for forgiveness, because through positive thinking, you have increased understanding and compassion within your heart – you can be more tolerant and patient, and accepting of people as they are, and for who they are.
3. You Don’t Ignore Reality
Some believe that by living a spiritually balanced life, you become dreamy and disconnected from reality. I’ve met many who find difficulty with spirituality and in particular meditation.
Meditation expert Emily Fletcher explains it this way:
“The mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily. So trying to give your mind the command to stop thinking, is like asking your heart to stop beating. It’s just not going to work.” So this is simply the reality.
The significance of being alert to reality lies in our basic need for safety. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is our second most basic need.
Recognize that the way you respond to reality influences the way you feel about your reality.
Our senses were originally an early warning system designed to identify danger. Disruption to our safety is danger, and in our prehistoric days danger from animals or menacing weather could result in death.
This means that in fact as humans we are wired to be alert and not ignore reality.
Today, threats present themselves in abusive relationships, financial insecurity, illness and death. And in the face of adversity, no amount of positive thinking will stop any impending threat.
Yet to recognize yourself as a spiritual being whilst playing your role in the material world is the best way to accumulate inner strength. Thus, it’s important to recognize that the way you respond to reality influences the way you feel about your reality. It all starts with positive thinking.
4. Strong Self-Belief
Self-belief is ultimately relying less on other people. Self-belief requires that you must be aware of your self-talk. Ask yourself: what is your general everyday attitude, and what are the qualities of your thoughts about you?
Thinking positively about others helps them to achieve, yet does this technique work the same for ourselves? How do we believe in ourselves? How do we encourage, love and motivate ourselves?
Beliefs are concepts that we consider real; so what concepts do we consider to be real about ourselves?
As an example of how self-confidence can develop, a person who was encouraged and motivated in their formative years may have had a better chance of trying things out, failing and finding ways to overcome.
If the opposite is true for you, as an adult there may potentially be a lack of self-belief.
When you rely on others, you put trust in them. The issue here is that trust and dependency are interchangeable with dependency and expectation. This is where your energy flows outwards and happiness depends heavily on whether somebody fulfills our request.
Our narratives and environment often hold the key to our self-belief.
While there is nothing wrong with relying on others, the more you can rely on yourself, the less you need to ask of others.
Positive thinking can be a perspective through which we view situations and can also be a lens through which we view ourselves.
In this sense, positive thinking means trusting in our ability to overcome and therefore maintaining a healthy sense of self-worth and requiring little from others. The first step to transforming our self-doubt is to acknowledge its presence. Then with determination and focus can you overcome it and ultimately transmute it into self-confidence.
5. Positive Can-Do Attitude
Your attitude goes in alignment with how you act. If you harbor confident thoughts, you begin to change from the inside and present yourself more confidently.
My school teacher once told me that a positive can-do attitude would get me far in life. Little did I know how well this advice would serve me. In my adult life, I have rarely shied away from challenges or difficult situations. At a point it actually came in handy, when I was working with a housing charity supporting young people leaving social care.
These kids were from a low income background, and presented with education, training and employment opportunities. I found my can-do attitude proved to be a way to enthuse these kids with inspiration and the incentive to reach for more. Now, these kids do not take no for an answer!
The power of positive thinking combined with a can-do attitude means your quality of thoughts change, and your limiting habits begin to dissolve. You no longer stand in your own way – you are boundless.
For those around you, this can be so infectious and almost addictive. Taking a deeper pride in problem solving creates a positive value system and a deeper connection to achievement, along with the joy that often accompanies it.
The Power of Positive Thinking: The Takeaway
We all have the capacity to reflect on our mindset and see how our views of ourselves influences our attitude and outlook on life.
Make a list of self-talk and rearrange or add words to create an affirming statement that can apply to the challenges you currently face in your life.
When you make personal affirmations, they are tailored to you. Meaning you create an arsenal of mental directives you will use in difficult situations.
I highly recommend using some of these when meditating. You can start by using an affirmation to begin to explore an issue you are facing in your life, and allow your spirit and subconscious mind bring forward thoughts, you may have been previously too afraid to examine.
With positive thinking on your side, you’ll be surprised how powerfully things can change in your life.