‘Look on the bright side of life’, ‘There’s plenty more fish in the sea.’ And ‘Smile, it could be worse’ are all sayings that increase my annoyance levels quite significantly. (Probably on par with the ‘Go Compare’ adverts). Although it can be very difficult to banish negativity with the click of your fingers, there is some truth behind these frustratingly accurate quotes. Positive thinking does make a big difference to your life and determines the way you handle certain situations. This is where the quote, ‘you only live once’ should be put into practice.

Positive thinking is something that’s gained a lot of attention in recent years with books like ‘The Secret’ and other similar self-help books becoming extremely popular. According to Mayo Clinic, being more positive in life will mean:

  • A longer life span
  • Less stress
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Increased resistance to the common cold
  • Better stress management and coping skills
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease-related death
  • Increased physical well-being
  • Better psychological health

We’ve found some great tips to stop you being such a Negative Norman..

Focus on your thoughts

You need to begin to analyse and inspect your thoughts. For example, when you encounter a challenging situation, how do you handle it? Do you instantly begin thinking negatively instead of trying to find a positive solution? Are you critical of others or yourself? Identifying these thoughts and when you have them is a good first step in overcoming them.

Throw away negativity…literally

In a new study, researchers found that when people wrote down their unwanted negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then threw the paper away, they mentally discarded the thoughts as well.

Avoid negative people

People that complain, whine and moan all of the time will bring you down with them. They will also reinforce your fears and undermine your confidence. Obviously, don’t ditch a friend because they are going through a tough time (that’s just mean!) but there’s a difference between this and constant negativity for very little reason.

Get a ‘Gratitude Journal’

Write down a list of things you are grateful for. This will renew you appreciation for the things that you’ve been taking for granted. The gratitude list will cause you to focus on the positive and not the negative. Doing this daily will help to ingrain this type of positive thinking of your mind.

Defeat your thoughts on paper

If you can’t stop thinking about something upsetting or frustrating then write it down on a piece of paper. Then, write down several arguments to counter these thoughts. For example, if you’ve had a busy day at work and forgotten to call back an important client, write down all the other great things you managed to achieve that day. Sometimes you get so focused on yourself and your misery that it’s hard for you to find solutions or to see a positive perspective.

Try Humour

It can be really difficult to stay positive when there is little humour or lightness in your life. Even when you are facing challenges, it is important to stay open to laughter and humour. Sometimes, simply recognizing the potential humour in a situation can lessen your stress and brighten your outlook. Seeking out sources of humour such as watching a funny tv programme or reading jokes online can help you think more positive thoughts. I would highly recommend watching one of your favourite comedians in concert, this never fails to amuse!

Lose yourself in an activity

If you’re obsessing about something, you need to break that seemingly never-ending loop of bad thoughts. Picking an activity that will help you forget and take your mind off everything will help. Playing a sport, meditating or even reading a good book are all suggestions.

We would really recommend our DanceFit class for all those wishing to forget their troubles. Within five minutes Leigh will have you dancing and making you laugh and the beauty is that no one can see you so you can completely let loose!

Keep Working on it

There’s not an on-off switch for positive thinking. Even if you’re a natural born optimist, positive thinking can take effort in the face of a challenging situation. Like any goal, the key is to stick with it for the long-term. Even if you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, you can look for ways to minimize this negativity and find a more optimistic outlook. I find that when I’m having a bad day and negativity starts creeping in, I look at ‘The Secret’ phone app which supplies quotes and teachings about positive thinking. It usually takes me to flick through a few until I find one I like but it certainly helps to make me feel a bit more positive.