“A beautiful day begins with a positive mindset” and “positive thoughts lead to positive actions”. You’ve likely come across quotes about a positive mind’s power. While you may have dismissed them as wishful thinking, the truth is that a negative mindset can hold you back. When your mind is plagued with pessimistic chatter and limiting beliefs, achieving success and happiness becomes challenging. While you cannot completely get rid of negativity, you can optimize your mind to focus on the positive and effectively navigate through difficult waters. In this article, we discuss what distinguishes a positive from a negative mindset and how it can benefit your life. Moreover, we unpack the most effective ways to reprogram your mind for positive thinking.
Positive vs negative mindsets
Do you ever find yourself dwelling on an insult that someone said to you in school? Or perhaps you still cringe to this very day at something embarrassing you did several years ago? This is down to the negative bias. The negative bias is our tendency to pay closer attention to negative events and feelings compared to positive ones.
We’re more likely to notice something negative when it happens and then dwell on it. Imagine you’ve had a good day at work, but as you’re leaving, your boss calls you into their office. They pull you up on something you’ve done wrong and offer you constructive criticism for the future. In this situation, most of us would feel that we’d had a bad day, even though only one small negative thing happened.
The reason for this is likely due to evolution. At the beginning of human history, the negative bias was a matter of life and death. Our ancestors had to be constantly aware of any potential dangers and threats in order to survive. Nowadays, we have nowhere near as many threats as our ancestors did, yet we’re left with this survival instinct. Instead, we focus on any form of negativity, even if it isn’t a direct threat to us.
Think of the negative bias as being super, super aware, and vigilant to any possible ‘threat’. In other words, negativity. This can and does impact us in our daily lives, from our relationships to the decisions we make, and even how we perceive others. If too intense, the negative bias can have a serious impact on mental health, leading to depression or anxiety. Likewise, the negative bias can lead to having an overall negative mindset.
Negative mindset: traits
Generally, those with a negative mindset focus on the bad in themselves, other people, situations, experiences, and the world. Of course, there are plenty of difficult and unfortunate things happening all around us every single day. But there are also just as many (if not more) good things happening. A person with a negative mindset, however, would fail to see any of the good and only focus on the bad.
But even in a scenario where there is nothing wrong, someone who has a negative mindset will find fault, even if they don’t mean to. Those who think negatively are often preoccupied with thoughts of doom, worry, anxiousness, and criticism.
In general, people with a negative mindset are more likely to:
- dwell on past events, especially negative experiences such as rejection;
- be highly critical of both themselves and others;
- focus on the problem rather than the solution;
- worry a lot about possible things that could go wrong;
- worry about the future;
- believe things are “too good to be true”;
- automatically assume the worst in unknown situations;
- and ignore the good in others and focus only on the bad.
Negative mindset: Side-effects
Lack of self-motivation
Negative people are less likely to motivate themselves to reach their goals. Either they believe they will surely fail, so there’s no point trying, or have set unrealistic goals for themselves.
Being overly critical can be damaging to your self-esteem. Setting unrealistic standards for or comparing yourself to others can undermine your confidence and impact your self-image.
Reduced quality of life
Someone with a negative mindset finds it difficult to enjoy life. Because they are constantly focusing on the negative, they miss out on the positive. These can be big or small things that benefit and inspire a sense of happiness and satisfaction.
Having a negative mindset can impact the way you connect with others. As those with a negative mindset have a hard time seeing goodness in others, relationships can become unbalanced.
This is when having a negative mindset becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. For instance, giving off a negative vibe pushes others away and then leads to more negative thinking because of feelings of loneliness.
Negativity attracts negativity
Generally, positive people don’t want to be around negativity and will avoid negative people. People with a negative mindset are likely to be attracted to one another which can create toxic environments and make it even more difficult to see the positives in life.
Anxiety and depression
With time, too much negative thinking can lead to anxiety and depression. Failing to enjoy life and connect healthily with others can cause low mood, stress, and anxiety. These problems will then result in more negative thinking and a vicious cycle is born.
If you’re struggling with negative thinking, please don’t hesitate to talk with a trained professional. Unlearning your negative thinking patterns and becoming more positive will be one of the best things you ever do.
The positive side of negativity?
As you can see, having a negative mindset can be very damaging. But what if a tiny bit of negativity is actually a good thing? It’s all to do with balance. Seeing the positives and negatives in situations, people, and experiences will give you clearer perceptions and more sound judgments. For example, if you’re in a clearly dangerous situation, choosing to ignore your negative thoughts would be harmful.
Trying to only see the positives can, in some instances, be rather naive. Rather than completely rejecting all negative thoughts, it’s healthy to address them and accept that you’re feeling this way. Learning to understand all of your emotions, even the more uncomfortable ones, will help you grow. Likewise, life is full of ups and downs and it’s often our negative experiences that teach us valuable lessons that we can then use to have more positive experiences in the future.
We need both positivity and negativity to make informed, realistic, and overall beneficial decisions. But remember, too much negativity is still harmful. Ideally, you should be able to address both the negative and positive aspects of a situation.
Positive Mindset: Traits
People with a positive mindset generally:
- can see silver linings in a bad situation;
- have an ‘I can’ attitude rather than “I can’t”;
- can handle criticism and see it as constructive;
- let go of things from the past easily;
- make others feel good about themselves and spread positivity;
- focus on solutions rather than overthinking the problem;
- and are more resilient to external problems.
The benefits of a positive mindset
Coping with stress
Positive people focus on solutions rather than problems. They also continue to enjoy life while going through difficult situations. Rather than allowing difficulties from work or everyday life to take over, positive thinkers will continue to see the good around them.
Positive thinkers adopt a “can-do attitude”. They aren’t afraid of failure and are more likely to push themselves forwards because of this. As a result, they develop and move forwards, both professionally and personally.
Those with a positive mindset are less critical of themselves. They’re more accepting and aware of their flaws and are less likely to compare themselves to others.
Can see the bigger picture
Positive thinkers can look past temporary stress or bad situations. They know this won’t be forever and can look forward to a brighter future.
Optimistic about the future
The unknown excites a person with a positive mindset. Rather than being fearful and anxious, they feel optimistic about all the possibilities that are to come.
High quality of life
When you reprogram your mind for positive thinking you’re able to enjoy life more as you focus on the good. Even in somewhat boring or difficult situations, a positive thinker will find something to be grateful for or happy about.
Positivity attracts positivity
People with a positive attitude are great to be around. They make others feel good about themselves and are perceived as non-judgemental, easy-going, and kind. In turn, this tends to attract more positive people.
How to reprogram your mind for positive thinking
Developing a positive state of mind that helps you navigate through life’s many challenges won’t happen overnight. However, it’s completely possible.
The first thing to know is that positivity starts from within. Positive thoughts impact how you feel. Positive feelings impact how you behave and positive behavior and decision-making lead to positive outcomes. And then positive outcomes create more positive thoughts.
To begin with, we’re going to offer you some advice on how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. This is the first step to transforming your mindset and leading a more optimistic life. As said before, being more positive isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about looking at a situation and seeing how you can transform it into something positive.
Try observing negative thoughts and transforming them into positive ones.
- So, instead of:
Things are so hard right now, I can’t cope.
Think: Things won’t always be like this, this is only for now and the future will be better.
2. Instead of:
I always make mistakes, I am useless.
Think: It’s okay to make mistakes, I am only human, and mistakes help me to learn.
3. Instead of:
There’s no point in trying, this is impossible to achieve.
Think: This is challenging. But, with hard work and determination, I can achieve this.
4. Instead of:
Why is it always me? I have such bad luck.
Think: Today is just a bad day. Tomorrow will be much better.
5. Instead of:
I deserve bad things to happen to me.
Think: I deserve happiness, health, love, and other good things in my life.
Next time you catch yourself thinking along these lines, stop, acknowledge your thoughts, take a deep breath, and try to rework the statements to make them more positive.
This will take time. But with dedication and practice, you can relearn your thought patterns.
7 tips to achieve a positive state of mind
In addition to transforming negative thoughts into positive ones, here are seven more tips to help you become more positive.
1. Practice gratitude daily
We often forget how lucky we are. We take for granted having food to eat, a roof over our heads, and being healthy. But when you stop and really think about it, we’re so lucky to have these in our lives.
To reprogram your mind for positive thinking, try to practice gratitude as often as possible. Every morning, think of three things that you are grateful for and write them down in a gratitude journal. On difficult days you can look back at these lists to remind yourself of how much good you have in your life.
Or, in the evenings, before you go to bed, think of three things you have been grateful for that day. As you close your eyes to sleep, hold these thoughts in your mind.
2. Embrace positive self-talk
We tend to be our own worst critics. Over time, being so harsh on yourself can impact your self-esteem. Instead, talk to yourself as you would to a close friend.
We’re only human and making mistakes is a part of life. You don’t need to be so critical of yourself or things that may not have gone to plan.
This is similar to transforming negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of “I can’t do this because I’ll do it wrong”, think “I can do this if I push myself”.
3. Understand your negativity
Understanding your negative thought process will help you reprogram your mind for positive thinking. Write your negative thoughts down. You might eventually start to see a pattern. Do you have certain triggers? Are your negative thoughts centered around one particular theme or person?
Understanding more about your negative thoughts will give you insight into how to control them and avoid possible triggers.
4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle does wonders for your mental and physical health, which will help you be more optimistic. For example, when you exercise, your body releases neurochemicals that trigger relaxation and a better mood.
Likewise, eating a healthy and balanced diet will make you look and feel great.
The combination of exercising regularly and eating well will leave you feeling happy, empowered, and unstoppable.
5. Surround yourself with positive people
Both positivity and negativity are contagious. If you surround yourself with negative people, it’ll be more difficult to feel optimistic. However, if you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll absorb this positive energy.
Of course, you can’t completely avoid negative people, especially if they’re your work colleagues or family members. So instead, be the one to spread positivity. You never know, your positive energy could help them to think more optimistically as well.
Mindfulness meditation is the skill of focusing your attention on the present moment. With time and practice, this can help you observe your thoughts and feelings and develop your self-awareness.
But how will this help you reprogram your mind for positive thinking? Well, by meditating regularly and focusing on the present, you aren’t dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. You can make unbiased decisions from a more rational perspective.
Scientific research also shows that regular meditation can lower stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, and increase your overall well-being, which of course, will leave you feeling more positive.
7. Try Synctuition
Synctuition offers the easiest and most engaging way to achieve a positive state of mind. The app’s sound journeys incorporate nature sounds, instrumental music, and binaural beats — all recorded in three-dimensional audio.
As you listened through regular headphones, your mind will enter a deep state of relaxation. In this state, you’ll be able to wash away any negative and stressful thoughts. Upon finishing, you’ll be glowing with positivity.
Ready to reprogram your mind for positive thinking?
The benefits of an optimistic mindset are truly endless. From helping you cope effectively with stress to developing your self-confidence and increasing your quality of life; developing a positive mentality can help you become your best self. With time and practice, you can become a positive thinker and start perceiving your reality differently. Need a hand? Then make sure to check out Synctuition’s mesmerizing 3D sound journeys to transform stressful and negative thoughts into positive ones.