“One positive thought produces millions of positive vibrations.” – John Coltrane
Your mindset is made up of self-perceptions or beliefs that you hold about yourself. These determine behavior, outlook, and mental attitude. Your values, unconscious patterns, and a positive mindset can transform your experience of life. Following the steps below can help you change your mindset to one that automatically thinks more positively which will in turn better your life.
1 Let go of limiting beliefs
There’s an old allegory about a baby elephant that is tied to a fence post. As the baby elephant tugs and pulls, it fails to break the fence or break the rope. Eventually, it gives up and makes peace with its fate. The baby elephant is stuck.
As time goes on, the elephant grows up and becomes a big, adult elephant with gargantuan legs and a huge tusk and swirly trunk and it could easily walk away from the fence if it wanted to. But believing the fence to be some immovable thing, the adult elephant remains tied to it, falsely believing it can never get away.
This is what it's like to have limiting beliefs. These false beliefs prevent us from pursuing our goals and dreams. Our beliefs put us in a box where we have boundaries and limitations for what we perceive to be possible. These beliefs can range from beliefs about yourself, the world, or about life. The most common limiting beliefs we hold are the ones about ourselves.
Limiting beliefs about ourselves are often attached to insecurities, emotional attachments, or even past baggage we've been carrying. Some examples of limiting beliefs that we tell ourselves would be calling yourself ugly, telling yourself you're dumb, or that you're not athletic. The next step after understanding what our own limiting beliefs are is to debunk them.
I need you to ask yourself an important question... "Is this True?". Ask yourself this question for every belief that you have that may be holding you back in life.
Is it true that I'm dumb or... do I think this because one time my friend called me dumb. Being smart is relative, you can be smart in so many different things and there is no one size fits all. Don't base your own beliefs of yourself off what others try to tell you, you are.
Is it true that I'm ugly or was it the opinion of one guy that told me he wasn’t attracted to me? The thing here is that the guy that said this to you; It doesn’t matter what he thinks because you're not looking for a mediocre guy... you're looking for someone special. The special person will think you are the definition of beauty. And remember... "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
You choose the beliefs you want to foster, and you choose the narrative you tell yourself. Start believing in who you want to be and always speak positively of yourself no matter what.
2 Practice positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are not something you read every now and again and expect it to change your life. Like anything consistency needs to happen so that you can train your brain to start thinking more positively.
Positive affirmations are phrases you can say, either aloud or in your head, to affirm yourself and build yourself up — especially during difficult situations. They’re a way of helping overcome negative thoughts that can sometimes take over and make you doubt yourself.
Personally I love affirmations cards (Oh Happy Day Cards - By:Insitemind); I love holding a physical card in my hand and drawing a new affirmation every day. I also love identifying my insecurities and changing them to be empowering affirmations that I tell myself every morning. The biggest thing that is going to help you be more positive is practice.
Now it's not nearly enough to buy the cards or get an affirmation app... For this practice to be effective, aim to read them out loud to yourself every day. Your affirmations might feel like big lies for a while, but just for that moment, breathe deeply and let yourself feel the truth in your words. Feel the expansion in your body as you say your affirmations; this process rewires neural pathways, stretches your nervous system, and teaches you to have a new experience on a cellular level.
With time and persistence, your mindset will shift, and your world will change. When you change your focus, you change your experience of life.
3 Expand your awareness
Every situation looks different to different people. Where I see disaster, you may see opportunity. When we hyper focus on something, it expands and multiples. So that means if I see disaster, those disasters in my life are going to keep coming. So, if you can change your focus, you will be able to change your experience of life. Getting consumed with the challenges of life makes them that much more daunting to us, the weight keeps bogging us down. To fix this you need to fix your perception, and this comes from expanding our awareness, not focusing on the problems.
The difference between problem-focused thinking and expanded awareness can be felt in our language patterns. For example, how do you feel when you say, “I want to be fit and healthy,” instead of “I don’t want to be weak and unfit”? Obviously, we feel happier and a lot more motivated to make change when we say a positive statement. The second statement is bringing us down by making us feel like our body isn’t good enough the way it is. This is the key to so much more than expanding our awareness; this will help increase positive self-talk, boost our confidence, and make us a more pleasant person to be around.
Deciding to want something new is being willing to see things differently and visualize yourself making new healthy choices so you can internally experience a positive outcome before it happens in real life. When it does happen in real life, you’ll be ready for it to feel normal, natural, and easy.
4 View failures as lessons
“It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling
How do you feel when you fail?
For many failing feels like one of the biggest setbacks in life. Being told "no, you didn't get the job", "no, that answer is incorrect", "no, you didn't make the team", no, no, and more nos. A constant reminder that you just aren't good enough. Or is it? Perhaps these no's pave the way for something bigger; something better. Perhaps these no’s are what you needed work harder on the next exam, to make a sport team, or to get the job you want.
Hiding your mistakes and lessons only feeds the unattainable illusion of perfection, but if we reframe failure as feedback, then we can really make the most of this valuable resource. Failure is an essential part of learning and success, so be glad when it inevitably happens sometimes!
5 Catch negative self-talk
Negative self-talk is the inner dialogue you have with yourself, and it may be making you doubt many things about yourself and your dreams. Over time, we believe what we’re repeatedly telling ourselves - but this doesn’t mean it’s the truth!
First thing you are going to do is to write down all the negative things you say to yourself. Now after you have done that, I want you to ask yourself these questions:
- Would you say this to a child?
- Would you say this to a friend?
- Would you even say these things to someone you don’t like?
Now answer the questions above truthfully... I already know your answer, no. No, you would not say these negative things to anyone because they are hurtful and mean and, in most cases, not even true. We like to be miserable, our conversations with friends thrive off picking ourselves apart and acting like we aren't good enough. The important thing here is this, if you wouldn't say this to any of those people above, you should not be saying it to yourself.
Actively replace your negative self-talk with positive language that gives you more choice and support. Below are sentences that you are going to finish and say out loud to yourself every morning. In doing so we are forming a habit of positive self-talk.
- I am most proud of myself when...
- My three favorite personality traits about myself are...
- What I love about myself most is...
- My three best attributes as a friend are...
- Three things I would never change about myself are...
- My three best physical attributes are...
- Three things I would never change about my past are...
- Something I have overcome that I felt I never would be able to do was...
6 Surround yourself with positive people
There's a saying that says, "You are only as good as the company you keep". This couldn't be truer when it comes to cultivating a positive mindset. If you hang around people that say negative things all day it really starts to wear on you, and soon you start to do the same.
Your community should inspire, support, and align with the person you want to be. If they don’t, then perhaps it’s time to find a support system that will. When you live and share your truth, there will be people who no longer resonate with you. We all must find our peace with this if we want to overcome the fear of rejection. It may not happen overnight, but you will attract new people into your life when you start living your life unapologetically as yourself.
Just know that these new connections will feel so much more nourishing than the old ones did. We need to be able to form connections based on people we resonate with. To find people you resonate with, join a club, a sport team, a nonprofit; whatever it is that you enjoy doing.
7 Practice gratitude
When it comes to feeling grateful, some days are definitely more difficult than others! It’s never impossible though, and when we make gratitude a daily practice, we’re training our minds to search for the positives more efficiently.
We’re already really good at finding the negatives, even when we’re having a great day - that’s human nature. A gratitude practice is an excellent tool for shifting your focus and energy, so take a few minutes each day to write down everything you’re thankful for.
This can include even the smallest things that bring you joy like the plant at work that reminds you of summer or even bigger things that are a part of everyday life.
Other ways to practice gratitude are to smile more, cook for someone you care about, do one act of kindness daily, work to not complain for a whole day, go visit your grandparents, tell someone you love them, or even to avoid gossiping for a week.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
Lastly remember to support your mind and body with good hydration, nourishing meals, nutrient-dense superfoods and daily movement to make the shift to a positive mindset easier and more sustainable!