You don’t need to be a productivity guru to know that optimism is the grease that lubricates the gears in our minds so we can focus on success. Optimism and motivation need each other. It’s this interdependence that creates our top 10 steps to positive thinking. Use them to shift into better thinking patterns.
- Take Care of Yourself – Optimism and positivity are difficult states of mind when you’re not physically fit. There’s a direct correlation between exercise and mental clarity. Your brain gets the benefits of movement, healthy foods, and adequate rest.
- Practice Gratitude – You’re working on your thoughts and habits to cultivate a successful mindset. What does stopping to think about things you’re grateful for have to do with this? It turns out that practicing gratitude can be a powerful way to create your new successful mindset. A recent Forbes article lists 7 scientifically proven benefits.
- Search for Proof and Challenge Your Assumptions – Your left brain finds patterns and creates explanations out of what your right brain reports. You see people you know snickering after they’ve looked over at you. The left brain doesn’t have proof, but it’s got plenty of patterns and explanations to press against this. Those people are making fun of you because…
Because why? Because you think so. Unfortunately, we are often the biggest obstacles to our own positive thinking. Challenge the stories your inner dialog creates to explain what’s happening around you. Respond to proof. Refuse to react to assumptions.
- Abolish Absolutes – “ I always.” “You never.”
Absolutes leave no room for negotiation. You start and end at the same place. Successful people have discovered there’s more to be gained by leaving room for possibility.
- Remove Negative Thoughts
The storytelling left side of your brain isn’t necessarily disposed to negative thoughts. It’s what your left brain serves up if you’ve spent years or even a lifetime listening to those stories. They are just stories, though, until you search and find proof. Refer to Step 3. Catch negative thoughts. It may be difficult not to think them, but you don’t have to follow them. The more often you observe and stop the development of negative thoughts, the less that your storytelling left brain will offer them up to you.
- Say Goodbye to the “ANTs”
“ANTs” are automatic negative thoughts. They’re generally reactionary thoughts you have when you don’t know something to be true. Why does your boss want to see you at the end of the day before you leave? Must be something really bad.
Like regular negative thoughts, they’re likely just stories your left brain created to fill in the blanks of insufficient information. Observe these thoughts. Understand that they are ANTs. Send them on their way.
- Hug Somebody
Oxytocin is a brain chemical that gives us the feeling of wellbeing. A handshake or a pat on the back releases a little. Hugging someone you care about releases a lot.
- Get Social
No, not with another app on your smartphone. Build your network of friends by engaging in more social activities. Sorry, but virtual ones don’t count. Solitude is an insular state that reinforces negative thoughts.
- Help Someone Else
This is easy to do if you’re building up a professional network. Share what you know. Offer to brainstorm an obstacle. You’re setting off a chain reaction.
- Combat Rumination
Rumination, what a downer. Isn’t there a better word? Not really. Rumination is a specific sort of thinking. It’s when you repetitively think about the causes and consequences of a negative emotional experience. It’s helpful to examine a situation and learn from it. There’s nothing to be gained from the repetitive hyper-focus of rumination. No part of this thought process contributes to optimism or motivation.
How do you stop it? Change the scenery. Literally go someplace else. Often this is enough to move your attention.
If you’re thinking that there’s not much to this way of thinking, you’ve just discovered the secret. It doesn’t take much to cultivate optimism and turn it into motivation. Anyone can accomplish these 10 steps. Combine them all, and you’ve created the foundation for a more productive mindset.
Do you want to be more successful? Start with these 10 steps. For a limited time, we’re offering a free eBook called The Successful Mindset Guidebook. It’s packed full of actionable advice on how you can develop and re-program your mind for success. Download it today, while it’s still available!