3 Easy Ways To Stay Positive In Life
You’ve probably heard the term “power of positivity” quite often, usually thrown around by lifestyle coaches and gurus. That’s because it’s a widely acknowledged belief that by being positive you can live a happier and more fulfilling life.
It wasn’t just made up by someone, however. That belief is also a cornerstone in positive psychology, which is basically “the scientific study of what makes life most worth living.”
And at the top of the things that make worth living is being positive. Not only does it strengthen our overall mindset, mental well-being, and how we perceive life in general, it also makes day to day life much more bearable.
Yet somehow a lot of people struggle with it, so the most common questions always remain the same – “how to stay positive” and “how to be positive?”
All the experts might be able to do it now, but if you asked any of them, they’d admit that it was a struggle at first. And even now, being positive isn’t nearly as easy as being negative for them.
But why is that?
The inevitability of negativity
There probably have been times when you had an amazing day, but just one bad moment or encounter made your mood go sour.
You tried to keep the negativity down, but eventually, it took over and you didn’t fully enjoy anything from that point on.
It doesn’t mean you’re weak mentally because that’s a normal thing to happen and here’s why…
Our minds and overall cognition is greatly influenced by what’s known as the “The Negativity Bias.” It’s a notion that has been studied in cognitive science for many years now and has gathered a lot of substantial proof and evidence to support it.
The short explanation is that negative things have more impact on us than neutral or positive things, even if they should have the same emotional value.
For example, imagine tasting a really delicious ice cream. Shortly after you accidentally drop it on the ground.
The normal response is to feel upset over dropping the ice cream. Even the really good taste doesn’t seem as important anymore, which can cause you to forget about it entirely.
What if you flip the positive and negative sides of this event?
Now imagine the ice cream tastes really bad. Then you accidentally drop it on the ground.
While dropping the ice cream might’ve given you a feeling a relief (since you won’t have to eat it anymore), you probably won’t care about that feeling soon after. What remains is only the memory of a bad tasting ice cream.
Both of these examples are simple proof that our brains tend to lean towards negativity. Try to think about similar episodes in your life and you’ll soon start noticing that pattern.
All of a sudden being positive may seem even trickier, but please don’t get discouraged, that’s also the negativity bias at work!
If other people can do it so can you! Even then, simple encouragement doesn’t work for everyone, so let’s continue with something more actionable…
Negativity isn’t all bad
A common misconception is that all positivity is good and all negativity is bad, so some people even try to obsessively eliminate any and all negativity in their lives.
Yet again, that’s just the negativity bias at play. What most people tend to forget is that no matter who you are, your life is a collection of ups and downs, filled with both positive and negative experiences.
So the actual truth is that too much of anything is bad for you. Whether it’s positivity, negativity, water, food, sunshine, or love.
Yes, being positive can be very useful for powering through tough times. But excessive positivity can make your life worse, causing you to get too used to being in a bad situation.
You keep reminding yourself that your crappy job is fine. It’s not fine, life isn’t perfect if you just close your eyes to the negativity. That’s simply escaping reality.
You’re not stuck, you choose to be stuck. Instead, feel the anxiety and take appropriate measures to fix your situation. That’s the real purpose and meaning of negative emotions.
On the flip side, excessive negativity leads to things like:
- Thinking our lives are much worse than they actually are
- Anger, jealousy, anxiety, and depression
- Eating disorders, lack of appetite
- Feeling stuck and powerless even you have the ability to make your life better
- Affecting the people around you and making their lives worse
- Losing sleep, getting tired more easily, and feeling tired all the time.
And the list goes on and on…
All of those things are good enough reasons why you’d want to get rid of negativity altogether.
Surprisingly enough, that’s not all negativity can bring you, even though we might not immediately recognize it. They say it’s a “healthy” dose of skepticism for a reason.
Let’s say you always set your expectations low no matter the event or occasion. When something good happens, it’s much easier to feel happy or even elated.
Or when you think more about negatives of things, it’s easier for you to avoid mistakes and produce better arguments than those who think positively.
The more closely you look at negatively as a whole, the easier it becomes to see the benefits, even if they are much lower in the count than the benefits of being positive.
What I’m trying to say is that getting rid of all negativity and simply being positive won’t necessarily lead to a better life. You can’t properly drive a bike if you just lean towards one side.
So what do we do? Yep, you’ve guessed it…
Keeping balance in all things
What’s important to understand that positivity and negativity are two sides of the same coin. Without one we wouldn’t know the other exists.
If you don’t have negativity to remind you why positivity is good, positive thoughts about life will soon lose meaning.
For example, knowing sadness helps you better appreciate happiness, experiencing optimism lets you better understand pessimism, and so on.
It’s the power of juxtaposition and contrast…
Having both negativity and positivity in your life also creates a pulling and pushing effect. You’re pulled by the positive outcome and pushed forward by the possible negative outcome.
It’s safe to say that if your goal is being positive, the real solution is keeping an intricate balance between positive thinking and negative thinking.
While the negativity bias makes this a bit tricky, the best approach is to just pile on positivity until your life feels good again.
The amount changes from person to person, so there’s no exact ratio of positivity to negativity you should be aiming for.
In 2005, the psychologists Fredrickson and Losada supposedly found the perfect ratio (3:1) and called it the “Losada Line.” While the ratio was debunked in 2013, the other ideas of the two psychologists still hold value – it’s all about balance.
However just knowing that you need to keep balance isn’t all that helpful, so let’s continue on with some balancing methods to help you in being positive and unlock the power of positive thinking…
Balancing Method 1: Don’t Limit Your Perspective
Have you ever wished for happiness and then you became happy? Did you expect a certain outcome and then it came true?
It’s a mere coincidence in most cases, but people started calling this the law of attraction. It’s now one of the most popular beliefs in new thought philosophy.
This belief has no scientific basis, with most experts just viewing it as something anecdotal and completely useless. Even then, there’s something of value to be gained here.
What it comes down to is a matter of perspective.
While calling it a pseudoscience is enough to dismiss the law of attraction in the minds of most people, it’s just the “negativity bias” in action. This is where maintaining the balance comes into play.
Try to see the positives of the law of attraction as well. It’s beneficial to some people, so it works to some extent, right? What you have to do is determine what makes it work.
Here it’s less about make-believe wishes and outcomes, but more about the power of visualization. You quite simply visualize your path to success.
Or in this case, you visualize your path to being positive. A goal without a plan is simply a wish, but visualizing things is very similar to planning.
Visualize something long enough and you’ll start taking the appropriate steps towards that goal, consciously or subconsciously.
With it comes all the added benefits of being happy, confident, and leading a better life.
All of this is possible only if you don’t limit your perspective, thinking, and actions. If you balance the negativity with some positivity. Keep looking for that silver lining!
With that said, onto the next method…
Balancing Method 2: Surround Yourself With The Right People
Take a moment and look at your current life. Are you being positive or are you being overly negative? No matter the answer, it’s less about your situation and more about the people in your life.
We, as social beings, are largely affected by the people we interact with on a daily basis. Spend enough time in a negative crowd and you’ll become negative yourself.
That isn’t to say everyone around you should always be positive. If you ever notice that everyone is, chances are, you might’ve become a member of some cult.
Here again, it becomes a balancing act. You either seek out more people that make you happy. Or you get rid of the people that make you miserable.
In either case, being positive becomes much easier. Sometimes it even happens by itself.
That very positivity, like positive words, a positive attitude, and positive interactions, will also reflect on other people in your life, even to the people that usually aren’t positive.
There’s no reason that annoying boss should infect you with his negativity. The choice to have positive thoughts about life is yours, don’t be limited by your perspective.
All it takes is just one person to change your life, for better or worse…
Balancing Method 3: Exercise Regularly
This is something we generally overlook due to a variety of excuses. We don’t have time, we’re too tired, we’re too lazy, or whatever we can think of.
In most cases, it’s just us hearing tales of people working out for 2 hours each day. This is why we automatically assume that’s what we’d also have to do. Otherwise, there’s no point, right?
The truth is, any and all exercise goes a long way. It doesn’t matter if it’s for an hour, 30 minutes, or even just 5 minutes.
Exercise makes you have more energy for daily activities and tasks, including work. It strengthens your body, making you healthier while also letting you sleep better.
There are many more benefits, but the main takeaway is – exercise helps with being positive. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body, after all.
This might be an extreme example, but you’ve probably heard of Terry Crews.
Yep, that guy. He’s like the embodiment of positivity and energy even though he’s almost 50(!).
Imagine if you had even a tiny bit of that positivity and energy from doing even 5 minutes of his daily workout?
How much better would your life be?
Even if it might be a little tiring or painful at first, it’s just yet another balancing act to make being positive that much easier.
It’s Time To Make A Choice
Being positive isn’t a destination, it’s a journey — it’s simply living your life to the fullest, so what method you choose is entirely up to you.
You can broaden your perspective, you can meet new people, you could exercise, or you can choose from many other methods that helped countless people.
Like reading positive thinking tips, books, and articles. Or taking up a positive thinking technique, exercise, or challenge.
Among the many methods, however, there’s one method that stood out to me. It wasn’t a method of being positive, but it changed my life for the better, so positivity came as a side-effect.
What’s the method you ask? Well, it’s The Empowered Method. Why not try out it yourself? (click on the book below)
That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on both positivity and negativity, your take on life, and anything else you’d like to add!
Also, let me know if there’s anything you’d like to read about next. I appreciate your feedback!
Until then, keep being positive. See you next time!
Here’s a superb technique for maintaining positive thinking from Brendon Burchard.