Having a positive mindset can improve your life in so many ways and has so many health benefits such as improved longevity, decreased anxiety and depression. Over the years multiple scientific studies have shown the mind-body benefits of positive thinking. Negative perceptions affect our emotions which directly affects our physiology, resulting in the stress response. Studies find that negative emotions can weaken the immune system. Positive thinking can be the greatest buffer against stress, especially chronic stress which can deplete our energy and our well-being. There is great power in positive thinking. Knowing how to cultivate it can help improve our overall health and the quality of our life significantly. Having a positive mindset is so important and it is achievable. Here are 5 practical, actionable steps that you can take towards creating a positive mindset today.

1. Exercise regularly.
Make it a goal to exercise on most days of the week. Making exercise a part of your morning routine is a great way to start the day. Research shows how beneficial exercise is in not only lifting our mood, but also in preventing chronic diseases, increasing mental clarity and energy. Make it a part of your daily routine. Do something that you truly enjoy and you’ll be more motivated to do it. There’s nothing like exercise that can boost your confidence and make you feel great.

2. Cultivate a positive social support system. Spend time with people that lift you up and that think positive. When you surround yourself with positive people it will help eliminate negativity in your life. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So be picky, and choose to be around those who have a positive mindset. Your mindset affects everything so if you are around people who are negative, eventually that will rub off on you.

3. Focus on gratitude.
This is such a powerful way to boost your mindset. Start the day by focusing on what you are grateful for. How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Try focusing on 3 to 5 things that you’re grateful for everyday and you’ll be amazed at how your life will transform. You’ll start seeing the cup as half full instead of half empty which is also such a great buffer for stress. Focusing on gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to create a positive mindset and such an incredibly effective way to boost your mood.

4. Transform negative self talk into positive self talk.
Consistent negative self talk can turn into internalized feelings and can cement your conceptions of yourself. So many of us run on auto pilot and aren’t even aware of our self talk. It is imperative that you catch yourself when you think a negative thought. Once you start noticing your thoughts you’ll get into the habit of focusing more on the positive. Our self talk is based on our self image which is based on our core beliefs. So focus on empowered beliefs instead of limiting beliefs. Question the beliefs that no longer serve you and remember that you are capable of more than you can imagine.

5. Focus on the present.
Try practicing more mindfulness during the day. By staying in the present moment you’re not worried about the future or the past. Anxiety surfaces when we get out of the present moment. Allow yourself to become fully present, to be in the moment, and become aware of all your senses- who are you with? What do you see, smell, taste and hear? Meditation, going for a walk or simply deep breathing can also help bring you back to the present moment. Mindfulness is a powerful way to foster a positive mindset.

These five tips are easy to apply to your life and can help you create a positive mindset. The more you practice positive thinking the greater benefits you’ll see in your life. As the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”