• Some people are innately happy and optimistic about life; however, assuming a positive mindset also takes a bit of effort.
  • You can be more optimistic by first remembering to smile: smile at others, at your own reflection, and even when things don’t go your way.
  • Also, practice gratitude—take a moment out of each day to acknowledge your fortunes and say thank you to the most important people in your life.
  • Volunteering your time to help others will help you achieve a more positive mindset too, as will looking on the bright side.
  • Additionally, learn to laugh it off instead of dwell, and surround yourself with good, positive people who benefit your life.

I’m not one to brag—but I am exceptionally optimistic, and if you ask me, that’s something to brag about. I could trip and embarrass myself walking into work, spill scolding hot coffee down my shirt, and get an expensive parking ticket all in the same morning… but you won’t find me cursing out of anger or yelling in a fit of frustration. You’ll find me smiling and “looking on the bright side.”

You’re probably wondering how on earth I could smile through the nightmare-of-a-morning I’ve just described. While I’m an innately happy and positive person, I also have to work at it. Because I have the option—just like everyone else—to assume a positive or negative mindset. Fortunately, the following keep me in check and help me bring positivity to the forefront:

1. Smile.

A simple, yet effective tip to becoming a more positive person: smile. Get into the routine of smiling throughout each day. Smile at your reflection in the mirror. Smile at strangers on the street. Smile even when things go wrong. Sure, you smile because you’re happy… but smiling could also make you happy, according to multiple studies. So force a smile, even when it’s the last thing you want to do—it can drastically change how you feel for the better.

2. Practice gratitude.

Another quick and easy way to cultivate a more positive outlook on life is to count your blessings. We often forget about all we have to be thankful for: from our loved ones to our jobs to the food on our table. But taking a moment to acknowledge these fortunes will put life into perspective again… and the benefits don’t stop there. Practicing gratitude can also help you sleep better and improve your self-esteem! Time to make this a priority in your everyday.

3. Serve others.

Now, if you need a little extra boost in positivity, try doing something kind for others like volunteering at a local shelter. It’s easy to get caught up in your self-perceived misfortune but stepping outside of your struggles or even just your day-to-day routine can lend a different outlook on life. You’ll likely step away feeling good about yourself for helping others and having realized that you’re better off than previously thought.

4. Look on the “bright side.”

…or “find the silver lining”—whichever cliché you prefer. The point is that there truly is a bright side or silver lining to be discovered. Think back on that horrible morning I conjured up earlier: say, I embarrassed myself by tripping in front of my coworkers, covered myself in scolding hot coffee, and then receive a $50 parking ticket—hey, at least I didn’t suffer from any injuries from the fall, burns from the coffee, or get issued a $100 parking ticket. Sometimes it may feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, but coming up with the simplest or even silliest positives can truly help you feel better about any given unfortunate situation.

5. Laugh it off.

It’s easy to get down on yourself and succumb to the negative but consider laughing it off instead. This was my go-to technique in college—and I experienced my fair share of mishaps. Take my graduation, for example: it was freezing, rainy, and all-around unenjoyable. But instead of sulking in the negativity, my friends and I laughed it off: “Of all days, the weather had to be miserable today,” we chuckled. Choose to laugh at ill circumstances like we did, and in turn, reject negativity.

6. Surround yourself with positive people.

Last but certainly not least: keep good company. Because of my wonderful friends, I was able to laugh in my sopping wet graduation gown—without them, I guarantee I would’ve been complaining instead. This goes to show that the people you surround yourself with can have a tremendous impact on your life; so, choose those that lift you up, instead of those that bring you down. And work together to live more positive, enjoyable lives.

If you want to find out more about managing depression and depressive thoughts, consider meeting with a skilled member of the Thriveworks Newton Counseling team.