Stay Positive

We begin each year with a new start, a clean slate, an opportunity to implement some new habits. Many of us have lofty goals: losing weight, getting fit, or seeing more of some old friends. One of the greatest changes you can make to improve your life, however, does not require you to take any dramatic steps. It just requires you to reframe your thinking.

There has been a lot written and discussed in the past few years about the science of happiness. Instead of focusing on “disorders,” the past decade or so has seen researchers focusing on what brings people happiness. A positive attitude is one of those things.

But, what if you’ve lived your whole life as a “glass half empty” person? Isn’t that just your personality? Can you really change those thinking patterns and become happier? Research says yes! Even a Negative Nellie can find herself feeling better after making some adjustments to negative thought patterns.

Know a resolution is coming. When things seem particularly bad and you’re down about something going on in your life, even if it’s a dark mood, remind yourself that a resolution is coming. You won’t always feel the way you do today.

Consider yourself a friend. Next time you’re beating yourself up mentally for something you did or didn’t do, think about what you would say to a friend in the same situation. Chances are that you wouldn’t be nearly as tough on a friend as you are on yourself. Treat yourself the way you would a friend — and go easy.

Make the choice. Sometimes, we “decide” we’re upset about something and go about the business of being mad. Try telling yourself that you are deciding to look at the positive side of something. Sure, you didn’t get the house you bid on, but you might find one that is even better.

Assume positive intent. Next time you are stewing because you are upset at something a friend, family member or colleague did, ask yourself why they did it. You may think it was to upset or hurt you, but perhaps it wasn’t. Think of some alternative (and positive) intentions. Assume the intent of the action was positive. Always assume positive intent.

Taking these small steps can make a big difference in your moods, and who doesn’t want to be in a good mood?