“Staying positive” is one of those vague, abstract things we try to do when we’re having a bad day—but it’s more worthwhile than you think. Improving your mental outlook and learning to overcome obstacles like negativity, fear, and stress can attract better opportunities and help you achieve greater success, according to behavioral strategist and author of Mastering The Mental Edge, Mike Basevic. “[Everyone] will benefit from learning to understand their emotions and insecurities, and how to quickly move through them,” he says.
Today, let’s take a vow to kick negative thoughts to the curb and make ourselves available for all the opportunities the universe wants to throw our way—consider this our metaphorical arms-raised-in-the-air, yelling-at-the-world Garden State moment.
Keep reading for six practical ways to kick your negative thoughts to the curb!
Just like Unplugged founder Suze Yalof Schwartz said about acceptance over denial in meditation, Basevic says that the first step in improving your mental outlook is to accept your circumstances and challenges—not fight against them. “When we’re aware and accepting of all emotions as temporary experiences, we will expand consciousness to remove internal roadblocks,” he says. “If not, we are only expanding our opportunity to experience struggle each day.”
Next time you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed by stress, grief, or other negative emotions, take a deep breath, accept that these emotions are a part of life, but are only temporary, and try to move forward.
Studies have shown that exercise release endorphins—or what we like to call your brain’s happy chemicals. Basevic says the same: “Exercise is known to help alleviate stress, which in turn will help create a better internal state of being and [draw] better experiences to you.” He says it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you add it to your regular regiment four to five times a week.
Ever heard the term “find your happy place”? It’s based on the idea that our thoughts have amazing power and energy—and consistent thoughts about our goals will bring these images into our actual lives. Take 10 minutes a day to get into your happy place and picture yourself achieving all the goals you have for yourself. You’ll open your eyes and feel more motivated—try it if you don’t believe us.
Even the most disciplined person still needs a source of inspiration. Finding something (or someone) who inspires you is a key to staying motivated and positive. Find something that fuels you towards your goals and expands your creativity, and go back to it every time you hit a roadblock or feel discouraged.
Sometimes, all it takes is the first step—which can often be the scariest. “All efforts will be ineffective if we don’t take the necessary action to manifest your goals,” Basevic says. For example, if you’ve been thinking about starting your own blog for the past few months but haven’t made any progress, take the small step of registering a domain name, or even telling one other person about your plans. The littlest step can be all it takes.
If you’ve been feeling down, reach for a good book—or sign up for a class. “Education is an invaluable tool,” Basevic says. Learning something new—it doesn’t matter if it has to do with your specific goal—will feed your mind and give you a sense of accomplishment, which can lift you out of even the deepest funk.
How do you stay positive when the circumstances are against you? Tell us below!