The power of positive thinking is well documented. But sometimes it can seem really challenging to be positive… especially when times are tough and things around you are falling apart.
Now, I’m not going all “woo-woo” on you… but “positivity” is not just about “turning that frown upside down” or “bucking up” or plastering on a smile when you’re feeling like crap.
Positivity is about your outlook on life, it’s an intentional focus on things that are good, and an unwavering belief that good things are on the horizon.
Positive psychology, a field dedicated to the scientific study of optimal human functioning, places great importance on positivity.
Embracing positivity is not about ignoring challenges; rather, it’s about navigating them with an empowered and hopeful mindset.
Getting unstuck starts with what you choose to believe
Imagine you and a friend set out on a challenge. It can be any challenge – to run 5km, learn a language, find a new job. One of you is focussed only on the obstacles. Why you can’t do it, what’s likely to go wrong etc. The other is fuelled by optimism. Knowing you might not get there but ready to give it a red hot try. Because, why not?
Who do you think is more likely to make it?
I know it seems counterintuitive but all those things that might go wrong, actually going wrong… or, in fact, something you haven’t even considered actually going wrong… these things are all a necessary part of the process.
The trick is to embrace them rather than fear them. When you view challenges or failures as opportunities to learn or steps that bring you one step closer to success, you start to cultivate a positive mindset.
Studies have linked positivity to improved mental and physical wellbeing, enhanced problem-solving abilities, increased resilience, and even a boost in overall life satisfaction. It’s not just about feeling good; it’s about living better.
Five tools to develop positive thinking
1. BUILD A GRATITUDE GARAGE
Start or end your day by jotting down three things you’re grateful for, big or small. A steaming cup of coffee, a thoughtful text from a friend, a child’s giggle. This simple act shifts your focus to the positive aspects of your life. You’ll build an arsenal of positivity you can deploy to counterbalance your natural human “negativity bias”.
2. CHALLENGE YOUR INNER CRITIC
Your inner critic has really good intentions! She/he/they are trying to protect you from situations that seem to present risk. But it’s time to turn the volume down on that voice whispering “you can’t” or “you’re not good enough”, and challenge it instead. Replace its negativity with positive statements like “I am capable” or “I am learning and growing.” Imagine that inner voice being your cheerleader, rather than your worst critic.
3. REFRAME THE RERUNS
Do you do what I do sometimes and invest a ridiculous about of time replaying your embarrassing moments or past failures like a broken record? Aargghhh… there’s nothing worse, right? Especially when you come up with the perfect response or solution at 3am!! That’s of no use to anyone, especially you. Instead of dwelling in the rewind, hit “fast forward” and focus on what you learned in that moment, how you grew, what you’ll do differently in future, and the amazing things you’ll achieve next.
4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUNSHINE
Your social circle plays a pivotal role. Negativity (and positivity) is contagious, so choose your company wisely. Seek out and surround yourself with positive, supportive people who inspire and uplift you. Their energy and optimism will become your sunshine, warming your spirit, pushing away the clouds of doubt and fuelling your own positive mindset.
5. CELEBRATE PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
Shift your focus from trying to make everything perfect to just making progress.You don’t need to wait to reach the summit to pop the champagne. Celebrate the small wins along the way – finishing a tough project, mastering a new skill, even conquering tidying your office or decluttering your wardrobe. Acknowledging your progress fuels motivation and maintains the momentum towards your success.
The way you think shapes your reality. Cultivating a positive mindset isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for navigating “getting unstuck”.
Are you ready to stop waiting, wishing and talking about when you’re going to do “that thing” and actually make it happen. The How to Get Unstuck podcast is full of conversations with experts and everyday people who’ve navigated being stuck and share their tips for using the “stuck” feeling as a catalyst for what comes next.