“The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.”
Every single day we are bombarded by a constant stream of seemingly uncontrollable thoughts. In fact, the average person has about 45,000 negative thoughts a day! That’s 80% of all your thoughts taking up most of your mental real estate. When our minds become cluttered with negative thinking, we lose focus on the task at hand and forget about priorities. Thankfully, we can train our minds to resist the toxic pull of negative thinking and develop a positive mental attitude instead. The first step is learning how negative thoughts arise and to learn how to stay aware of how we respond to them.
How Did We Get Here?
Negative thoughts arise when we dwell on the past or get anxious about future events. The past becomes difficult to bear when we begin to relive the weight of shameful events, disappointments, and mull over the missed opportunities in our lives. The future can cause negative thoughts because of the sheer vastness of the unknown that lies before us. We often worry about paying bills, our careers, and other events that haven’t happened yet. We become entrenched in scenarios that we imagine for ourselves and forget about the reality of the moment. Controlling our emotions will help us to cultivate a healthy mental environment of self-awareness, discipline, and happiness. Here are 8 ways to develop a positive mental attitude:
Cultivate A Sense of Awareness Over Your Thoughts
Self-awareness will always be an important skill to practice. Controlling your thoughts is an important way to keep your emotions at ease. Create reminders to help you label negative feelings as they arise. Try putting a rubber band on your wrist to remind yourself to relax when you get anxious. Take time to slow down and figure out why you feel a certain way instead of becoming overwhelmed by the feeling itself. Learn to distinguish between harmful and positive emotions. You don’t have to believe everything your brain drops onto your lap. Train your mind to break free from instantly identifying with negative emotions.
Break The Spell and Take Action
Train yourself to break the trance of negative thinking and learn to develop physical patterns to help interrupt negative thoughts from snowballing out of control and ruining your day. Keep the rubber band on and give it a light pop when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. Get up and stretch. Declutter your mind by going out for a short walk. Allowing yourself short distractions as a way to gather and collect yourself is a great way to disassociate from the mental looping of negative thoughts.
Practice Positive Self-Talk
What we say to other people is not nearly as important as what we say to ourselves. The voice that resides in our minds can help direct us in living the kind of life we want to live and what we ultimately feel and do in the world. Creating a positive dialogue with yourself on a daily basis will help strengthen your internal perception of your capabilities. Believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities.
Related Article: Why Saying Is Believing – The Science of Self Talk – NPR
Control Your Knee-Jerk Reactions
We are responsible for our own emotional reactions. People are vulnerable to mistakes when they act on their triggers. Train your brain to be mindful of these reactions and be patient with how you choose to respond. Mindfulness meditation is a great tool for calming your brain and avoiding knee-jerk reactions to the pressures of life. It can help you measure circumstances and make better, more informed decisions rather than simply reacting. Mindfulness meditation and developing self-awareness can help us ask better questions about ourselves and the world around us. Taking 10 deep breaths can help your mind to relax and focus when you start to feel anxious, upset, or sad. Inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth. Try focusing on your breath for at least ten minutes of your day in a quiet spot. Learning to relax will help you to become more patient and focused on the reality of the moment.
Related Article: Get Motivated Through Mindfulness Meditation! Here’s How!
Develop and Practice Gratitude
One of the most important qualities in developing a positive mental attitude in life is to practice gratitude. You can practice gratitude to your friends, family, and co-workers by writing thank-you letters that express the impact they have had on your life. Practice writing a few things you’re grateful for a few times a week. You can also practice gratitude by lending a hand to those who need it. Help your neighbor with their groceries. Donate your time to helping your friend with homework. Gratitude can help strengthen connections with the people around you. It can help you develop a positive outlook on how to treat others and yourself.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
It’s important to keep people around that will inspire and challenge you to be a better person. We tend to vibe off the attitudes of people we respect and admire. Often times our mental life can be directly indicative of the company we keep. Be wary of toxic individuals. Run a mental audit of the people you surround yourself with. Ask yourself if those people make you feel good about achieving your goals. Do they support you in your endeavors? Are you happy and energized by their presence? Are you comfortable being yourself around them? Learn to find people who keep you laughing and smiling.
Get Out And Enjoy Yourself
The demands of modern life can be incredibly taxing and draining of our mental life that we sometimes forget to slow down and reward ourselves with a little fun. It’s important to learn when and how to unwind. Make time for yourself. Find healthy ways to keep your spirits up. Dedicate yourself to one of your passions and lose yourself in it. Make time for your hobbies and spend your free time with quality people. Explore different parts of your town. Sometimes it’s all about appreciating the little things that make us who we are and keep us sane.
Strive To Keep Your Life Simple
The more challenges we choose to accept in our lives, the busier and more complicated everything will turn out to be. This can make it harder to maintain a positive mental attitude. Life is about balance and simplicity. Practice maintaining a minimalist lifestyle and focus on de-cluttering your mind. Try to cut down on your to-do lists and learn to get rid of things you no longer need. You will feel lighter both spiritually and mentally.
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