There is not a single person I have ever met who was not curious about how to shift their mindset from negative to positive. It seems almost magical, and if it is done properly, shifting things from negative to positive is the best way to create forward momentum in your life.

Negativity is a term with a broad scope. Negativity can come from anywhere; friends, family, even simply yourself. The hard truth is that the mind is predisposed to think negatively. By thinking negatively, our mind can constantly weigh the outcomes of actions by the potential harm those actions may bring, and in doing so, the mind attempts to keep us safe. “Better safe than sorry,” after all.

The only issue with this is when the mind hinders us from achieving great things based on the limitations it surrounds us with. Our mind has great difficulty in separating what is ultimately beneficial for us, and what may be immediately harmful.

For example, public speaking. We have laws in place that protect us from harm if we decide to make our opinions known. That being said, statistics show that we still fear public speaking more than death itself, simply because it presents what could be an immediately painful situation. More painful, in fact, than a quick death might even be.

Ultimately, I am presenting some useful and transformational steps that will aid you in converting the negatives in life into useful and abundant positives!

Keys to Converting Negatives Into Positives

Become Aware of Limiting Thoughts

In consulting, we often do little exercises called “reality checks” to bring our solutions into the light of the big picture and see if they hold up. Now, In terms of your mind, you will have to learn to do similar “reality checks” to ensure that you are not constantly worrying over things that are entirely unrealistic. In this sense, these thoughts contribute a large part to the symptom of “analysis paralysis.”

A great percentage of what we worry about never comes to pass. It stands to reason that thinking more positively is MORE realistic than thinking negatively. According to Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. worrying is the mental by-product of a lack of internal faith. This faith is necessary for ensuring you are comfortable in facing new and different situations because you are confident that you can handle all that the situation has to throw at you.

The best way to avoid limiting thoughts and worry is to sift through the worries that are inherently plausible and prepare for the effects they may have. Often times, these worries don’t come to pass anyway, but your preparation for them will enable you to feel more comfortable in taking action.

The key is to avoid preparing for possibilities that are entirely unrealistic, thereby avoiding the nature of “analysis paralysis.”

Focus on Gratitude

One of the best ways to avoid self-inflicted negative mindsets is to practice gratitude for all that you have in your life. A mindset of gratitude is predisposed with positivity, and makes you more likely to take action based on the belief that outcomes aren’t inherently negative, it is your perceptions of them that are.

Gratitude is one of the most important factors of faith: The ability to believe in something without having it appeal to your senses. Faith is at the forefront of everything we do. Why would you take any action at all if you didn’t have the faith that comes with expecting desired consequences? For example, Why would you go to work if you weren’t being paid the moment you did anything? You likely have that faith that you will be paid later.

Gratitude is the medium that allows appreciation to enter your life. And true appreciation is beneficial to your mindset as well as the lives of those around you.

Try keeping a simple gratitude journal. Write inside of it for a few minutes every night/morning. Heres a quick tip; instead of making a general list of things you are grateful for, try diving deep into the specific characteristics of a single thing you are grateful for. Doing so will help make you more genuine, and ultimately help you realize that the little things count just as much as the big things do.

A journal is a great way to practice being grateful for life and all the joy you find in it!
A journal is a great way to practice being grateful for life and all the joy you find in it!

Make a Conscious Choice

Choose to believe that positive outcomes exist for any situation. Making the conscious choice to believe that positive things will occur can shift your mindset away from all the negative things you believe might occur.

Most people believe that any negative situation will produce catastrophic effects on their lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Only when we can decide to look at the actions we take from a win-win perspective can we truly see them for what they are. There are good experiences and learning experiences, the only time an experience is bad is when you perceive it that way.

Make the best choice you possibly can in life and decide to find the benefits of any outcome that may occur. There are always benefits to be had. That man who cut you off in traffic just gave you the ability to practice patience. That failed business deal just freed up some worry and resources to pursue more lucrative opportunities. The positives can be imagined in exactly the same way the negatives can be imagined!

Making a conscious choice is not an affirmation. A conscious choice is a personal power you have to determine, from the get-go, whether you choose to be positive or negative about any situation you may find yourself in.

Never try and simply hide behind a happy face!
Never try and simply hide behind a happy face!

Acceptance, not Avoidance

Acceptance is healthy, avoidance is not. You may be thinking, “Positivity is great and all, but what do I do if I already suffer from a negative state?” It is true that negativity will occasionally occur to everyone, it is in the way we handle it that makes the difference.

We must accept negative feelings for what they are, but simultaneously choose not to give power over us. Often time, people will try to avoid negative feelings by doing certain habitual things. Negativity, in this case, being the trigger for certain habits. Avoiding negative thoughts or feelings will eventually harm the individual that bottles them up.

Like a can under high-pressure, the slightest leak is all it takes to cause the can to explode. That is why certain people who are repressing their negativity may find avenues of expressing themselves that are inappropriate and, most-likely, unintentionally harmful.

Learning to accept negative feelings is by facing them head-on, and intentionally finding the root of the issue that is within your power to resolve. Continuously question the reality of a negative feeling. Is it beneficial to your safety? Are you guarding/using it to imply victimhood? These are difficult questions, but must be asked in order to shift your state from pessimism to optimism!

Fix What is Within Your Direct Control

You are allowed to have concerns without allowing those concerns the ability to influence your mental state. It sounds difficult, and it is, but it is a simple concept. Ultimately, if you can pinpoint the trigger for a negative emotional state, you can practice your power of altering it. By focusing your personal power on what you can change about a negative situation, you will do the most you can to benefit your state of mind. Have you ever been part of a project and thought “well, I did MY share.” If so, then you have already practiced this concept.

You may be worried about things that are going on in your life. Ultimately, by altering what is within your direct power to the best of your abilities, you find confidence in your ability to handle difficult situations. It all starts with identifying the issue in the first place.

Make a list of all that is going wrong and choose the item that you feel could most benefit you if it was resolved. Focus your time and energy into resolving or minimizing the impact of that one item, then move down the list. Creating a list this way may seem counterproductive, but what it does is pinpoint the areas of life that you may need to take more control of.

Associate With Positive People

Misery loves company, but so does joy. Associating yourself with people who are routinely negative, complain about anything and everything, and only ever look at things from a minimal perspective is like setting yourself up for failure. We often adopt beliefs and behaviors based on those people that we spend much of our time with. Spend time with positive people.

Choosing different people to spend time with is like giving your mental attitude a fresh start and reboot. You will likely become much more aware of what you say, how you act, and how you should act to become more positive and optimistic. They always say, “If you are the smartest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” And I say, “If you are the most optimistic one in the room, then you are DEFINITELY in the wrong room!”

It is hard to move away from people you know, and doing so is often a result of a stronger sense of self-love than your given love for others. But ultimately, it is a worthwhile commitment to finding joy in those around you, and to think from a perspective of abundant positivity.

Conclusion

“Comfort is the enemy of progress.” – P.T. Barnum

Ultimately, it is easy to get stuck within limiting habits and mindsets. merely because we feel safe when we use them to justify our situations. We can often grow accustomed to negativity and believe that we are victims to outside forces, when in reality, we have the ability to craft the very world we live in from the inside out.

I urge you all to choose to be optimistic, and to believe that no experience occurs that does not offer with it a sense of strength and benefit. Fear is the killer of dreams and actions: And learning to think optimistically will result in the eradication of fear from your choices because you will recognize that all experiences can be beneficial to you and your life.

Hopefully, I helped you be more positive today!

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-Austin Denison