I was talking to a good friend recently and he asked me, “Mike, can you just write a blog on how to be positive? I turn on the news at the moment, and I just….I’m struggling. Could you write something to help with this please?”

Can you relate to this? So many people at the moment are finding their everyday lives very difficult. We feel overwhelming negative and stressful emotions, there are moments of extreme stress and despair, we are having to deal with so many situations and circumstances that are totally new and feel very alien. I speak with a lot of people and they are hurting. So what can we do?

Firstly, I want to say that whatever situation you are going through I am sure you are doing your best. There’s not many of us that start out the day determined to be miserable and unhappy, to have low standards and upset others. Every one of us began as a beautiful baby full of unlimited potential. But as we move from innocence to experience, often through our own ignorance, we take many knocks, cuts and bruises and they can add up over time. So the suggestions that I offer here are not judgmental in any way of you or your life. They are open hearted suggestions for you if you are, like my friend, wanting to think, feel and live in a way that is more positive and happy.

Here is a 3 part framework that you can use to improve yourself and any of your abilities, applied in this case to the desired outcome of positivity and happiness:

Information
Thinking techniques
Practical tools

In over ten years of teaching and training propel from aged 4-70 and from all around the world I’ve realised they to learn, be successful and make changes in your life you need to use and apply all three components.

Information

Firstly, to be more positive you need to have access to more positive material. So make it a priority to find it! There’s so much on the internet- start with just a google search of positive quotes, positive news stories, positive people. Watch videos, read articles, take in lots of positive information. One of the best things to do is to learn about real life people who have been and done hugely positive things with their life. Some great ones to get your started are:

Les Brown
Louise Hay
Jackie Chan
Tony Robbins
Oprah Winfrey
Jim Kwik
Ellen

In order to think and do more positively, you need to have the information that begins the process. Negative news tends to get a lot more coverage, and so looking for authentic positive people, stories and resources that inspire you is a bit like digging for gold. But it’s out there, and massively valuable to you.

Positive action

Research one positive person today, print off a picture of them and memorise a positive story about them to share with someone you love.

Thinking techniques

So once you have the information, that’s a good start but only step one. You can forget up to 50% of the information that you learn in a 24 period, so we need to do more to help make the positivity a regular part of your life. And this is where you use thinking techniques to train your brain.

One of the best ways to train your brain to think in a better, more positive way, is with calibrated questions. These are very specific questions that you ask yourself daily to help guide your thinking and promote a specific positive response; which your brain will then think about regularly. This will massively help to increase your positivity and happiness.

Begin asking yourself these questions every day. You could start by asking a different one of these each day for a week:

Who do I love the most in my life?
What opportunities are available to me at the moment?
Who can I help today?
What huge difficulties in my past have I already overcome?
What would I like to improve about my life today?
What successes do I want to have today?
What am I grateful for in my life?

Once you begin to ask yourself these questions regularly you will be training the reticular activating system (RAS) part of your brain that filters information in and out. It enables you to pay more attention to what you think about and feel strongly about. So by thinking about the positive questions, your brain will look for more information out in the world to help you achieve this. For example, if you are thinking about being grateful regularly, you will soon become aware that all experiences contain an opportunity to practise gratitude.

Positive action

Use the positive thinking questions, choose one for each day and repeat them throughout the day for a week. Then repeat this four times for a month. It can take your brain around 3-4 weeks to begin to begin to think in different way more naturally.

Positive Actions

So once you are consistently taking in new positive information each day, and focusing your thinking in a more positive way, you need to do something with all this positive potential, or it will go to waste. Here are two well meaning approaches that often get mixed up and mis understood in life. Often we either try to help others so much that we can forget and neglect ourselves, or we spend too much time on ourselves and become either guilty or neurotic and self centred.

It’s been my experience working with clients that the more positive actions they take in taking care of themselves, the better a place they are in to then take care of others. You can, and should aim for both- positivity and happiness for both yourself and your loved ones- and I would also suggest our whole human family too!

Here are some simple positive actions that you can take to look after yourself. Try out each one and enjoy knowing that you are taking positive actions to be well for yourself and for others:

Cook home made meals for yourself often

Listen to music daily

Have a morning routine that gives you plenty
of time to get going in the morning

Read often- something you enjoy

Take time to sit and dream what you want for your life

Have regular hot bubble baths

Take good care of your home and clean it often- one great way is to spend 20 minutes cleaning just one room a day

Spend time alone enjoying just being you

Write a list of all your accomplishments so far and read it often

If you have a health condition(s), make sure you have adequate stocks of the medicine and pain relief that you may need

Once a week get a pen and paper and do some big planning for your life and just dream on the page!

Doing just some of these positive actions regularly will elevate how well you are treating yourself, which is more important than ever if you may be going through a tough time. And when you go out into the world or if you share your home with others, make time for these positive actions to help others:

Cook home made meals for your family

Tell people regularly why you love them

Find ways and means to regularly give- your times, your money, your energy, your skills

When someone talks to you, really listen- people can always tell

Give gifts spontaneously, just because you can
Make the effort to create memories and special moments

Learn some jokes off by heart and tell them to people

Learn an inspirational story and teach it to someone

Consider- what do people really need right now?- and do your best to provide solutions

Positive action

Pick one positive thing from the list for you and the list for others and begin doing them today!

Final thoughts

To experience more positivity in your life you can’t just do some things occasionally, think a few new thoughts or watch one video. You need to make a consistent effort to make it an important part of your life. And it’s such a good habitual practice to cultivate! You can become happiness, healthier and more positive, it is definitely possible.

Remember

Take in new positive material regularly
Train you brain with positive open ended questions
Then do the positive actions that will help to bring joy and happiness into your life, your loved ones and those around you.

Go make it happen! I wish you ever increasing joy and long lasting happiness

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