7 Steps to Cultivating a Positive Mindset

We often hear people being described as positive or negative. However, the truth is that a positive attitude is a choice, not an innate trait. You have the power to change your mindset, and committing to this change can lead you to a happier, more successful life. These seven steps will help you begin your fruitful journey towards a positive outlook.

1) Start By Acting Like A More Positive Person

Simply behaving like a positive person can shape your attitude and slowly change the way you see the world. For example, studies repeatedly show that forcing a smile can actually lift your mood and that acting like a confident person can begin to transform your self-esteem. Smile at strangers as you pass them on the street, try to eliminate negative adjectives from your vocabulary, carry yourself like you are having a wonderful day, and invite friendliness by engaging in conversation with others. At home, try to surround yourself with positive images and motivational objects that make you feel content or inspired.

2) Become More Appreciative

If you can dedicate just five minutes of your day to deliberate cultivation of appreciation, you can dramatically improve your overall mindset. Keep a notepad for this exercise and list five things you appreciate about your day. You can include anything that makes you feel happy or grateful to be alive. For example, you might note a wonderful conversation you had with a family member, something beautiful you noticed in the natural world or a success you enjoyed at work. You may be surprised by how powerful this simple activity can be; it can transform a bad mood into a calm, optimistic one.

3) Spend More Time Focusing On The Present

Most negative people live with one foot in the past in the other in the future, constantly dwelling on old regrets and worrying about the potential outcomes of new problems. One of the keys to developing a positive mindset is to turn your focus to the present, encouraging yourself to fully experience every little nuance of your remarkable life. When you start doing this, it becomes much to appreciate simple pleasures like sharing affection with a pet, taking a walk in the sun or sliding under soft bed sheets. Many people find that mindfulness exercises help to increase the ability to enjoy the present, so you might start by setting aside time to focus on your breathing and clear your mind.

Here is how to focus on the present.

4) Seek Positive Influences

It's hard to stay positive if you are surrounded by people who complain, criticize and constantly see the worst in every situation. These negative attitudes are incredibly infectious, and those who are determined to maintain this type of mindset may even ridicule you for your attempts to become more positive. As a result, it is vital to choose your friends wisely and deliberately spend time with people who are energetic, optimistic and supportive. Socializing with these people will rejuvenate your spirit and give you plenty to appreciate.

5) Don't Picture Disaster Scenarios

Whatever you want from life, picture yourself achieving your goals. Don't allow yourself to imagine failure, embarrassment, terror or confusion. Instead, build up detailed pictures of your success, happiness and pleasure. One way to reduce your tendency to imagine the worst is to remind yourself that you can deal with any situation that occurs. With enough time and effort, any difficult, stressful or sad ordeal can be transformed into a positive learning experience that secures more success in the future.

6) Share Positivity With Other People

Transmitting happiness to others is another essential step on the road to a truly positive mindset. When you are nice to people, their reactions create a feedback loop that fosters more good feelings in you and therefore encourages you to share even more positivity with others. You don't need to do anything dramatic to incorporate this practice into your life–simply make sure that you compliment people where credit is due. For example, you might tell your sister that she looks lovely in her new outfit, thank your coworker for helping you with that difficult project, remind your spouse of one of the reasons why you fell in love or congratulate someone on giving an excellent presentation. All of these little gestures make people feel great and serve your overarching goal of being a more positive individual.

7) Treat Yourself Kindly

It's important to understand that sharing positivity with others does not mean that you should dedicate all of your resources to selfless pursuits. Being a happy, successful person also involves a conscious commitment to meeting your own needs. It's impossible to stay positive if you are utterly exhausted and drained, so don't feel guilty for turning down social invitations when you need to recharge your batteries. Finally, make sure that every day of your life involves at least one act of kindness towards yourself, whether it is preparing a sensible meal, listening to a favorite song, reading a good book or sleeping a little later. Recognizing that you deserve love and care is a key part of any positive mindset.