How To Be Optimistic: 15 Positive Thinking Exercises

Do you struggle to stay positive? Maybe most of the time you find you are pessimistic rather than optimistic? Do you sometimes feel that it is impossible to think positive in most situations? It can be hard to be positive all of the time, and of course, it is not possible to never have any negative thoughts.

However, if you can learn to switch your mindset a bit and practice positive thinking, this can have a great impact on your life and yourself in general. I am going to give you 15 positive thinking tips and techniques that you can try to help with positive thinking. Firstly, let’s take a look at why it is important to be optimistic.

Why Is It Important To Be Optimistic?

When you are in a negative mindset and feeling down it can be really hard to not show it to others. This can affect your friendships, relationships, self-esteem and much more. When we are optimistic and positive, this can really help us to achieve the most out of life. Being positive can cause us to feel better about ourselves, help us feel more open to new things and keep us energized and focused on our goals.

Being positive can also help you with your friendships and relationships as you will be giving off a happy energy and are likely to have that back in return too. When you find exercises that work for you, it can become a lot easier to become more optimistic and positive in your day to day life.

15 Positive Thinking Exercises

If you want to feel generally more positive and would like to learn how to be optimistic, then try giving some of these positive thinking exercises a go and see what works for you.

1. Believe You Will Succeed

In order to feel more positive, you will need to start believing in yourself.

When you believe in yourself, you are showing great self-worth and care. Try not to get scared by the fear of failing or not reaching your goals and know that even if you do make a mistake, you can try again.

Believe that you will achieve your goals and you are one step closer to doing so. Remember that any mistake made is just a lesson to learn from.

2. Practice Positive Affirmations

Positive daily affirmations are great for keeping you optimistic and reminding you of the good things in your life.

Positive affirmations are statements you repeat to yourself every day that make you feel good. For example, if you are struggling with low self-esteem, you would repeat ‘I am beautiful’ to yourself in the mirror, this could be in the morning or whenever you would prefer.

When you keep repeating these affirmations you are reminding yourself of these positive statements and can start to believe in them more and more.

visualization-tools3. Make Peace With The Past

The worst thing to do is dwell on the past, especially when you are trying to stay optimistic and positive.

Do you often find yourself thinking about something bad that happened in the past or moments where you felt embarrassed or angry?

When we do this our emotions still change even though we are no longer in the situation itself.

Try and let go of the past and focus on the present. You cannot change anything that has happened or anything that could happen, so it can really help you to try and focus on living in the now and being present.

4. Use The Mirror Technique

You may have never heard of the secret mirror technique, but if you have, you will probably understand how easy and helpful this technique can be. In the morning and in the evening, stand in front of a mirror, look at yourself and start saying what you like about yourself.

Give yourself confidence, praise yourself and tell yourself how great you are. Doing this can really start to change your mindset and help you with your confidence. You can start to feel much more positive and optimistic about yourself and your life.

5. Breathe

Breathing may seem like a very simple and little thing to do, but you may be surprised at how it can help you to stay positive. When we are worried and stressed we often make decisions quite quickly without thinking.

If you can stop and take some long deep breaths, you can then focus on your breathing for a little while, whilst clearing your head. This can help you to think rationally and become more positive even if you are in a stressful situation. This can also bring you back to stay in the present moment, which is great for helping you to switch your mindset.

6. Go Easy On Yourself

Something that most of us tend to do is judge ourselves and put ourselves down. A lot of people have a fear of failing or making mistakes and will put themselves down if they do make a mistake.

Try and go easy on yourself, forgive yourself for any failures and understand that you can learn from your mistakes.

7. Fill Your Mind With Positive Thoughts

Try and find things in your life to be positive about. Remind yourself of them and maybe write them down.

If you can do this each day, and find things that happened which were great that day or something you were proud of, it can really help you to start feeling more optimistic about life. This can make it a lot easier to start thinking more positively.

8. Express Gratitude

Practicing gratitude can be a great way to change your mindset into being more positive and optimistic. There are many ways you can practice gratitude, including gratitude journals or reminders.

Find things from your day that you were thankful for, such as a sunset, no traffic or a having a great day at work and write these down at the end of the day. This can help you to reflect on the good that is happening around you.

9. Use Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis can really help you achieve a new positive mindset.

When we take part in self-hypnosis we are opening our highly conscious state of mind to follow instructions. This means that we can be much more open to positive words and suggestions, which can start to train our mind to be more optimistic and happy. Be sure to research and find out more about how self-hypnosis could help you.


10. Create Realistic Goals

If you are making unrealistic goals for yourself you are much more likely to fail no matter how hard you try, which can understandably, make you feel frustrated and negative.

Try and set achievable and realistic goals for yourself, a step at a time, so that it is a little bit easier for you and you will be more motivated and excited to get started on your goals. Which should then hopefully help you to feel more optimistic.

11. Read An Inspiring Book

Sometimes it can be quite hard to get inspired, especially if you are not able to find anything that inspires you right now.

It’s always a good idea to read an inspiring book and you can start to feel much more optimistic and motivated after reading about someone else's successes. It can also help you to see how far someone else has come, even when faced with challenges like you may be.

12. Develop A Personal Mantra

A Mantra is much like a positive affirmation, but you typically will develop your own personal mantra to repeat to yourself. Make sure your mantra are words that inspire you and can remind you to stay positive each day. You can repeat these to yourself in meditation or whenever you feel most relaxed and calm.

13. Remind Yourself Of Your Blessings

Just like when you remind yourself of how great you are, you should also remind yourself of all your blessings. These types of things could be your family, friends or even smaller things such as having a roof over your head.

You could even tell your family and friends what your blessings are so you are also saying them out loud and repeating it to yourself.

14. Only Use Positive Words When Talking

When you are talking to others and even yourself, try and stick to using positive words only, and refrain from any negative words.

You should try and stop using words such as ‘no’, ‘can’t’, ‘won’t’ and ‘don’t’, and replace them with more positive words. This way you are changing your physical words and your brain can start getting used to a more positive language.

15. Stop Making Excuses

To be more positive, you should try and stop putting up barriers over new challenges. You may even be making excuses with regards to things that could have a chance of making you feel happier, and not even know. Try and say yes a little bit more and dim the voice in the head telling you that you cannot do it.

I hope you can find some positive thinking exercises that will work for you and be sure to put them into practice every day. Also, you can take a look at our article on why positive thinking can boost your physical health.