"If you hear a voice within you that says you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced"
Vincent Van Gogh

Happiness

When negative thought plagues our mind is can be difficult to see through the shroud. Like a dark cloud hanging above our head negative thinking stops us from seeing the sunlight behind. It is important to learn how to think more positively in our lives. It is not something that everyone has been taught, but it is a life skill more valuable than any other. In fact, the value of positive thinking can not be understated.

The power of positive thinking can change our life. When we think positively we invite new opportunities, and fruitful experiences, and we see the best in everything. Here are 10 ways to think more positively:

1. Become Aware

Every time you feel a negative thought come into your mind, stop. Think about where it came from and how it has changed the way you feel. This becomes easier with practice, and is the first step to understanding that we do have control over our thoughts. When we stop, and become aware of our thoughts, we begin to give ourselves a choice. We can carry on thinking negatively, or we can take the trail of thought a different way, and move on. We gain some manner of control.

2. Learn to Forgive

No matter how aware of our thoughts we become, it will never amount to positive thinking unless we are able to learn how to forgive. If we remain bitter about past events, people, or about aspects of ourselves, then we will often think negative thoughts. We must forgive and move on. This is always challenging, especially when we feel someone has harmed us, but we can never live a happy life and think positively if we hold on to every wrong doing that others, and ourselves, have ever done.

3. Flip The Thought

When a negative thought arises, and we are able to become aware of it, practice the art of flipping it around. It is extremely difficult to “stop” ourselves from doing something. It’s like the “don’t think of a slimy yellow toenail” paradox. We just have to think of it. So instead of trying to tell yourself not to think negatively, tell yourself to think positively. When the negative thought arises, about a person or place, or about the self, instead train yourself to think, “what do I like about them.” The trail of thought should gently meander back towards positivity once again.

4. Make Changes

Sometimes negative thoughts can be something of a guiding light for us. They tell us when we are taking a wrong direction, when we are straying off our path. If we repeatedly think negatively about something, someone, or some aspect of our life, then it might be time to make some changes.

We can only rely on negative thoughts to act as a guide if we know we are capable of forgiveness, and of positive thinking. At this point we can be sure that a repetitive negative niggle means something more than our own insecurity. For example, if we constantly think negatively about our job, and cannot get our head around it no matter what, then perhaps the problem is not our mind, as much as our circumstance. Making changes for the better always makes us think more positively in the long run.

5. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Positive people uplift and inspire us. It is important to be aware of the company that you keep, and what effect they are having on your thoughts. If they make you feel positive and inspired, then great. If they seem to be a drain, and to speak only in negatives, then it may be wise to apply some distance. This does not mean abandoning friends when they are upset. We should be there for loved ones when they need us. It simply means in our day to day life it is crucial for our happiness that we can be around positive people.

6. Learn To Love The Little Things

Every moment is a gift. This may sound a little over the top but if you cannot realize this then you risk spending most of life thinking negatively. Big moments happen in life; peak experiences, ecstasy, love, child-like fun, and everything in between. Sometimes we feel on top of the world, at a huge festival, or watching the sun come up behind the pyramids. But let’s face it most of the time life is simple, and humble. It is a gentle breeze on the skin, and a nice warm bath. If we can appreciate the little things in life then we have much, much, more to think positively about.

7. Write A List Of Everything Positive In Your Life

It feels a little bit lame suggesting a list. A little cliché. I do think it is very relevant here though because really, how often do you actually sit down to think about all of the positivity in your life. I know I don’t generally make time for it, not often anyway. If we think about it, most of us can come up with a lot of appreciation.

Think about everyone you love, the places you enjoy seeing and going, your home and family, dogs and cats, hobbies and interests, all of the aspects of humanity and the world that you love. Think of all the experiences of life that bring you happiness, including all of the little-big things I mentioned before; the stars, the sun, the moon, the grass.

8. Slow Down

It is easier to think positively when you have the time and energy to do so. Everyone has commitments, and a large chunk of the day is often taken up by our job, or our freelance endeavors as the case may be. We must learn to use our time wisely and to enjoy the free moments for what they are. Relax and take some time to digest your day. Enjoy waking up in the morning, rather than rushing straight out of bed and out of the door. Allow your thoughts to wash over you, for at least 15 minutes every day, so that you come to understand what it is that dominates your mind. Is it mostly positive yet?

9. Meditate Or Do Yoga

Meditation, or yoga techniques, help us to slow down the pace of our thoughts, and become more aware of them from a detached position where we can observe them from the outside. When we practice meditation we feel a deep sense of peace within ourself. We cannot think negatively when we are in this state, because this state sees the value in everything, even the “bad.” We come to know ourselves, and to judge ourselves and other people less. Meditation has also been shown to relieve stress, anxiety and depression, making it an ideal tool for positive transformation.

10. Help People

Try to be a good person. There is no better way to think positively. It is not a cheap trick or a gimmick, it is a very simple and genuine premise. When we help other people we feel good and they feel good. Everyone wins. The result is that our mind starts to look for opportunity to help people, which is the form of positive thought beyond all other forms. We begin to want the best for everyone else as well as ourselves.


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