Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings. These feelings lead to positive emotions. These emotions then promote positive behaviors. Finally, the positive behavior creates positive outcomes. In applying these steps to a real example, it may look something like this.
Let’s say you’re thinking about how nice it will be to spend some quality time with someone you love. Just thinking about the time you’ll spend makes you feel good. Maybe you’re feeling content, loved and happy. Those feelings lead to positive emotions such as love or joy. When you’re experiencing emotions such as love or joy, you’re more inclined to behave in a way which is in line with those feelings. Maybe you’re more supportive, loving or compassionate as a result. Because you’re more supportive or compassionate, you have more to give and behave in a manner which is conducive to showing your compassion. You may be more inclined to say or do something nice to someone, simply because you feel good.
Your random act of kindness (whether through words or deeds) may just be what the person on the other end needed. Maybe they were having a difficult day and your kind word or gesture enabled them to gain a better perspective and turn their day around. The immediate outcome may be that you’ve helped another person smile, feel valued or appreciated. The more extended outcome is that they now experience more positive thoughts which then turn it into a feeling, emotion, behavior and the cycle continues.
This entire scenario all came from just one of your positive thoughts! We have millions of thoughts throughout the course of a typical day. If more of them were positive, can you see how powerful this can be?
So if becoming a more positive thinker is on your to-do list, here are a few simple ways to begin.
1. Retrain your negative thoughts. For every negative thought you have, counter it with something positive. For example, “I’m so fat” can be countered with “I’m making healthy changes every day.”
2. Show gratitude. Here’s where you acknowledge, validate and appreciate all that you have. You recognize how blessed you are and show appreciation for all that you have and see.
3. Read positive quotes/books. Get ideas and inspiration from gurus, teachers and mentors. Learn how others create a positive outlook and get ideas from them. Also, learning from others can show you how they’ve managed difficult situations. It’s a great way to learn how they’ve turned obstacles into opportunities and used adversity as a learning tool or stepping stone to achieve something better.
4. Surround yourself with positive people. Just as how laughter is infectious, the positive thoughts, emotions and feelings from others can be infectious too. Besides being more positive, these people are also much more pleasant to be around.
5. Believe. Believe you can be a more positive thinker. You will or won’t become a more positive thinker based on your belief that you can or can’t.
6. Laugh. Not only does laughter feel good, but it’s good for your health. Studies show that laughter promotes the release of “feel good” chemicals within your body which helps to strengthen the immune system. What a funny reason to lighten up!
7. Control your thoughts. While you can’t control many things, you can always control your reaction to them. That means that an unfortunate situation can be either a minor bump in the road or a complete devastation…it’s up to you.
Throughout our lives there will be many opportunities to become angry and upset or enlightened and enriched. The choice is always yours but as long as you do have a choice, why not choose to become a more positive thinker. By helping yourself you never know just how many other lives you may touch as a result.