6 Ways to Have a More Positive Outlook and Cultivate Greater Happiness

A wildflower field showing a positive outlook

Knowing how to have a positive outlook is essential for cultivating more joy and happiness in daily life.

It’s hard to get motivated and pursue your goals when you have negative thoughts and feelings about your future.

Cultivating a positive view of what’s possible for you can transform your relationship with life, bringing a greater sense of vitality, purpose and fulfillment.

And this can be easily done with some simple shifts in your mindset and daily habits.

1. Stop Negative Thoughts

The journey to a more positive outlook starts with changing your thoughts. Negative thought patterns are often to blame for maintaining a bleak outlook on the future.

To turn these thoughts around, the Mayo Clinic tells us that “positive thinking often starts with self-talk.” They describe self-talk as, “the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head.”

So, as negative thoughts pop into your head, try to internally shift them into positive or even neutral thoughts. For example, if you’re running late for work, you might catch yourself thinking something like, “I’m always late for work. I’m such an idiot!”

When a thought like this comes up, pause for a moment and ask yourself if it’s really true. Are you always late for work?

There’s a good chance you make it early or on time most days, so try to focus on those positive moments instead of beating yourself up about the odd time you’re late.

2. Identify Areas to Change

Is there an area of your life that you find mentally or physically draining?

It could be a negative work environment, a toxic friendship or relationship, or unproductive down time.

Any of these situations can lead to increased anxiety, unnecessary stress, and a feeling of overall dread about the future. Why would you want to subject yourself to any amount of time in an atmosphere where you are not able to feel comfortable or at ease?

To turn this around, start by determining which person, place, or thing routinely conjures a sense of overall unease for you. Then begin formulating a plan of action to remove it from your life.

3. Incorporate a Healthy Lifestyle

Consciously making more positive decisions about your overall health and lifestyle will help you feel better about yourself and your future.

This doesn’t mean you need to train to become the next Olympic runner or stop eating your favorite foods altogether. But the physical and mental effects of eating less sugar and exercising a bit more throughout the week can be life changing.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not only does physical activity strengthen bones, decrease your risk for many health conditions, and allow for longer life span, it also helps keep you mentally stronger.

The CDC confirms that your thinking, learning, and judgment skills continue to sharpen with regular physical activity. Physical activity also promotes better sleep and less anxiety, which in turn will help you feel your best.

4. Find an Activity You Love

To cultivate a more positive outlook, it’s important to have things to look forward to in your life. This could be a monthly art class, sitting at the park bird watching, or joining a book club or a local sports team.

Finding an activity that brings you joy will make you smile, feel good, and forget any worries about the future.

And as a bonus, you might get to meet other people who share similar passions as you, and who may become valued friends and partners in your future journeys.

5. Practice Gratitude Every Day

According to Harvard Medical School, gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness.

The Science of Gratitude, by The Greater Good Science Center, outlines several benefits from practicing gratitude, such as increased resiliency, reduced risk of experiencing burnout in the workplace, increased positive mood, and more satisfaction with life.

Try spending five minutes at the beginning and end of each day saying or writing down specific things you are grateful for. You could also practice yoga or meditation where gratitude plays a major role.

Practicing gratitude in this way will also remind you of how much abundance you already have, and can continue to look forward to in the future.

6. Surround Yourself with Positive People

“Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people – people who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams, and applaud your victories.”

~ Jack Canfield

Success at any level can be tough to achieve without a circle of uplifting and positive support around you. So make sure you purposefully engage with people who have uplifting energy at work, at school, in stores, and online.

On the other hand, be aware of times when you get drawn into complaints and negative conversations with certain people in your life.

This is a red flag, and you should take steps to stop these sorts of exchanges – even if it means distancing yourself from people who have a negative influence on you.

You CAN Have a Positive Outlook

How you feel about your future is not set in stone. To the contrary, it’s often influenced by factors such as your thought patterns, physical health, daily activities, and social contact.

And all these factors are within your control. You can easily have a more positive outlook on life by starting to make some small and simple changes to your daily routine like we’ve discussed in this article.

Before you know it, you’ll be feeling more joyful and making big plans for your bright future ahead.

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