10 simple ways to build a positive mindset

10 simple ways to build a positive mindset

Written by Matthew Ainsworth | Thursday 7th Jul 2022 |

The way you look at the world is important, and having a positive mindset will put you in a position to lead a happier and healthier life.

The power of a positive mindset

Did you know the way you think has a bigger impact on you than just affecting your mood?

Growing evidence has linked positive psychology to lowering the risk of poor health outcomes, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology affirmed associations between a positive mindset and causes of death including cancer, heart disease, strokes, respiratory disease, and infection.

The study concluded that optimism was “broadly and robustly associated with a lower risk of mortality”.

Positive thinking also makes you more likely to engage in healthy behaviours, such as physical activity, eating healthy, and getting plenty of rest.

If you’re wondering how you can improve your outlook on life, check out our 10 tips below that will help you to bring a little more sunshine into your life.

1. Stay active

Woman jogging to help boost her positive mindset

Whether you’re heading to the gym, doing a home workout, or simply making a commitment to keep moving throughout the day, staying active is a great way to boost your positivity.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

But they also trigger positive feelings in the brain and give you a little rush. This feeling will leave you feeling energised and ready to take on the world.

2. Make changes to your vocabulary

Positive language boost happiness and positive mindset

The way in which you verbalise your thoughts can have an impact on your outlook on the world and your future actions.

Making simple changes to your vocabulary to remove words that carry negative connotations will help you to build a more positive outlook.

Here are a couple of examples of how you can make changes to your vocabulary:

  • Swap “I’ve got to” for “I get to”
  • Swap “I’m too tired” for “I need to let my body rest and reset”
  • Instead of saying “I can’t” do something, tell yourself “I will, but first I need to…” and take smaller actions towards your goals

TOP TIP: Think about how you can turn negative words into solution-based words.

3. Tap into your creativity

Woman painting to improve her positive mindset

Having a creative outlet can do wonders for your mindset.

Creative outlets help to reduce stress and allow you to see the world through a brighter lens.

Cortisol is the hormone that triggers your ‘fight or flight’ response. When you find yourself in a stressful situation, or feeling anxious, your body will release this hormone to try and negate the effects.

A 2016 study measured the level of cortisol in participants’ saliva before and after a 45-minute art-making session. The results showed participation in the session resulted in a reduction of cortisol for around 75% of the participants.

4. Set up your environment for success

A tidy home office set up to promote a positive mindset

Have you ever heard the saying ‘A tidy home means a tidy mind’?

Well, there’s a lot of truth in that. Your environment plays an important role in how you see the world around you and can help to improve your mindset.

Think about how you can enhance your space to promote positivity.

Having spaces that allow you to differentiate between different aspects of your life is also important. If you work from home, create a dedicated workspace that doesn’t encroach on your social life, or areas where you relax.

That way, when you log off you can walk away and leave the stress of work behind.

TOP TIP:Β Make clearing clutter a part of your evening routine. Removing the mess and waking up to a tidy space will set you in the right mindset for the day ahead.

5. Create a gratitude journal

Keeping a daily gratitude journal will boost your positive mindset

Gratitude has been shown to be linked to positive mental well-being.

According to the Harvard Medical School, “[g]ratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

A journal is a simple way to make sure you’re expressing your gratitude on a daily basis and reaping the benefits.

TOP TIP: Take 5 – 10 minutes at the start or end of each day to make a note of the things you are grateful for. This will help steer your mindset towards greater positivity.

6. Reward yourself

Woman getting a massage as a reward to encourage positive mindset

Positive reinforcement encourages positive thinking.

Rewarding yourself for a job well done and allowing yourself a treat will encourage positive behaviours. If you’ve set yourself a goal and you meet it, think about how you can reward yourself.

Whether you treat yourself to a massage, add a new item to your wardrobe, or go to dinner at your favourite restaurant, celebrating your little wins will help build positive associations with a task. This will help them become easier to complete in the future.

Completing something you’ve been dreading and rewarding yourself for it will soon shift your perception of the task and give you a more optimistic outlook next time it comes around.

7. Let go of your expectations

Woman feeling free after letting go of her expectations for a positive mindset

Are you holding yourself back by striving for perfection?

Perfection just doesn’t exist and quite often our desire to present an idealistic representation of ourselves has a negative impact on our mindset.

We come up with expectations in our heads, and these aren’t always rooted in the reality of a situation. They’re just what we think will happen and when they don’t, we experience disappointment which develops into a negative way of thinking.

Letting go of your expectations allows you to regain control over your happiness.

When thinking about outcomes, ask yourself whether the action will help propel you towards a goal. If the answer is no, then don’t set yourself an expectation for its outcome.

8. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

A nutritious diet promotes a positive mindset

You don’t need us to tell you that eating a well-balanced diet is good for your body, but did you know it’s also great for the mind?

The British Dietic Association highlights, “[w]hen you don’t eat enough nutrient-rich foods, your body may lack vital vitamins and minerals, which may affect your energy, mood and brain function.”

Eating a well-balanced will also help your body to regulate its blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar is associated with a lack of energy, low mood and even depression.

A nutrient-dense diet will help sustain your energy and optimistic outlook throughout the day.

9. Get plenty of sleep

Woman getting a good night's sleep to boost positive mindset

“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed”

If you’re not getting enough quality sleep you might experience a lack of energy, fatigue, irritability, and low mood.

If you’re consistently missing out on getting enough hours of sleep it can even lead to other health problems such as depression, heart disease and diabetes.

Studies have shown that sleep plays an important role in processing our emotions.

The Sleep Foundation summarises that “a lack of sleep is especially harmful to the consolidation of positive emotional content.”

Aiming to get 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep per night will help with mental processing and will stop you from waking up on the wrong side of the bed by boosting your positivity.

10. Take a moment to be mindful

Woman practising mindfulness exercise for positive mindset

Mindful exercises and controlled breathing can stimulate positive thinking.

Being mindful isn’t all about meditation (though it is a great practice to help zone out and relieve stress) – you can take a moment to be mindful at any time of day.

Mindfulness helps you to become more self-aware, feel calmer and less stressed, feel more able to choose your thoughts and feelings, cope with difficult thoughts, and be kinder to yourself.

Notice how thoughts come in and out of your mind. This will make you more aware of how you process the world around you and help you identify negative thoughts and feelings you can rid yourself of.

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Written by Matthew Ainsworth

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