Improve Your Life by Adopting a Positive Mindset

Find out how to strengthen your relationships with others and yourself

Words by Kylie McDaneld
April 1st, 2019

In the last few years, I’ve discovered a lot about what it means to be happy. I’ve tried spending money on luxury items, going on vacation, spending more time with people, spending less time with people… you name it. Most of us, myself included, are searching for happiness at the root of it all. It’s human nature to crave the feeling of being content in life. The times I’ve been the happiest are the times I’ve just focused on positivity and improving my relationships. That’s it. The only thing I changed was my mindset, and that created a ripple effect in every aspect of my life. My relationships were healthier, my friendships were stronger and, most importantly, my mind was at peace. There are many ways to change your mindset, but here are a few that have worked for me.

View Every Situation as an Opportunity

This isn’t easy all the time. Sometimes, things just go wrong and you get upset. Life throws hardships at everyone, and it’s normal to react emotionally to those obstacles. Instead of dwelling on the adversities that exist in your life, focus on the opportunities that could potentially result from them.

The €20 you just put into your back pocket fell out when you were grocery shopping. You missed the bus. You’re running a few minutes late to work. Your whole day has just seemed to go wrong and it’s barely just begun. Everyone has those days, but it’s how you respond that matters the most. It’s difficult to see the bigger picture in the moment, but by letting daily annoyances hinder you, you’re missing out on all the positive opportunities that could come after.

It can be helpful to imagine a scenario in which negative situations have positive outcomes. Tell yourself that €20 you lost found its way to someone who needed it far more than you did. Convince yourself that if you had left for work five minutes earlier and caught the bus that it would have broken down and made you an hour late. These situations, while fabricated, can lead your mind into realising that positive outcomes can come from anything.

It takes quite a bit of conscious effort to turn negative situations into positive ones, but if you continuously do this your mind will start to make the change subconsciously. Over time you will notice that your reactions to negative situations will morph from frustration and irritation into acceptance and understanding. Take things as they come, and don’t let small burdens ruin what could be an amazing day.

Be Selfish

Do what makes you happy. If that means staying in to get a good night of sleep instead of going out, or buying yourself something nice, simply do it. At the end of the day, you will thank yourself for making the decision that you wanted. Having the power to make your own decisions is empowering, and taking the initiative to indulge your own needs is invigorating. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone else, it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. You can’t foster healthy relationships until you have a sound relationship with yourself. Self-love and intrapersonal respect lay the foundation for being able to have stable relationships with others in your life.

Realise That You Control Yourself 

It’s time to stop worrying about what other people are doing. Only you decide what you think, what you feel, and how you act. No one makes you think, feel, or do anything that you can’t ultimately control. You can spend an eternity making excuses for how you feel and then blaming other people for making you feel that way without ever actually fixing the problem. Embrace your feelings, but also know that they are your own to control.

If someone is tearing you down it is taking a lot of their energy to try to get a response from you. If someone is spending time, energy, and effort thinking negatively about you… let them. That’s how they choose to spend their time, and that’s their prerogative. It can be your choice to ignore it. Instead, you can spend your time and energy on the people and things that have a positive impact on your life. Take this same principle and examine how much time you spend thinking about other people. It’s not uncommon to be surprised by just how much you spend thinking about others, both positively and negatively. Negative thoughts about yourself and others take up a lot of emotional energy, and constantly being surrounded by a stream of negativity can impede your mindset from improving.

photo: Brannon Naito

Change Your Thoughts to Be Constructive Rather Than Judgemental

It is common to pass judgement on yourself and others without meaning to. Your thoughts can sometimes seem to just pop into your head without any prompting from you. While this happens to everyone, you can choose whether or not you indulge these thoughts. It may seem like negative inner dialogue isn’t hurting anyone, but it’s actually hurting you.

It’s time to be in control of your opinions. Consciously pay attention to your thought patterns. When you catch yourself thinking something negative or judgemental simply ask yourself why you thought that. A lot of the initial judgements that you unwittingly make are simply a reflection of others’ views that have been imposed on you. Your reaction is what defines you. Start to eliminate thoughts that aren’t constructive and de-clutter your mind. This will work its way into the rest of your life as well and if you stick with it you will notice the emotional relief that positivity brings.

To find out how to become a better morning person click here.