Written by Lilly Myers, MSW Intern
Positivity is the tendency or practice to be optimistic in life. The tendency to be optimistic in life makes me think of the glass half full or half empty example. Those who see the glass half full are more prone to see the silver lining of a challenging situation and are more likely to see the positive in life’s situations. Those who see the glass half empty may tend to look at the negative in life’s situations. Is your glass full or empty?
Regardless of how you see your glass, we can all benefit from practicing positivity. This includes changing our perspective on matters and how we decide to think about things. I would like to put an emphasis on how we decide to think about things because it is a choice that we make. We have the power to change our perspective and shed a positive light in areas we may struggle to be optimistic about.
Identifying Negative Thinking
A great first step to practicing positivity is by checking in with yourself. We all fall into negative thinking sometimes (congratulations! You’re a Human!) It can be helpful to identify those thinking patterns so we can stop and rephrase our thinking.
Some common ways we think negatively are:
Black and White Thinking: This is when we see things as good or bad. There is no middle ground.
Magnifying: This is when we turn minor issues into a bigger issue. This could look like burning your toast for breakfast. “Great, this is not a good start to my morning I wonder what else will happen today!”
Shifting Blame: his is what happens when we try to shift the blame on someone else, so we don’t take responsibility. It is only us that are responsible for our thoughts and feelings.
Personalizing: This is when we perceive something bad has happened it has to do with yourself. An example of this could be when a friend cancels plans on you and you assume it is because they don’t want to be around you. The reality of the situation could be other endless possibilities.
Focusing on Positive Thinking: When you identify your negative thinking, it can become easier to shift your focus on replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones. As stated earlier, positivity takes practice. By Identifying those areas where you tend to think negatively and actively replacing those negative thoughts with positive thinking it will become easier over time. Remember that repetition is key, and it is a choice that you can make to think differently. That is the power of Positivity!
Focusing on positivity may look like:
Positive Self-Talk: This includes being kind to yourself. Extend the same compassion you have for others towards yourself. This includes acknowledging your positive attributes and allowing yourself grace when life doesn’t always go your way. This may look like: “I worked hard on this presentation. While there are some areas I can work on, I have made a lot of progress and I am proud of myself.”
Gratitude: Think of those things or people in your life that you are grateful for. Acknowledging the things you are grateful for instead of the things you don’t have may help put your life into a positive perspective.
Surrounding Yourself With Positivity: The company you keep makes all the difference in the world. You become influenced by the people you surround yourself with in life. If you surround yourself with people who tend to think more positively, it may help you to focus on the positive in your life.
Humor: Don’t underestimate the power of humor. Humor serves us as a reminder that we don’t always have to take ourselves and life seriously all the time. When you need a break from life’s stressors, remind yourself of the big picture and allow yourself some comical relief. It’s not that serious.
It’s okay not to be positive all the time, but you can add more positivity into your life when you are able to identify negative thinking patterns. The power of positivity lies within your ability to check in with yourself when life gets tough, and you can find the silver lining. When you make the choice to find humor in the situation, treat yourself and others with kindness, and find gratitude throughout your day, thinking positively becomes a lifestyle. You’ve got the power!