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Creating hope: this positive mindset stuff really does works

Like many people reading this article, my life has not been easy or a picnic in the park. From a young age life threw nearly every challenge at me, like the best dramatic movie on TV. Like Dory in finding Nemo - I chose and still choose to just keep swimming. I am actually the most optimistic pessimist you will ever meet. I prepare for the worse in the most positive way. I often get asked how I cope or get through challenges. First and foremost I don't ever believe in letting challenges and circumstance define who I am. Secondly, I absolutely believe a positive mindset and approach to life helps you become resilient and move forward. The following tips are genuinely ones that I follow so I can 'just keep swimming.'

  1. Start your day focusing on what will be positive

I use to start my day focusing on the one negative thing that I was dreading. I found that the whole day would be terrible; all because of one thought meeting/discussion etc. When I think about it logically - that approach is madness. So now if I know there is going to be something that I don’t want to do, or is going to be difficult or unpleasant; I always try and think about looking for what might also be positive in the day. For example: I have a long commute so I look forward to listening to podcasts, my favourite drive time radio show or favourite songs. If I have a thought meeting or discussion - I look forward to it being over and for a cup of coffee or walk in the sun to recharge after that difficult meeting/discussion. If the whole day is going to be tough, I look forward to getting home and and getting hugs from my family at the day, or crashing on the couch watching my favourite TV show.

2. Behave positively

Positivity is infectious in the same way that negativity is toxic. Say hello with a smile, ask someone how their day is going, compliment someone on their work, outfit, service etc. I find that no matter how bad I am feeling; if I am positive in my interactions with people - provide a positive interactions and you will be rewarded with a positive interaction.

3. Switch self talk from negative to positive

I find this is one of the hardest things to do as I am a over thinker. Dr Gregory Jantz in 'Psychology Today' discusses how positive self-talk is about recognizing the truth, in situations and in yourself; and positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward. So yes I think it is important to take a moment to intentionally counteract those negative messages with positive truths in your life. You can read more about this in this article in Psychology Today

4. Find lessons learned rather than mistakes or failures

It is unrealistic to think that ourselves or others are perfect. Once I stopped striving for perfection and

started striving for growth and improvement; I found it was easier to have a positive mindset as I did not set myself up for unrealistic outcomes or for failure. You can’t fail if you find a lesson learned out of a not so great situation - as a lesson learnt is a positive outcome!

5. Find positive friends, mentors and co-workers

As I mentioned earlier, positivity is infectious in the same way that negativity is toxic. I try to be positive and encourage positivity from those around me. However, if those around me choose to be negative, I will remove myself from the negativity or bring other positive people in so that there is peer pressure to be positive rather than negative. I also prioritise my relationships around those who are positive, supportive and uplifting, rather than negative.

6. End your day reflecting on what was positive

In the same way you should start your day focusing on the positive - you should look back on your day to find something positive. It doesn’t matter how small it is. For example, did you enjoy a nice meal or coffee or conversation with someone? Are you happy to be home after a tough day watching your favourite TV show, or are you happy to climbing into bed at last? If you can’t find anything positive, go back to point 1 and remember - tomorrow will be a new day to find something positive to experience!

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