Find inner peace by changing pessimism into optimism
We all have a tendency to doubt ourselves. From worrying that we’re not good parents to questioning our relationships, it’s easy to become a victim of negative thinking. The problem arises when you allow the negativity to take over your thoughts, it can drain your energy and ultimately, prevent you from being in the present.
So, what do we do when negative thinking takes over?
Giving in to negative thoughts increases their power. Think of it similar to a snowball rolling down a hill. As it rolls, the snowball grows bigger and builds momentum. When you allow negative thoughts to remain present, you’ll likely start thinking this way more often. Your initial reaction to events and experiences will probably be pessimistic instead of optimistic.
What’s scary is that one small, seemingly insignificant thought can escalate into a giant snowball of a problem. So, how can you change negative thinking into positive thinking and ease your mind?
Follow these nine tips to start living peacefully in the present:
1. Surround yourself with positive people
Make sure that your closest circle is filled with positive people – people who are upbeat, supportive and easy to be around. If you notice negative thoughts are creeping in, stage your own intervention. Call a friend who will give you constructive and loving support. Talking to people who are able to see the positive in situations and can help reframe your perspective. Positive people won’t allow you to be a victim of your negative thoughts.
2. Sign up for a yoga class
While yoga has many physical health benefits, it’s also great for your mental health. During a yoga class, you are so focused on the poses and breathing, there isn’t room for negative thinking. Your body and mind are relaxed and at peace.
At the end of a yoga session, you’re sure to feel more relaxed – a sensation that can last for hours. Yoga does an excellent job of keeping you present in the moment rather than allowing your mind to wander. In fact, your yoga teacher will likely remind you to stay present several times during each class.
3. Even if you don’t feel like it, smile
Even if it’s painful or feels fake at first, try smiling. Smiling decreases stress, and it can help boost your mood while inspiring you to think in more positive ways. Frowning uses more muscles, so your face may even feel lighter when you smile.
A study completed by the University of Kansas discovered that during stressful situations, any kind of smiling – even the fake kind – decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. Also, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, enjoying the opportunity to watch funny YouTube videos when you’re feeling impatient or angry will have you grinning in no time.
4. Practice meditation
Meditation can help bring positive experiences into your life by providing a healthy outlet to manage your thoughts. To do this, you must tap into your subconscious mind. Meditating on a regular basis is scientifically-proven to lower anxiety, worry, fear and depression.
Many people shy away from meditation because it seems too time-consuming. But all you need is 10 or 15 minutes each day to start seeing results.
5. Help someone in need
The New York Times reports that if you’re struggling with negative thinking, try helping someone in need. Small ways to help include:
• Donating money to a local charity
• Leaving a larger tip at a restaurant than you normally would
• Buying whatever the neighbor child is selling
To make a bigger impact, consider:
• Donating a portion of your income to your favorite charity every year
• Spending one weekend a month volunteering
• Making care packages for the troops
When you help someone in need, you are not only making a positive change in another person’s life, but it brings you closer to finding inner peace.
6. Don’t dwell on your mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. But, it’s important to learn how to move past them. Acknowledge that you messed up. Then, simply let it go. If you find yourself dwelling on the mistake, shift your thoughts to something that makes you feel good. Choose to be grateful and focus on your positive achievements.
7. Develop a new skill
To change your thinking from negative to positive, consider developing a new skill. Take up a new sport, study a different language or learn how to play an instrument. When you master something new, you’ll acquire a sense of achievement. It can help you become more self-confident and resilient to negative thoughts. However, be realistic about how long it may take you to acquire this new skill, and don’t let setbacks cause negative thinking to creep back in.
8. Embrace mindfulness
Mindfulness is living in the present moment. While it’s okay to look back, don’t spend too much time there. Leave yesterday in the past, and save the future for tomorrow. When you notice what’s happening now in this moment, you’re living mindfully. Mindfulness is available to you at all times, but most of us have to work at it.
Keep in mind that, despite your best efforts, your thoughts will wander. When they do, recognize that it’s part of human nature. This moment also gives you the chance to develop a healthier brain, one that’s more adaptable and capable of positive thinking. Mindfulness benefits your brain because when you notice your mind wandering, you’ll be able to consciously bringing it back to the now.
9. Be grateful
Even if you’re a happy, upbeat person, you will deal with tough times. Sadness, anger and worry are a part of the human condition. But, if you choose to see the world in a pessimistic light, you are only hurting yourself. When you focus on what you’re grateful for, you’ll be prepared to endure life’s hardships while living each day to the fullest.