How to Think Positive: 7 Things You Can Do Right Now!

How to think positive

How to Think Positive Now

By: John D. Moore, PhD

Are you hoping to learn more about how to think positive? Have you arrived at a place in life where you recognize many of the negative thoughts you hold are keeping you from reaching your full potential? If so, you are not alone. We work with lots of clients at our Chicago counseling offices who face this life challenge.

It is the 16th century French philosopher Renee Descartes who is widely credited with coining the phrase, “I think –therefore I am.” In the world of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT for short), we would fine tune Descartes’s words to something like, “I think – therefore I feel.”  

What was true for Descartes way back then is very much true today. Here’s why … what you think very much influences what you are feeling and by extension – what you perceive.

Infection of Negative Thinking

Negative thinking has a way of infecting all areas of your life. If left unchecked, it can erode the relationships you enjoy with others – including co-workers, family members and other loved ones. Worse, it can do a real number on your self-concept.  

Over the course of time, negative thinking robs you of living in the here and now. The more energy you give these thoughts, which are often irrational and not grounded in your truth, the more you increase their power. Think of a snowball that starts off small but grows bigger and bigger as it gains momentum. Pretty soon, it’s gigantic and holds enough kinetic energy to roll over a house. Get the picture?

Stopping Negative Thoughts

When you start to have negative thoughts, it’s hard to stop them. This is particularly true if you suffer from mental health challenges like OCD or struggle with depression. Many times, these thoughts can be intrusive in nature and take on a life of their own. I recognize that trying to control a negative spiral is easier said than done. But I will level with you – that shift is vital if you want to them to stop.

What follows are 7 ways on how you can think more positive right now and invite better energy into your life.

how to think positive

1. Smile

The power of smiling should not be underestimated. We know from scientific research that smiling, even when it feels forced, can ameliorate depression and wipe away a sour mood.

What can help you to think more positive is to smile in front of the mirror and repeat something that affirms something good about yourself. Many people incorporate smile therapy as part of their morning wellness ritual.

2. Try Meditation

One of the best ways to clear negative energy and invite positive thinking is to engage in different forms of mindful meditation. You don’t need to be a new age hipster to engage in this self-reflective activity. All that is required is an open mind and a willingness to let go of the mental debris that is often toxic in nature.

Visit our online meditation room and try out a few of our videos as a starting point. FYI: Yoga is also a great way to incorporate meditation into your daily life with the added benefit of physically reinforcing positive thoughts.

3. Take responsibility for your thoughts

Ninety-nine percent of the time we create our own realities. In order to think more positively, it is important to own your thoughts. This means being mindful of the tape we are playing in our mind and creating change where necessary.

By doing this, we stop caustic behaviors like playing the victim or engaging in the “woe is me” game. That may be hard to read but it’s true.

4. Circle yourself with supportive people

When you are engaging in “stinking thinking” it can be hard to stop it, according to most addictions professionals. One way to throw a monkey wrench into the dynamic is to converse with someone who can call you out on your stuff but do so in an objective, supportive way.

Think of a close friend or family member. Some people employ the services of a psychotherapist under this point.

how to think positive thoughts5. Make a realistic wish

This tip may seem a bit silly but here’s the deal – wishes have a funny way of coming true. The wish you make needs to be realistic and obtainable. For example, if your wish for the day is to receive a smile from a stranger – it’s highly possible that wish will come true. If, however, your wish is to win the lottery, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

The idea under this point is to focus on something positive and put energy into making it become a reality. This helps to increase your sense of gratitude, which absolutely increases positive thinking.

6. Read positive literature

Sometimes, just allowing our mind to absorb positive words can help propel us out of negative thinking’s gravitational pull.

Examples of positive literature include affirmations, funny books and blog posts that are designed to evoke good feelings.

7. Help someone in need

A final, powerful way to move past negative quicksand is to help someone in need. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Open up your cabinets and see if you have any cans of food you can donate to your local pantry. You can also take a peek in your closet and grab a few clothing items and drop them off at your local Good Will.  You get the point.

The physical energy you put into these types of activities holds reparative powers and can help you to think in more positive ways.

Book Recommendation

If you are hoping to learn more about how to think positive, I encourage you to read the book, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.

Inside, you will find page after page of meaningful insight that is designed to help you move towards a happier mindset as part of daily life.

What do you have to lose?