stay positive

5 Things You Must Do to Stay Positive

On a daily basis, we’re not inundated with positive images, thoughts, and ideas. In fact, quite the opposite is true. In mainstream media, negativity is the norm. Just watch the nightly news and look to see how many stories have a positive theme. Negativity is an attention-grabber. Worry and fear keep people tuned in. With negativity swirling around us, it’s no wonder that so many of us gravitate toward it, filling our minds with doubt and stress. The truth is: negativity gets you nowhere.

The key to making progress in life—in your career, in your relationships, in your personal development—is to stay positive. Staying positive is difficult—and even more difficult is determining how to stay positive with the onslaught of articles and books offering advice for how to be happier. Here are five things you must do if you want to live a positive life:

1. Stop doing the things that make you unhappy. 

This is number one on the list for a reason. Too often we spend time and energy doing things that make us unhappy and too often we don’t make the connection between what causes our unhappiness. Look at your life carefully. Are you doing anything that makes you unhappy? When you find yourself at your lowest points, is there anything you can pinpoint that has caused the low point to occur? Often there are patterns that we just don’t admit to. Take an extra close look at any alcohol or drug use because these are too often the cause of serious unhappiness and negativity.

2. Surround yourself with people who bring you up. 

Just like you must look at the actions your taking and choose not to do things that cause you unhappiness, you must also choose not to be around people that cause you to be unhappy. Sadly, too many people surround themselves with individuals that don’t bring them up. If you find that people in your life are bringing you down — yes, even family members or significant others — you have to find a way to separate yourself from them. If you want to live a truly positive life, you must be surrounded by positive influences.

3. Revise the way you look at the world around you. 

When going from a negative outlook to a positive one, I really had to spend time thinking about the way I was looking at things. The way you see the world around you is a choice. You can choose to look for the good or you can choose not to. It’s completely and entirely up to you. Once I realized this, I understood that it didn’t make much sense to focus on the bad things in life. Sure, I had to acknowledge them, but I certainly didn’t need to dwell on them. Change your point of view and your whole life will change too.

4. Believe you have the ability to change your own life.

This can be a hard one for many people. Over and over again they think or say the worst two words I used to be so familiar with and now dread: “I can’t…” The second you let yourself think that way about changing your life, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t believe you can change your life, then it’s going to be pretty hard to actually do it. Believing in yourself sounds so cliché, but there’s a reason that concept has stuck around for so long. Without it, you’ll paralyze yourself and living a positive life will be pretty darn impossible.

5. Don’t seek happiness outside of yourself in things or people.

One of the things I always used to do was seek happiness outside of myself. If I was feeling unhappy or drowning myself in negativity, I would look outside myself for a solution. But, ultimately, no matter what I turned to, the negativity within me remained. It might be tempting to rely on other people for your happiness or turn to habits like shopping, eating, or drinking to quell your negative state of mind, but, believe me, those outside things never do the trick. You must seek happiness and positivity within yourself. It really is the only way to live a positive life.

It takes a lot of hard to work to live a positive life, especially if you’re struggling with negativity. But know this: even if you do one thing on this list, your life will improve. And you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. If you want to live a positive life, do it. There may be obstacles and it may be hard to get from that negative place to a positive one, but, believe me, all of the work will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it because nothing is better than loving the life you’re living.


Dani launched in 2009 when she decided to turn her life around and start focusing on the positive while living in the present moment. Positively Present focuses on living positively in the present moment, and since its launch Dani’s personal development site as grown and it continues to touch lives around the world. Dani recently published her first book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present. To learn more, visit

Photo credit: Thumbs Up, by Big Stock

18 Responses to 5 Things You Must Do to Stay Positive

  1. Scarlett says:

    Hi Dani, I think this post is very detailed about the 5 things a person can do to live a positive. I really think that if someone is really motivated in doing something, then there is nothing that can stop them from becoming who they want to be. Really great post. keep it up.

  2. Sadly, your # 1 tip: “Stop doing the things that make you unhappy”  is believed to be nearly impossible by billions of people worldwide as the most common activity for much of the population is slamming the alarm clock each and every morning and rushing through breakfast and traffic (someones both at the same time) as to not be late for the exciting daily event of spending 8 to 12 hours a day in a job they do not necessarily have a passion for. Those folks believe that this is just the way life is supposed to be, and there is no other choice. I say “those folks” as I used to be one of them but I’m now happily self employed doing what I love, when I want, where I want, how I want.

  3. This is a great list. I would add one item – Avoid comparing yourself with others. Recognizing that you are your own, completely distinct story, will keep your self-esteem from plummeting every time you meet someone impressive. 

  4. Guest says:

    I also think sleep contributes to remaining and maintaining a positive point of view

  5. says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your choice for #1.  Not only should we seek out activities that make us happy, we should completely forget about stuff and the people that make us unhappy.  When you run across someone that makes you unhappy, you have to completely close your mind off to that person and focus elsewhere.  The best place to find happiness is with nature, because its a guaranteed success almost all the time.  

  6. Dani, love the post, and your straightforward writing style.

    I had to smile when I got to the part that said, “Believing in yourself sounds so cliché, but there’s a reason that concept has stuck around for so long.”

    This is absolutely right. A lot of the best personal development tips sound almost too basic, but I have found that the truth tends to be simple.

    Most people basically know what makes them happy, but like you pointed out in this article, they have trouble admitting that they have to change their patterns to live a better life.

    I guess the bottom line is that simple doesn’t mean easy, but being happy is worth working for!

  7. “Believe you have the ability to change your own life”. I
    believe that this is very true. I know that if I want to succeed and be the
    best at what it is I want to accomplish I can do it. I just need to stay
    positive because at the end of the day I am the only that can make my dream a
    reality. Not everyone will be there to root you on and be happy for your
    success. But if you can tell yourself daily that you are somebody and that you
    can achieve the unachievable, then you are on your way towards greatness


  8. Victor says:

    Dani: thank you for sharing.

    Of course there are the old standbys: “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “Think and Grow Rich”.

    Karen Salmansohn give us 75 tips in The Bounce Back Book.  Also “How To Be Happy Dammit”

  9. Mike Smith says:

    Hi Dani
    Nothing beats a good dose of positive thoughts and in your five points you certainly did that. It reading material like this that gives one the faith to believe that we can change, if that’s what we really want to do. If it’s done with passion and persistence anything is possible.
    Great stuff thank you!

  10. Pingback: Issue 22 – Programming Two Miracles A Year — TLN

  11. Valerie says:

    I could not agree more

  12. Thanks for the comprehensive yet concise list of simple steps that we can take to enhance our happiness.

  13. Helenbenen says:

    Great post. My husband’s family is always on the negative side I always tell him think positive. How do you get someone to change if that is how they are brought up?

  14. Roxannehionis says:

    I enjoyed this article, very much!~ True and insightful!/Thank you!

  15. If you cannot feel happy about yourself how can you expect others to have confidence in you? These tips are a great start……

  16. Steve Ward says:

    While I agree with everyone, in that this post is excellent advice for those who are seeking happiness, I have to say you first have to know what your positives are before you achieve them. 

    We identify with different positives. So, Find those Positives and then make the necessary movement in living your life with those in mind. 

    -Steve Ward. 

  17. Ggmail says:

    Thanks Dani. I would like to add to meditate daily. Even if you don’t think you can – just start by sitting quietly and start to let the “buzz” subside. This will give you some space and clarity to help you identify ways you can introduce more happiness into your life. Negative thoughts may become more intense for a while so hang on as they will gradually subside as you find your inner calm. 

  18. Jessie B says:

    Hello Helenbenen

    I am in same situation. I am dating this boy who is very negative about everything around. Last night I just had to tell him !! and he actually realized how true it was. Needless to say he will not change in a day or so but at least you can try talking and start little by little. I don’t think so he would like to hear it all once …
    good  luck to you and me :)
    Stay positive 


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