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5 Ways to Stay Positive Every Day

What do bestselling self-help authors Maxwell Maltz, Tony Robbins and Rhonda Byrne have in common?

Their works, though published decades apart, all promote positive thinking as a fundamental aspect of personal growth.

It makes sense: optimism keeps you happy, provides the energy to overcome challenges and is attractive to others. This is something countless successful people, from Winston Churchill to Will Smith, have talked about.

But if you’re like most of us, staying positive consistently is tough. Even the boost people get from self-improvement books and classes tends to wear off quickly. After that, it’s back to the old, negative thought patterns.

That’s why I’ve been collecting ways to help people feel good and stay upbeat day in, day out. I’m going to share 5 of them in this post.

Keep a Journal of Gratitude

I found this exercise in an old book on Zen living; it’s one of my favorites to this day. Just take a little notebook and start writing down the things you’re grateful for. Start with the obvious and work from there.

Be grateful for having food, water and a roof above your head. If you woke up at 5 A.M. and can’t go back to sleep, be grateful for getting to see the sunrise. If you’re facing a challenge, be grateful for the opportunity to learn from it.

You don’t have to write every day, but make sure you open your journal at least once a week. It can be very easy to indulge in self-pity, blame and anger; appreciating what you have will help you stay positive.

Things Get Better

When you’re struggling, grieving or suffering from heartache, the pain can feel unbearable. Even in everyday life, the weight of a million little things can be heavy.

But always remember the proverb: “This too shall pass.” Your negative feelings won’t last forever; there’s a light at the end of every tunnel. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but you’ll feel better eventually.

When you understand and accept the volatile nature of life, it’s a lot easier to stay calm and relaxed – even in the hardest of times.

Mental List of Awesomeness

Having high self-esteem keeps anxiety at bay, improves personal relationships and encourages optimism. If you don’t appreciate yourself enough – or are feeling down – try making a mental list of awesome stuff you’ve done recently.

“Went for a jog instead of watching TV”; “cooked for my girlfriend”; “made an awesome presentation at work.” Make a written list if you want, and don’t be modest!

You’ll find that, as you go over your awesome actions and choices, you start to feel great about yourself. It’s hard not to when you remind yourself how amazing you are!

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Paolo Coelho was right when he wrote: the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself. It’s easy to become worried over the little things: the human mind can blow things way, way out of proportion. To stop that from happening, always ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen?

Chances are, “the worst” isn’t that bad. You’ll be fine if you don’t ace tomorrow’s presentation. You can retake tomorrow’s exam in September. That cute girl (or boy) won’t eat you if you screw up this date.

Sure, it would be better if things went according to plan, but sometimes they don’t. When you’re no longer afraid of any outcome, you can focus on having fun and getting things done. Don’t wind yourself up for no reason!

Reach Out and Help Someone

We live in a culture that encourages egotism. Even our buzzwords – self-help, self-promotion, self-esteem – reflect our obsession with ourselves. But if you want to feel great about yourself, try giving to someone else.

Donating a few dollars to charity can change someone’s life. Calling your mom for a few minutes will make her week. Buying food for a sick friend will help more than you can imagine.

It takes very little to help someone out. When you make a big difference with just a few minutes – or dollars – you’ll always remember how important and amazing you are. And with an attitude like that, it’s hard to be anything but positive.

 

George P.H. helps people figure out relationships, live without limitations and feel awesome over at The Man-Up Blog.

 

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Related Articles:

Why You Shouldn’t Care What Others Think About You

How To Choose The Right Goals For You

  • Chetan

    Dear George , Thank for the post.  It teaches us so many things.
    Many time we worry too much and u have rightly mention in  ”What the worst that could happen”
    Chetan

  • http://www.TransformationalMotivation.com M. A. Tohami

    Gratitude is my favorite tip. I always ask my audience to get a gratitude journal and, everyday before they go to sleep, write one thing they were grateful for in that day. Small and simple things truly matter. This exercise causes magic for me. It attracts positive circumstances and unexpected opportunities like magic.

    I claim that at any given point in time, the things that can bring us joy are much more than what bring us pain. But only the trained eyes can realize how much we are blessed everyday.

  • http://www.clintcora.com Clint Cora

    I think the Paralympic athletes are real masters at being able to keep positive.  They all have disabilities of some type yet they are still able to motivate themselves to train in their sports as well as other aspects of their lives.  Next time the rest of us complain about how things are not going well for us, we should look at the Paralymians to see not only what they have gone through, but what they are still able to do as athletes.  And it was certainly their abilities to keep positive that played a major role in that type of success.

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  • http://Mazzastick.com Justin

    Having and maintaining a positive attitude is no small task but it definitely helps to keep our perceptions open to the best possibilities in life.

  • George P.H.

    @45a30698fd4e310f66c2791ef5610702:disqus  - Thank you!@9840b07b9fd87f97ab976b43fe561624:disqus - Agreed, I think this is one of the best tools in self-improvement, period. We don’t appreciate the things we have until they’re gone!
    @clintcora:disqus Clint – I agree. I don’t watch the Paralympics, but I recently found out that one of the web’s biggest bloggers – Jon Morrow – is paralyzed from the neck down. It really made me appreciate everything I’ve been blessed with and motivated me to keep working harder!
    @mazzastick:disqus Agreed. Being positive and having a good inner game is 50% of success. 

  • http://www.awesomelifecoach.com Kian | Awesome Life Coach

    I use the gratitude tip on a daily basis except i don’t write it down. Everyday I walk to work and i single out this period of time to think about all the things I am grateful for. It’s a great way to start off the day on a positive note.

  • Milifran

    I’m sorry chaps, but I don’t see how you can live your lives in a vacuum and not be depressed by what is happening to this planet. The NHS is struggling with an obesity epidemic and may be dismantled; mothers in Somalia and Kenya have tried to hand their children over to journalists to take back to Europe rather than let them die of starvation, and you are talking about being positive. The only way to not feel utterly depressed is to either be delusional, or to become socially active in your local community.

    Adulthood is when the true human condition is unveiled to us and we find joy in our immediate family if we’re lucky, but despair at what we do to each other as humans. Winston Churchill suffered from depression btw. I think depression is a very human normal reaction to our rubbish 21st century. I look after elderly people whose children don’t have time to do it. I look after children whose parents don’t have time to do it. How messed up is that? I really think a person needs tunnel vision to be happy at all times day in day out. Or be a simpleton. Or a small child. And the worst does happen, often.

    The arts, music, alcohol, singing, were all invented by us to give us a break from the scariness of living. So do all you can to protect all bases, but also accept that feeling like shit is also an acceptable human trait, and it’s OK.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheguvera2010 Maheedhar Reddy

    this post is something unique and unconventional in its own way instead of giving vague advice like do this hear this tape u feel better about ur self it persuades and gives pratical tips for living positively hands off!!!

  • George P.H.

    @2ebfe9fa321fdfdaa8719a8d6a5099d3:disqus  Yes, the world is a tough place; yes, we should try to make it better (see the last point in the article). But do you really think being depressed and angry is a good solution?

    Some negative emotions are healthy; depression and helplessness aren’t. Winston Churchill suffered from “the black dog” all his life, but he also had the dreams and vision of a true optimist. 

    I see where you’re coming from and appreciate a different perspective. It sounds like you’re feeling down yourself; no worries, it happens. If you want to discuss this further – or just shoot the crap – feel free to contact me via the form at my blog. I love a good debate ;).

    @facebook-100000904492969:disqus Thank you, I really appreciate all the positive input!

  • Sarah

    This article has definitely helped me at this particular moment in time; thanks!

    • http://themanupblog.com George P.H.

      Glad I could help, Sarah!

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  • http://twitter.com/ElliottFryback Elliott Fryback

    I think this is a great topic many of these techniques I’ve practiced journal of gratitude, knowing thing will get better ext… my favorite of yours is mental list of awesomeness. The tip about What’s the worst that could happen reminds me of a Steve Jobs quote “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever
    encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost
    everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of
    embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of
    death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are
    going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you
    have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to
    follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

    -Stanford University commencement speech, 2005
    -Steve Jobs

    • http://themanupblog.com George P.H.

      True! I actually watched that speech 3-4 times yesterday when I was writing a Steve Jobs post for my blog. He was a very astute man, definitely someone who we can learn a lot from. Thank you for the feedback, Elliott. 

  • Ronaldcholmes24

    1 Peter Chapter 5 If you would humble your- self under  the Lord God Almighty hand and resist the Devil he will flee from you,CAST ALL OF YOUR CARES ON GOD for He gave His Son Jesus Chrst to suffer and die for the humanity to pay the penaty for their sin and to shed His precious,Holy,pure blood for the remisson of their sins.God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son  

    • Kara

      Jesus has never done ONE THING FOR ME!!!

      • alexia

        smh

  • San

     Seeing sunrise and what’s the worst that could happen? are the best way for me to make myself positive every day.
    San

  • San

     Seeing sunrise and what’s the worst that could happen? are the best way for me to make myself positive every day.
    San

  • San

     Seeing sunrise and what’s the worst that could happen? are the best way for me to make myself positive every day.
    San

  • http://www.mychristiant.com christian t-shirts

    These are very helpful insights. Getting the hang of the positive side always meant getting that positive feeling flowing and radiating. Aside from these, prayers would also help a lot.

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  • http://www.OurWishRadio.com Raymond Cubeta

    Hey, great post. I received a lot of great value from this it. Thanks! :)

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  • Giovannipalmeri

    I like the content of your blog. Its very good.
    John
    Mypositivitees.com

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  • Bradsdocks

    thank you for all of this great stuff i just read. im a negative person at times but im very blessed. i think that will be a good place for me to start.I can be a better happier person thank you.

  • http://arolemodel.com/ Self-Improvement-Movies-Games

    ha! making a mental list of awesomeness is a really good one, think I might try that today!

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  • http://date-masters.com/blog John Robie

     Gratitude – one of the most powerful emotions. Definitely a big factor in staying positive. When you’re actively searching for things to be grateful about, the world works tends in your favor. Be Amazing,
    JR

  • always correct

    that is just like writing in a diary. people already do that. it is not very helpful. you need to start posting stuff on how to memorize things faster. that would help kids and adults during hard times. in addition,i don’t see how you can stay happy when there is obesity going on. mothers in somalia and kenya have tried to hand their children over to the journalists to let them starve and you are talking about being positive??? what are you, demented, stupid? look at the world around you.

    in adulthood people are full of sadness because of what is happening around them. only kids would be able to do this because the schedules are not as tight as they are for an adult. you should be careful what you post. people will use this against you to make you look demented.the only way people do not be so utterly depressed is by either being delusional or having a very social life.only athletes are positive in this world unlike the basketball player “Metal World PEace.” 
    here is what i have to say:
    Ha! being a psychologist for women is a good one!
    it say in 1 peter chapter 5 to CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD, stupid. even some christians have to agree with me.

    PRESS LIKE FOR ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE :|
     

  • always correct

    that is just like writing in a diary. people already do that. it is not very helpful. you need to start posting stuff on how to memorize things faster. that would help kids and adults during hard times. in addition,i don’t see how you can stay happy when there is obesity going on. mothers in somalia and kenya have tried to hand their children over to the journalists to let them starve and you are talking about being positive??? what are you, demented, stupid? look at the world around you.

    in adulthood people are full of sadness because of what is happening around them. only kids would be able to do this because the schedules are not as tight as they are for an adult. you should be careful what you post. people will use this against you to make you look demented.the only way people do not be so utterly depressed is by either being delusional or having a very social life.only athletes are positive in this world unlike the basketball player “Metal World PEace.” 
    here is what i have to say:
    Ha! being a psychologist for women is a good one!
    it say in 1 peter chapter 5 to CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD, stupid. even some christians have to agree with me.

    PRESS LIKE FOR ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE :|
     

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.pacholko Anthony Pacholko

      Are you finished with your sardonic diatribe? Do not try to pass off your pessimism and cynicism as intelligence. I do look at the world around me, do you? I see an amazing series of events that has led to the seemingly impossible gift of life. Is there evil in this world? Absolutely. Is there good in this world? Without a doubt. Does bit–ing and moaning about the negatives in life solve anything? Does your attack on those who are able to see the positive somehow help those children you describe?

      Most people live their lives as they can. Many give what they have to help others. People across the globe assist each-other each and every day, sacrificing their well-being for the good of others. Depression is part of life, as is sadness, but that does NOT mean that you should just bend over and take it. Optimism is hope for the future, and real men and women have the strength to do something to help their society. All of this counter-culture cynicism that has become so popular does nothing, helps no-one, and solves no problem. You speak of being an adult, yet you neglect to mention the responsibility that an adult holds. An adult must have a vision for the future, a vision of a better place, and they must do what they can to make that vision a reality. That doesn’t sound as “realistic” or “edgy” though, does it, so when making a long-winded, me-against-the-world pubescent rant, it is best to be a cynical little sh-t that mocks those who try to be happy. Live your life in the shadows if you must, but don’t spread your message of cowardice and helplessness onto others.

      The truth is that pessimism serves no purpose. Your sadness and depression helps no-one. In fact, a negative attitude poisons you and those around you. I am a happy person, as I am thankful to be alive, and realize how improbable my being here is. I am not demented, as you claim. I am well aware of what happens in this world. I do what I can to help, when I can. I try to ensure that my actions will help others in some small way, and strive to never burden others or decrease their quality of life. I want others to be happy, because I am a good person, are you?

      Cling to your sadness, perhaps the shadows bring you comfort, but know that your unhappiness helps no-one, and cripples you. Be a light to guide the way, not a cloak to block the sun. The world being a place of tragedy is exactly why we must be positive. We must stand firm before adversity, and raise ourselves up above our circumstances. Extinguishing a flame does not help anyone, all it does is make the world a little darker. The sooner you succumb to sadness, the sooner you give up, the less helpful you will be, and the less you will do for this world.

  • always correct

    that is just like writing in a diary. people already do that. it is not very helpful. you need to start posting stuff on how to memorize things faster. that would help kids and adults during hard times. in addition,i don’t see how you can stay happy when there is obesity going on. mothers in somalia and kenya have tried to hand their children over to the journalists to let them starve and you are talking about being positive??? what are you, demented, stupid? look at the world around you.

    in adulthood people are full of sadness because of what is happening around them. only kids would be able to do this because the schedules are not as tight as they are for an adult. you should be careful what you post. people will use this against you to make you look demented.the only way people do not be so utterly depressed is by either being delusional or having a very social life.only athletes are positive in this world unlike the basketball player “Metal World PEace.” 
    here is what i have to say:
    Ha! being a psychologist for women is a good one!
    it say in 1 peter chapter 5 to CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD, stupid. even some christians have to agree with me.

    PRESS LIKE FOR ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE :|
     

  • always correct

    that is just like writing in a diary. people already do that. it is not very helpful. you need to start posting stuff on how to memorize things faster. that would help kids and adults during hard times. in addition,i don’t see how you can stay happy when there is obesity going on. mothers in somalia and kenya have tried to hand their children over to the journalists to let them starve and you are talking about being positive??? what are you, demented, stupid? look at the world around you.

    in adulthood people are full of sadness because of what is happening around them. only kids would be able to do this because the schedules are not as tight as they are for an adult. you should be careful what you post. people will use this against you to make you look demented.the only way people do not be so utterly depressed is by either being delusional or having a very social life.only athletes are positive in this world unlike the basketball player “Metal World PEace.” 
    here is what i have to say:
    Ha! being a psychologist for women is a good one!
    it say in 1 peter chapter 5 to CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD, stupid. even some christians have to agree with me.

    PRESS LIKE FOR ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE :|
     

  • always correct

    that is just like writing in a diary. people already do that. it is not very helpful. you need to start posting stuff on how to memorize things faster. that would help kids and adults during hard times. in addition,i don’t see how you can stay happy when there is obesity going on. mothers in somalia and kenya have tried to hand their children over to the journalists to let them starve and you are talking about being positive??? what are you, demented, stupid? look at the world around you.

    in adulthood people are full of sadness because of what is happening around them. only kids would be able to do this because the schedules are not as tight as they are for an adult. you should be careful what you post. people will use this against you to make you look demented.the only way people do not be so utterly depressed is by either being delusional or having a very social life.only athletes are positive in this world unlike the basketball player “Metal World PEace.” 
    here is what i have to say:
    Ha! being a psychologist for women is a good one!
    it say in 1 peter chapter 5 to CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD, stupid. even some christians have to agree with me.

    PRESS LIKE FOR ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE :|
     

  • always correct

    that is just like writing in a diary. people already do that. it is not very helpful. you need to start posting stuff on how to memorize things faster. that would help kids and adults during hard times. in addition,i don’t see how you can stay happy when there is obesity going on. mothers in somalia and kenya have tried to hand their children over to the journalists to let them starve and you are talking about being positive??? what are you, demented, stupid? look at the world around you.

    in adulthood people are full of sadness because of what is happening around them. only kids would be able to do this because the schedules are not as tight as they are for an adult. you should be careful what you post. people will use this against you to make you look demented.the only way people do not be so utterly depressed is by either being delusional or having a very social life.only athletes are positive in this world unlike the basketball player “Metal World PEace.” 
    here is what i have to say:
    Ha! being a psychologist for women is a good one!
    it say in 1 peter chapter 5 to CAST ALL YOUR CARES UPON GOD, stupid. even some christians have to agree with me.

    PRESS LIKE FOR ALL YOU OTHER PEOPLE :|
     

  • Fwibos

    The most awesome thing that happened to me today is that a friend got really excited abotu a RPG I am running. *Sigh* That kind of sucks

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LWZHBGR4UV4OY3R3E3ORDIOUVA Lyla

    This is great information and I’m actually going to use it on my kids. I’ve been thinking of how to motivate my kids, and this is great. I am going to make an awesomeness board where they can write something awesome they did that day. Thanks for the great idea!

  • Anonymous

    Im 17 I just moved out of my dad and stepmoms house, my mom died five years ago and I’ve never gotten over it. Now I’m beginning to stress out my friends and I don’t want to loose them but I can’t stop feeling paranoid and scared what do I do?

    • 123456789

      why you move out? don’t be pushed, tell your dad about your feelings,you’ll never get over your mom learn to remember the happy times with happiness,if your friends are friends don’t worry about loosing them because you won’t,stop smoking weed…?

  • Thato7

    Thank you soo much now I’m a much happier person:)

  • http://www.theunixschool.com/ Guru

    Felt really great reading this post..thank you…

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  • phan

    i am very sad and frustrated. my 17 years old does not do well in school. he kept stuck on the stupid computer and stay up late til 3am. he listens to bad words music. he got angry. what should i do.

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  • http://www.goalsontrack.com Harry @ GoalsOnTrack

    Great post! Another technique I’ve found useful is to attend to and control our own breathing. When we are feeling negative emotions, anger, resentment, discontent, etc., our breathing is always shallow and inconsistent. By bringing more attention to our breathing, we can learn to breathe more deeply and slowly, as a result we will often feel better emotionally, and then think more positively.

  • Alexander

    Thanks for the email…I’ve been on this journey for 6 1/2 months now and you mentioned a lot of sources I am familiar with. It’s not just law of attraction, it is about finding a positive balance with the mind, body and spirit. See the TRUTH through all of the illusion(s) and you will see clarity. Love and light to all.

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  • candygirl

    I know this article is old but I wanted to thank the author personally for giving such great positive reinforcement. I myself have a personal battle to stay positive in my daily life. I am 23 years old battling depression,self esteem issues, and a diagnosis of herpes simplex type 2 in June 2013. It was a whirlwind but I have made it through the storm. I wake up everyday and thank God for waking me up,giving me a car to get to work in,and for my overall health. I can still walk, hear,see,and feel. I thought that I would never be the same again but if anything my hardships have made me a humble woman. My hardships have made me realize that life is full of twists,turns,ups,and downs but it is up to ourselves to decide if we will lay down and take it or if you will fight for a life worth living. I think about when I turn 70 and how I will feel about my life. I can definitely see myself saying,”damn I made some bad mistakes but I made them with style and im grateful for the lesson I learned from each one of them!” Yeh that sounds about right :-) for anyone dealing with incurable illness that may or may not be life threatening just remember that a smile a day keeps the sad feelings away. Stay positive and much love to everyone suffering.

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  • shuumea

    halo

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