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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How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.