“Just think happy thoughts”. How many of us have heard that in our lives when we are feeling sad. It’s said not from lack of love from friends, but a lack of understanding.
You can’t just flip a switch. To build a positive mindset from a negative place or even a depressed place, takes a lot of work. I should know, it’s taken me months to change my perspective, though I started from a low grade depression.
For others in a more neutral space you can probably achieve a positive mindset faster.
Appreciate any daily changes in your life that are moving in a positive direction. Becoming a positive person does take time but little changes are still worth celebrating.
Habits are immensly important for more positivity in your life. If you want to build a positive mindset quickly, stick to good habits which I will discuss below.
Each one of these ideas for growing a positive mindset will build on each other and you’ll actually use them to form the habits, which I talk about last.
I hope these ideas for your personal growth help you as much as they have helped me.
1. Say Daily Affirmations/Mantras
When I first started my personal development journey around May or June of 2019, I had no idea what affirmations/mantras were.
An affirmation is saying something positive about yourself or your life as a fact in the present tense. A mantra is a positive statement repeated frequently.
The two are often used interchangeably in the personal development world.
An example of an affirmation or mantra would be “I love and accept myself just as I am”.
These are statements you want to be true, even if you don’t fully believe them yet. You make them in the present tense for how you want to feel or be and then say them daily.
A few more examples for positive mindset growth affirmations/mantras:
“I am a happy and positive person.”
“I am able to break away from negative thoughts with ease.”
“It is easy for me to build a positive mindset” or “I am building a positive mindset daily.”
Write a list of 5-10 positive statements that reflect how you want to live your life. Say them every morning when you wake up. You can say them throughout the day as well. Say them out loud if you can and then eventually try to say them to yourself in front of the mirror.
Sometimes the mirror can still be hard for me to do. It can be uncomfortable because some of the mantras I’ve said, I don’t quite believe yet. But the more I say them, the more I believe and feel confident.
You should use the mantras for at least 21 days which helps you form a habit. You can say them longer if you’d like or need to, but you can also change them out for new mantras or add new ones in as you go.
2. Realize When You Have Negative Thoughts
One of the most important things you can do to build a positive mindset is to have awareness around your negative thoughts.
Catch yourself when you are having a negative thought in your head. Try to figure out what exactly is causing that negative thought. Is it an insecurity? Something that someone else is doing? Or perhaps a circumstance beyond your control?
Awareness is key to flipping a negative mindset into a positive one.
It may help to write down the circumstances around your negative thoughts which I will talk about shortly. Keep a record so you can look back and spot patterns in your negative thoughts.
3. Flip Your Negatives into Positives
Now that you’re figuring out when you’re having negative thoughts and you know what positive affirmations/mantras are, it’s time to combine this into flipping your negatives into positives.
While not all of your negative thoughts need or should be flipped, look for ones that may keep coming up. Especially ones about yourself.
Write them down and then flip them into their opposites or into something positive.
Here are some examples
“I wish I was thinner.” This can be turned into “I love my body”, “I feel confident in myself and my body”, etc.
“I’m so lazy. Why can’t I get things done?” This can be turned into “I always get things done”, “I have the energy to complete my tasks”, etc.
Both of these can seem a little hard to say at first if you don’t believe what you’re saying, but over time and saying them daily you will start to believe it and you’ll start to feel it.
The second example was one of mine from my personal development work. Slowly I started to believe I could do everything I wanted and then I started actually doing it. Cleaning my house or running errands didn’t seem as hard anymore.
I also listed to subliminal messages around these mantras. Whether you believe that works or not, even a placebo effect could have helped. I will talk more about that in a later section.
Next I will discuss journaling your feelings which will help you spot your negative thoughts so you can turn them into positive affirmations/mantras.
4. Journal Out Your Feelings
I will be writing a more in depth post about this, but for now I will give you the condensed version.
Journaling is a huge tool that is used in personal development and building a positive mindset work. It’s recommended that you spend at least 30 minutes daily (or at least a few days a week) writing out all your thoughts and feelings.
These could be what you’re going through currently or could be about past things that are bothering you or future events that you are worried about.
Write it all out. Write at least 3 notebook pages to make sure you’re getting it all out. If you hate wasting paper, I recommend this reusable notebook that you can either erase your work later or upload it to your computer. I’ve been loving mine. It’s been a game changer for my journaling.
If you have nothing specific that’s coming to your mind to talk about, but you know you’re having some funky emotions, then start writing those out. “I feel mad/sad/anxious/frustrated because….” Write each emotion you’re feeling out until you have nothing left to say.
What have you learned from what you’ve written? What action steps can you take to counteract the negative emotions you have been feeling? Can you flip the negatives into positives? Can you step away from circumstances that cause you to feel poorly?
On the flip side, don’t just write out your negative feelings. Write all your positive emotions down too. Celebrate the things that are exciting you. What are you proud of? What have you been accomplishing or are excited for?
It may be helpful to color code your thoughts too, especially if you want to look back at your writings or what to deeper analyze your thoughts. Pick a color for happy thoughts and one for negative thoughts. Or you can break your negative thoughts down into different colors. For example: green for anxious, blue for sad, red for mad, etc.
This will give you a visual representation of your feelings which hopefully should help you understand what you may need to work on moving forward.
5. Step Away From Negative People
This way to build your positivity is easier said than done. At least for me it has been. There are a lot of negative people in the world and the more we are around them, the harder it is building a positive mindset.
In some circumstances, like friends you may not feel connected to or acquaintances you don’t see often, it’s easier to walk away from the negativity and people who bring that out. In others, like family and coworkers, it can be harder to step away.
Note: I’m not saying to cut everyone out of your life or that you need to cut anyone at all. You may not have to cut someone out completely. It could be that you just limit your time together or find ways to put up boundaries to limit the negativity in your life.
It’s possible that you can step away from certain events vs a certain person altogether. If you know there is an event coming up that will have a lot of negative people or energy, it’s easier to say no to that event than to the person in general.
I’ve said no to certain events that I know will bring out my negative energy but then I’ve gone to other events with the same people. I knew the latter event would have a better energy or I didn’t have to closely mingle with certain people.
Find ways you can step away from negative energy or people/events that will bring it out in you.
Eventually your positive mindset may be strong enough that negativity in others doesn’t effect you, but until then be careful with whom you spend your time and emotional energy on.
6. Use Meditation or Subliminals
Meditation is a great way for building positive mindsets. While initially getting into a calm and peaceful state may be difficult, there are huge long term benefits.
Find a quiet place to relax. Personal choices: you may want the lights on or off, you may want candles or scents of some kind, and you may or may not want music in the background. You can also mediate while practicing yoga, once you’ve got the initial meditation down.
If you’re new to it, I’ve been finding a lot of great meditations on YouTube. They can range from a few minutes to an hour or more. Some may be more calming than others or have different mindsets (calming your mind, confidence building, trusting in your decisions, etc) they are guiding you though.
Find one(s) that work for you and what you’re working towards.
You can also find subliminal messages on YouTube. I enjoy Vortex Success. They have a huge array of videos to listen to. As I write this post, I’m listing to one on improving my time management skills.
Subminimal messages can be listened to while you work, while you sleep, or while your in meditation. Again, find one(s) that you want to focus on. There are plenty for building positive mindsets, but there also ones for growing confidence, overcoming procrastination, and building the future you want.
I urge you to give some sort of meditation a try at least once a week.
7. Be Present Focused
There is a saying: “if you’re depressed you’re living in the past and if you’re anxious you are living in the future”. While I don’t 100% agree with this, overall it is fairly accurate which is why you need to be present focused to have a positive mind.
It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life, but over the past several months of personal development training, those feelings have become less and less.
I’ve worked through things in the past that had been weighing me down (and I work on new ones that pop up) and I’ve worked towards not worrying so much about what the future holds.
Now I’m learning to live in the present and I’ve been in a much happier and positive energy.
You need to learn to live in the moment and not what was or could be. Learn to enjoy the moments going on all around you. If that’s a struggle and negativity is popping up again, use your journal, affirmations, and other tools I discuss in this post to pull yourself back up.
Think about what you can do now, today, to get yourself into a positive energy. If you’re anxious about something coming up, use your journal to work through your feelings so you can flip them and then come back to the present.
Yes, this is easier said than done and it will take time to master it but I know you can do it. Take it a day at a time.
8. Take Care of Yourself Physically and Mentally
The best things you can do for yourself to help you get to a more positive space is to take care of yourself both physically and mentally.
When you’re emotionally struggling, it can be hard to do so if that’s you then you can read some of my additional tips here.
If you’re in a more neutral headspace, or leaning only a bit negative, then this will be easier for you.
This is taking care of your physical health means things like practicing good hyenine, getting some daily exercise even if it’s just a short walk, getting a good nights sleep, and eating well.
This is taking care of your mindset such as the things mentioned in this post, taking the time to do things you love also known as self care, speaking to a professional if you need to, finding new hobbies or challenges, etc.
9. Perform Positive Daily Habits
Back to the habits I mentioned in the beginning of this post. It’s often said it takes 21 days to form a habit. With my experience through my own personal development journey, I feel this is pretty accurate.
It has usually taken me a few weeks to really get into something (such as exercise) without it being so hard anymore.
I want you to do the same with the ways to build a positive mindset mentioned in this post. Pick at least 2-3 of the things mentioned here and do them daily for the new 21 days.
This could be journaling, meditating, listening to subliminal messages, saying positive affirmations/mantras, making a point to be present focused, setting boundaries so you’re letting less negativity in, giving yourself self care, working out, etc.
What 2-3 things do you think you can do daily that sounds good to you and that you could see yourself being consistent with?
For myself, I try to do daily affirmations (adding new ones if I find a pattern of negative thoughts), working out for my health and energy levels, and am doing self care daily.
While I do journal and listen to subliminals, it’s not always daily so I don’t include them in my habits.
Pick a few habits to start out with. Maybe you will say affirmations in the morning, journal around lunch, and meditate or do self care in the evenings. The possibilities are endless and hopefully a bit exciting for your new positive mindset and personal growth.
Once you comfortably start doing them daily you can always add more.
Final Thoughts to Build a Positive Mindset
I hope this post has given you a lot of ideas that you will actually implement in your daily life. I know researching these things can feel like you’re doing the work, but you do need to put these ideas into place before you start benefiting from them.
As I said in the final section, take a few of these ideas to start out with and create daily habits around them.
I will be adding new posts on positive mindset, mental health, personal development, goal setting, and more so stay tuned for more tips and advice to become your best self.
How to Journal for Personal Development
Best Journals Every Writer Should Have
41 Daily Self Care Ideas to Add to Your Routine
Why Self Care is So Important
How to Boost Your Productivity
6 Fixable Reasons Why You’re Procrastinating
7 Morning Habits for Success