It is no surprise that during recent times people often find it difficult to maintain a positive outlook on life. After all, there is plenty to keep our spirits down and before you know it, you’re caught in a trap of negative thinking. This type of thinking only leads to more negativity, which in turn creates bad situations, and more negative thinking. It’s a damaging cycle to be in, and one that has to be overcome by dedicating time to overcoming it – it won’t just happen by itself. Below are some of the basic principles you can adopt to get rid of negativity and replace with a positive outlook:

Forgive and Let Go

Bad things happen to everybody and are an inevitable part of life. As clichéd as it sounds: it’s not what happens to us, but how we respond to the things that happen to us that really matters. It’s easy to wallow in grief, anger, or disappointment, but no good will develop if you hold on to these negative feelings. You need to take painful moments, deal with it, and eventually let it go. Life becomes simple when you’re not carrying negativity towards an event or person, be it yourself or someone else. By forgiving, you’re erasing a negative aspect of your life and allowing something positive to grow. There’s always something to learn from bad moments. When they happen to you learn to transform the bad into the good. It’s not easy, but it’ll be worth it.

Be a Friend to Yourself

If you had a friend who told you they felt worthless, or ugly, or revealed their perceived shortcomings to you, what would you say? You’d tell them to stop being so silly, that they’re an awesome person, and that they have a lot going for them. OK, now imagine that you’re a friend to yourself. Tell yourself the truth – I’d wager that whatever inner turmoil you’re carrying is nowhere near as bad as you think it is. Nobody is perfect, nobody has everything. By focusing on what you have rather than what you have not, you’re adopting a ‘glass half full’ approach. All by simply taking stock of the good things and building on them, rather than looking at an unachievable goal and trying to work your way down.

Silence that Inner Voice

The inner critic isn’t actually reflecting the truth, it’s just your insecurities trying to get one over on you. You’ll hear it say things like, “you’re not smart enough to get that promotion, don’t try” or “you can’t ask her out, she’s way out of your league”. Most people don’t even realize this inner voice is talking to them. Once you recognize the signs of the critic, you can take steps to ignore and eventually silence it for good. Treat the voice as a bully who just wants to put people down. Now say to it, “hey, you don’t get to say that to me. Only I decide what I am capable of.” The voice isn’t right and always overlooks the evidence to the contrary. If the voice says, “you never do anything right”, say “yes I do, I graduated school”, “I am employed” “I am in a loving relationship” or any other achievement. And if you have made mistakes in the past, there’s nothing to stop you from saying, “I’ve not got it right before, but I’m going to make sure I do this time.”

There’s a technique you can use to quiet your inner critic. They are called affirmations, which are positive sayings you say out loud to yourself.The studies on affirmations show that they’re hugely effective in breaking negative mindsets and reassure us that what we say is achievable. By adopting a positive mindset, we can begin to think about the great things we want to achieve in our lives. More than money or opportunity, the best we can do for ourselves is believe in who we are and the dreams we have. The rest will follow.

Here are some affirmations you can use, or create some of your own:

  • I am calm
  • I am relaxed
  • I am stress-free
  • Challenges help me grow
  • I am in charge
  • I am in control
  • I am at peace with myself
  • I forgive others
  • I like exercise
  • I like to relax
  • I remain calm
  • I can handle whatever comes my way
  • I am strong
  • I can accomplish anything
  • I make healthy choices
  • I choose happiness