Here’s a scenario we all can relate to: You’re deep in the throes of despair. That light at the end of the tunnel? It’s so far from where you’re at you might as well be gazing at Pluto. So, how do you go about changing your mindset from a negative to a positive one?
“We often think that by simply telling ourselves to ‘be more positive’ we can magically shift all of our emotions,” Clara Artschwager, a dating and relationships coach, told Girlboss. “But what we end up doing is guilting ourselves into good feelings. I should be more positive. I should be happier.” It doesn’t work.
So, what does? We asked six happiness experts in a variety of fields to break down what tactics can help us change our mindset to be more positive.
1. Adopt a morning gratitude practice
“The easiest and most effective solution I’ve found to helping shift someone’s mindset is to create a morning gratitude practice. I usually suggest to my clients that prior to even getting out of bed, they think of a minimum three things they are grateful for. If this proves to be difficult, which is often the case especially if someone is depressed or has a negative mindset, it’s easiest to start with something that’s very surface level.
As an example: Being grateful you did your laundry yesterday and you don’t have to do it today. Gratitude doesn’t have to be grandiose or deep. It just needs to be a step to tricking the mind to thinking in a more positive direction. When done first thing in the morning, it sets up the practitioner to continue their positive mindset throughout the day. It also helps them remain present in the current moment, which is crucial for happiness and creating the life they really want to lead in 2019.”
Corrie LoGiudice, coach, author and speaker
2. Say ‘yes’ to opportunities aligned with your desires
“It’s easy to look back at previous years and get discouraged by our ‘failure’ to make the changes that we set out to make. But we can use that as fuel for inspiration and insight as we plan the year ahead instead of fuel for negativity and a lack of confidence. Take the information about what didn’t work, get curious about why, and plan a new course of action.
When you think about embracing opportunities, think about what you’re desiring in your life in the upcoming year. Perhaps it’s adventure? Community? Laughter? Authenticity? Expression? Travel? Joy? Pick 1-3 core things, and make next year about saying yes to opportunities that align with that.”
Ryann Pitcavage, life coach
3. Choose a mantra you can rely on
“Write down your fave mantra or phrase for how you’d like 2019 to go and say it softly in your mind. Or, shout it out to your heart’s content, whatever works for you. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Practice, practice, practice. The more you repeat and practice, the more your mindset will shift.”
Helen Sian India, wellness coach and yoga teacher
4. Make positive thinking a priority
“How do we go about reframing out mindset into a positive one? By making positive thinking a priority above all else. When you understand that nothing ever happens to you but always for you; that everything and everyone in your awareness is always a gift meant for you to experience, your perspective immediately changes from “negative and closed” to “positive and open.”
Sure, sometimes the gift is less visible but if you look closely you will find the gift—even in your pain.”
Jacqueline Pirtle, mindfulness & happiness coach
5. Audit your time—and who you spend it with
“Be mindful of who you spend your time with and what you give your time to. Emotions are contagious. Find people to surround yourself with who inspire you, lift you up, and bring out the best in you. If you are spending too much time with people who make you feel small or less than, maintaining a positive mindset will be difficult.
How you spend your time is a reflection of your priorities. If you want to work on having a more positive mindset, take an audit of where you spend your time at the moment and honestly reflect on whether those activities bring positivity into your life.”
Prudence Henschke, divorce and break-up coach
6. Remember to be kind to yourself
“Shifting your mindset starts with acknowledging where you are right now. Are you mad? Are you sad? Do you feel despondent or lonely? Whatever it is, get clear and let yourself feel it. Then get curious about the feelings: What’s driving them? Once you know the source, you can work with that.
What can you do to soften the feelings? What would actually make you feel better? Maybe you need a brisk walk to shake off the day and the person that cut you off. Maybe you need to call a close friend and tell them how you’re still hurting from the breakup. Maybe you need to get proactive and explore other living options to create some distance with your roommate. Or maybe you just need to sit and wallow for a bit.
Whatever it is, let it be. Shifting our mindset starts with being a whole lot kinder to ourselves, accepting where we’re at, and then getting clear on the proactive steps we can take to shift our mindset and bring more joy and pleasure into our lives.”
Clara Artschwager, dating and relationships coach