Do you ever feel like you see the worst in everything, no matter how hard you try? Do you struggle to have enough faith to believe that good will happen to you too? Do you struggle with pessimistic thoughts all the time? It’s time to learn how to keep your positivity, no matter what challenges you face.
As people take on increasingly more responsibilities in the world, they also begin encountering more and more hurdles. The hurt they go through makes many people increasingly more pessimistic. The more difficulties someone encounters, the harder to believe that things can turn out well. Losing their positive outlook on life can impact people in more ways than one. If you want to regain or keep your positivity, here’s how to do it.
Why Are People Negative?
Some people use the terms negativity and pessimism interchangeably. In that sense, pessimism is the belief that things are likely to go wrong, no matter how hard people try to make them right. Pessimistic people see the world mostly in shades of black and grey, rarely white.
Most psychologists see pessimism and optimism as a spectrum. Each individual is somewhere on that spectrum, depending on their personality. Everyone fluctuates on that spectrum throughout their lives. Immediately after a traumatic event, most people will become a little more pessimistic. Circumstances and the environment play a significant role in shaping how people see life. Besides the environment, genetics, relationships, past experiences, and other factors may affect people’s positive or negative.
Twin studies have suggested that more than half the differences between pessimists and optimists are genetic. But, as people advance through life, their genetics get diluted by environmental factors through a process called epigenetics. That means, even if you feel inherently pessimistic, if your environment is beneficial, you can learn to be more positive.
While pessimistic people can get through life just fine, certain inherent benefits are associated with positivity. One study that followed the lives of 70,000 women from 2004 to 2012 documented these benefits. The study found that the women who have a positive outlook on life have a significantly lower risk of dying from significant causes of death.
Amongst those causes are heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory diseases. Those aren’t the only benefits associated with positivity. Researchers also found an increase in quality of life, higher energy levels, improved psychological health, lower rates of depression, and better coping skills.
5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Positivity in Life
Try adopting these new habits to add positive thinking to your day.
1. Cultivate A Positive Environment to Keep Your Positivity
One of the main reasons people tend to be harmful is because of their surroundings. From the people around you to your hobbies, every tiny aspect of your life can make a difference.
People who struggle to keep positivity in their life are often influenced by externalities. The most overwhelming influence is often the people around you. If your friends and family are negative, they always think about the worst outcomes that will inevitably rub off on you. Most negative people are the way they are because of how they were raised. Many parents believe that preparing their kids for the worst will help in the long run, but it doesn’t.
If you feel like you struggle to keep your positivity, it might be helpful to reflect on the company you keep. If you find that your closest friends and family are the reason you struggle with optimism, it’s time to put some distance between you. Some of the people around you are straight-up toxic, and you will need to cut ties with them for good. When you make space for positive people in your life, they will rub off on you and give you reasons to become more optimistic.
Reflect on what activities you engage in. If you struggle with optimism, that is undoubtedly tied to specific toxic actions. If you engage in harmful activities daily, negativity will become part of your new normal. Playing a sport just for the sake of playing it is an example of a hobby that can cause more harm than good.
If your hobbies are all about results rather than following your dreams, chances are you should drop that activity. To harvest positive thoughts, you need to do things that bring you joy and prove things can be good.
2. Be Tidy And Organized
Your levels of tidiness might seem unrelated to how positive or negative you are. But that’s a false impression many people have. The way your home or workplace looks can influence how you think about certain situations in your life.
Research found that people who have more cluttered and messy houses are, on average more stressed and depressed than people who keep their surroundings clean. Stress plays a significant role in how someone’s outlook on life is shaped. More stressed people tend to feel like everything they do will backfire. For example, if your workplace is messy, you will have a more challenging time believing that your projects will turn out flawlessly.
What if you lost some paperwork in all the mess? What if you can’t find some piece of information that you desperately need? The messier you are, the more distracted you become. You lose focus, perform worse, and that gives you a reason to believe nothing will ever go in your favor. This encourages negative thought patterns.
To regain positivity, you could start by cleaning everything up. Research has shown that the simple act of cleaning up helps people feel more optimistic, even after failure. Once you deal with that, you will have one less burden that can convince you nothing will work out for you. A clean home and workplace mean you can start having a pure mind.
The less stressed you are, the easier it will be to accept positive thoughts in your life. When everything is where it should be, your home looks aesthetically lovely. You have a reason to believe you can do anything.
3. Practice Gratitude
In trying to keep your positivity, you might find that externalities aren’t all that you need to change. The way you think and engage with the situations around you are detrimental to your outlook in life.
Gratitude is characterized by someone’s openness to be appreciative and return kindness. This quality is more often than not. You need to learn, not just a trait you are born with. Many people experience many good things during a day, but they are passive to those events. That’s why they can’t have a positive outlook. But, once you actively acknowledge all the good in your life, your mindset will change.
There are three main steps if you want to learn to be grateful. First, you need to observe. What makes you smile? Why do you say thank you? The second step is to affirm the good you receive. When something positive happens, make a note of it.
Lastly, you need to acknowledge the benefits that certain things and people bring to your life. Studies have found that one way to go through these steps is to keep a gratitude journal. Writing things down can improve your optimism and sense of well-being. So, if you have trouble learning to be grateful, start keeping a gratitude journal.
4. Be Open To Humor to Keep Your Positivity
People who are prone to negativity are often severe and stuck-up. They feel like they can’t open up to humor, so they don’t seek out feel-good environments and situations.
Studies have found that laughter lowers stress and anxiety levels. People who engage in humor also have improved coping skills and self-esteem. When you permit yourself to laugh, you can be more relaxed. Humour lightens the mood, thus making the world seem a little less harsh. If you feel like you are suppressing your emotions and trying to be as severe as possible, know that it might be why you are a pessimist.
Even if you don’t feel like laughing, pretending can help you achieve the same results. Forcing yourself to smile, make jokes, and improve your optimism levels and lower stress.
5. Don’t Let Fears Hold You Back
Pessimism is often driven by fear. When people set themselves up for failure, they won’t have to deal with disappointment when they do eventually fail. People use negativity as a defense mechanism, so they don’t have to face their fears.
Pessimists have the “advantage” of staying in their comfort zone. Because they believe everything they do will fail, they use that as an excuse to never take a chance on anything. They stay in their lane and never take any risks. The trick to getting out of this rut is to force yourself to start doing what you want regardless of the risks.
Stop focusing on the outcome and focus on your desires. You have to ask yourself, “what is the worst that could happen?”. You will find that the worst thing that could happen in real life is much less scary than you imagine. When you start taking more leaps of faith in your life, your risks will pay off. That will be all the proof you need to change your mindset from negative to positive.
Final Thoughts On Some Easy Ways to Keep Your Positivity in Life
Many people struggle with having positive thoughts and being optimistic. Genetics makes it so that many individuals are borne more towards the pessimistic end of the spectrum. But even though genetics play a significant role, your lifestyle and environment are also important. And those are the aspects you can change yourself.
You have to be wary of your environment to keep your positivity in life. Often, the people you surround yourself with influence how you view life. If you have toxic people in your life, try to cut ties with them. The same goes for hobbies and other activities. If you engage in pursuits that make you feel worse after you do them, that’s a sign they are toxic hobbies that might be worth switching with more relaxing ones.
Once you focus on the outside world, you have to tweak some things personally. Practice gratitude, face your fears, and allow yourself to engage in humor. If you follow any of these steps, you will find that you get closer and closer to the optimistic end of the spectrum in no time.