On a daily basis, we’re not inundated with positive images, thoughts, and ideas. In fact, quite the opposite is true. In mainstream media, negativity is the norm. Just watch the nightly news and look to see how many stories have a positive theme. Negativity is an attention-grabber. Worry and fear keep people tuned in. With negativity swirling around us, it’s no wonder that so many of us gravitate toward it, filling our minds with doubt and stress. The truth is: negativity gets you nowhere.
The key to making progress in life—in your career, in your relationships, in your personal development—is to stay positive. Staying positive is difficult—and even more difficult is determining how to stay positive with the onslaught of articles and books offering advice for how to be happier. Here are five things you must do if you want to live a positive life:
1. Stop doing the things that make you unhappy.
This is number one on the list for a reason. Too often we spend time and energy doing things that make us unhappy and too often we don’t make the connection between what causes our unhappiness. Look at your life carefully. Are you doing anything that makes you unhappy? When you find yourself at your lowest points, is there anything you can pinpoint that has caused the low point to occur? Often there are patterns that we just don’t admit to. Take an extra close look at any alcohol or drug use because these are too often the cause of serious unhappiness and negativity.
2. Surround yourself with people who bring you up.
Just like you must look at the actions your taking and choose not to do things that cause you unhappiness, you must also choose not to be around people that cause you to be unhappy. Sadly, too many people surround themselves with individuals that don’t bring them up. If you find that people in your life are bringing you down — yes, even family members or significant others — you have to find a way to separate yourself from them. If you want to live a truly positive life, you must be surrounded by positive influences.
3. Revise the way you look at the world around you.
When going from a negative outlook to a positive one, I really had to spend time thinking about the way I was looking at things. The way you see the world around you is a choice. You can choose to look for the good or you can choose not to. It’s completely and entirely up to you. Once I realized this, I understood that it didn’t make much sense to focus on the bad things in life. Sure, I had to acknowledge them, but I certainly didn’t need to dwell on them. Change your point of view and your whole life will change too.
4. Believe you have the ability to change your own life.
This can be a hard one for many people. Over and over again they think or say the worst two words I used to be so familiar with and now dread: “I can’t…” The second you let yourself think that way about changing your life, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you don’t believe you can change your life, then it’s going to be pretty hard to actually do it. Believing in yourself sounds so cliché, but there’s a reason that concept has stuck around for so long. Without it, you’ll paralyze yourself and living a positive life will be pretty darn impossible.
5. Don’t seek happiness outside of yourself in things or people.
One of the things I always used to do was seek happiness outside of myself. If I was feeling unhappy or drowning myself in negativity, I would look outside myself for a solution. But, ultimately, no matter what I turned to, the negativity within me remained. It might be tempting to rely on other people for your happiness or turn to habits like shopping, eating, or drinking to quell your negative state of mind, but, believe me, those outside things never do the trick. You must seek happiness and positivity within yourself. It really is the only way to live a positive life.
It takes a lot of hard to work to live a positive life, especially if you’re struggling with negativity. But know this: even if you do one thing on this list, your life will improve. And you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try. If you want to live a positive life, do it. There may be obstacles and it may be hard to get from that negative place to a positive one, but, believe me, all of the work will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it because nothing is better than loving the life you’re living.