How to Build a Positive Mindset and Become Happier
Andreea Macoveiciuc | On 06, Dec 2013
Did you ever wonder how come some people are always smiling and happy when you meet them, while others look pretty much like the Grumpy Cat day and night? Attitude is given by the mental state that you have while carrying out your actions.
While some find it easy to stay positive in any situation, others have a hard time seeing the glass half full when circumstances aren’t exactly favorable. For them, happiness is often conditional: I’d be happy if I had that car, or a better job, or a slimmer body and so on.
Happiness is achievable if you develop your mindset positively. Few days ago I read this beautiful and inspiring line:
“Looking at the glass as half full or half empty fails to acknowledge that I have a glass”.
Thus, if you want to build a positive mindset, you have to start by acknowledging the facts.
Analyze the facts
Seeing things positively or negatively is a matter of choice. Our brain is built to store memories and ideas, to develop new beliefs, generate thoughts based on past experiences and identify similar patterns in order to draw conclusions. Whenever a thought occurs in our mind, the brain has two alternatives: to adopt it immediately, based on generalization, or to doubt it and try to come up with arguments that could back it up.
I’ll give you an example, to understand this better: let’s say a friend of yours recently bought a new car. He’s very excited about it and always talks about how well it performs, so the message that your brain receives is that your friend looks a lot happier since buying that car. Then this thought occurs: “If I bought a similar car, I’d be just as happy as he is”.
This is where generalization kicks in: your brain starts searching for similar events in your past or in the lives of people you know, in the attempt of finding enough arguments to back up the initial thought – “I’d be happy if I had a new car as well”.
If all the events the brain can remember are associated with positive feelings, it will jump to the conclusion that buying a new car is, indeed, something that could make you happier. So the thought becomes a belief, meaning that from that point on, you’ll be convinced that buying a new car will make you feel better.
Ideas vs. beliefs
Your mindset is the result of all the beliefs you adopt, with or without analyzing the arguments that back them up. The usual pathway is idea – belief – conviction, so whenever an idea occurs in your mind, it’s up to you to adopt it or to doubt it. If that specific idea is a disempowering one, and you still adopt it through generalization and without searching for arguments, the result will be a disempowering mindset.
Here’s another example: if you once fail in an exam, the idea occurring in your mind is that you’re not able to perform better at that specific subject. You can doubt this thought or adopt it and allow it to become a belief, and then a conviction. If it becomes a belief, you’ll feel anxious and insecure the next time you’ll have to accomplish another task linked with that subject, and this might influence your overall performance in a negative way. If it becomes a conviction, you’ll be convinced that you’ll fail in accomplishing that new task, and you’ll either avoid doing it or fail in solving the task due to lack of mental clarity and courage to try all the potential solutions.
The positive mindset is built by adopting only those ideas that can become empowering beliefs and convictions. People with a positive mindset see their thoughts as constructive or destructive tools, and they choose to only adopt those ideas that can take them closer to their goals and make them feel happier. And the better you learn to cope with negative thoughts, the more likely you are to feel happy and have a healthier attitude toward life, in the long run.
Build the positive mindset
The 5 simple steps below can help you build a positive mindset and become a happier person:
- Meditate on your thoughts, analyze the disempowering ideas and only accept those beliefs that are inspirational and can help you improve.
- Consciously commit to changing your mindset and building an empowering one. It’s up to you to follow up thoughts with actions, so if you really want to build a positive mindset, adopt this decision and stick with it regardless of the circumstances. Then, analyze all your future thoughts through this new lens.
- If you need help to change your mindset, get it. Look at those people around you who always have something positive and encouraging to say, and are able to lift you up. Seek advice from them and surround yourself with positive people.
- Be ready to change those things that no longer fit in your new life. Get rid of all the things that remind you of unsuccessful or painful moments from your past, and focus only on the bright parts. If you have people in your social circles that do nothing but discourage you each time you meet, perhaps it’s time to change something in your relationships as well.
- Believe in the positive future that’s in front of you. Envision yourself few months from now and focus on the feelings you’ll have and on the great things you’ll be able to accomplish once getting rid of the disempowering thoughts and building a positive mindset. Anticipate the happiness that will fill you when you’ll get there and allow this happiness to start manifesting here and now.
Building a positive mindset may be the key to happiness, but it’s a process and like any other process, it takes time. So if you’re ready to start working on your attitude and mindset, remember this simple rule: Believe, commit and make it happen, against all odds!