Our minds are powerful. So much so, that one simple thought can determine the tone of the day. And as much as we’d like for all of our thoughts to be good ones, there are circumstances in life that can make it so this isn’t the case – (exhibit A: this entire past year). We may not be able to stop the negative mindsets from creeping in, but when they do, we have a choice: we can let them take over, or we can choose to switch the flip to positive. Below are a few steps you can take to combat a negative headspace and create a more positive mindset.
We all have an internal dialogue that reflects our thought processes, dictating how we perceive both ourselves and our lives. The hope is that for the most part, this internal narration is a positive one, but we’d be naive to say there aren’t times – or periods of time – when this narrator sways to the negative. You may not be able to control everything in your life or prevent negative instances from occurring, but you can control your responses, your thoughts, your reactions. It isn’t always easy, but it does become easier with intention, practice, and time. Because here’s the thing: YOU are the narrator of your life’s story.
When you find yourself in a tough situation, or when negative thoughts begin to creep in, make the conscious decision to rewrite the narrative. Emphasize any positives that may come from what you’re going through, look at yourself and your life through a more uplifting lens, and begin to train your mind to see the positivity and light even in the darkest hours. You are the writer of your story. Although we cannot control all that life throws our way, we do have the power to dictate how we view ourselves and our lives. Consistently choose to see the best of both. Practice makes perfect in any situation; your thought process is no different.
Our bodies need movement, and our minds absolutely require it. The benefits of movement speak for themselves, but when it comes to impacting the mind, the feel-good endorphins that come from moving our bodies just can’t be beat. When you start to feel low, make the effort to get some movement in, even if that just means a short walk down the block or a five minute stretch. Give yourself the chance to feel better physically and you’ll find yourself feeling mentally uplifted as well.
Social media can be a great place to form and maintain connections or find positive inspiration; however, it is also home to a great deal of negativity. Whether that be distressing world news, individuals spreading hate, or the comparison game that stems from only seeing another person’s highlight reel – if you’re already battling a negative state of mind, social media can be a dangerous place to be. When you find yourself in a low state, try disconnecting from the social world for a bit. Free your mental space from the worries of the world or the lives of strangers on the internet and let that be the time you focus on yourself and the important relationships in your life.
Focusing on ourselves and our own wellbeing is absolutely necessary, but if all of our time is spent in our own minds, it can become too much, especially if we’ve found ourselves in a negative headspace. So while training our minds to start seeing the positives is a great first step, it isn’t a quick fix. Sometimes the best thing we can do when hit with a negative headspace is to get out of our own heads. To do that, we need to connect with others.
So, as much as you may feel the need to be alone with your thoughts during negative times, try pouring yourself into others instead. Connect with the people in your life who bring out the best in you, who bring out the belly laughs, and who show you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Or, spend some time giving back to those in need, volunteering your time and dedicating a portion of your day or week to helping others. When our mental spaces are down, we can forget that there are others who struggle, too. Choose to step away from the negative thoughts you’ve been having and allow connection with others to bring you into the present moment.
A positive mindset doesn’t just come at the push of a button, but there are steps we can take to build a stronger, more positive mindset over time. If you find yourself in a negative headspace, try not to give into it. Instead, give yourself time to rewrite the narrative and allow yourself the chance to step out of the negativity – it’s your story, after all.