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7 Habits to Achieve a Positive Mindset (With Tips And Examples)

by Hugo

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Do you have a friend that always seems to have a positive mindset? The kind of person that always reacts with bright humor, optimism, and a positive mental attitude?

If so, you’ll probably like hanging around with that person. That’s because being around a positively-minded person makes you more likely to be happy yourself as well. Then, how can you achieve a positive mindset for yourself? How can you become the kind of person that always reacts positively?

The 7 methods described in this article will help you learn how to achieve a positive mindset. With a bit of work, people around you will think of you when asked to think about someone with a positive mindset.

Can you create a positive mindset?

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty, I want to answer this question first: can you even create a positive mindset?

Some people find it really frustrating when they hear: “just choose to be a little more positive!”

The people who hand out this advice often think that positivity is 100% a function of your own mindset. They think that we have the ability to choose to be positive from the inside anytime we want.

That’s not true. If you found out your partner was killed in a highway crash right now, would you be able to achieve a positive mindset at the snap of a finger? Of course not.

You may be able to act like you have a positive mindset by faking it, but it’s the emotions that you’re actually feeling that matter. It’s not like you can stand in front of a mirror and repeat “I’m positive and everything that’s happening is just perfect” thirty-five times and then *POOF* you’re happy. It doesn’t work like that.

What influences a positive mindset?

They say happiness is determined as follows:

  • 50% is determined by genetics.
  • 10% is determined by external factors.
  • 40% is determined by your own outlook.

Even though these percentages change from person to person (we actually did our own research regarding this topic), there’s always a part of your happiness that you can’t control. Even though we sometimes have the ability to choose happiness (as shown in this article with actual examples in this article), the opposite is true in a lot of cases.

As hard as you might wanna try, achieving a positive mindset is sometimes much harder than just making a decision.

7 ways to achieve a positive mindset

Even when you consider yourself to be a realist – or maybe even a pessimist – I’m still sure you’ll find these methods helpful to steer your life in a more positive direction.

Just know that you are not born with a positive or negative mindset. You can influence the way you act in your life by building habits. Here are 7 habits that are key to achieving a positive mindset.

1. Become self-aware of how you react to negativity

Imagine this: You are in a hurry after a long day at work. You need to get back home as soon as possible because you need to do groceries, cook dinner and head out to meet your friends.

But traffic is extremely busy and you end up stuck in front of a red light.

Bummer, right?! There are a couple of things you can do here:

  1. You can be mad at this #*#@%^@ traffic light and be pissed off. This traffic light is ruining your plans!
  2. You can accept the fact that this traffic light is the way it is and decide to not let it influence your happiness.

We cannot control the traffic. But we can control how we react to it. And that’s why it’s a perfect example of how happiness can be a choice. We get to choose how we react to events, and by choosing a positive outlook, we can vastly improve our happiness when dealing with these situations.

self awareness example red light

It’s difficult to be aware of the situation when such a scenario presents itself. However, this is something you can train. So the next time you recognize a situation like this, instead of becoming frustrated by this busy traffic, why don’t you try to focus on things that actually make you happy?

  • Put on some good music and just sing along.
  • Give your friends a call and talk about your plans for the evening.
  • Send a nice message to someone you love.
  • Just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Allow your mind to rest easy, instead of being focused on the busy traffic around you.

At the start of this article, you read that roughly 40% of your happiness is a result of your personal mindset. You can train yourself to take control of that 40% of happiness by embracing a positive mindset.

Happiness is a choice in a lot of scenarios, and recognizing when this is the case is a great first step in the right direction.

2. Be a source of positivity for others

On your pathway to achieve a positive mindset, you will encounter a lot of people that are dealing with similar issues like you. I want you to consider the possibility of being a source of positivity for these people.

You see, humans tend to unknowingly copy the behavior of others, and as some of you might know: emotions can be contagious!

If your partner or close friend is sad or angry then there is a possibility that you will feel that emotion as well. The same works for positivity, laughter, and happiness.

Your happiness can actually radiate to other people. Your smile has the power to bring a smile to someone else’s face! How can you put this to practice?

  • Smile to a stranger.
  • Try to laugh when you’re around others. Laughter is one of the best remedies for sadness.
  • Do something nice for somebody else, a.k.a. perform a random act of kindness.
  • Make a compliment to somebody else and notice how it affects their happiness.
  • Etc.

But why would you want to focus on the happiness of others while you’re interested in having a positive mindset yourself right now?

It’s easy: Spreading positivity to others will make you feel more positive as well. Teach by doing, and you’ll learn something for yourself as well.

3. Be grateful for the positivity you already have

You’ve probably heard this one before, but I’m still going to include this as a method to achieve a positive mindset. Practicing gratitude can have a great effect on your mental health, as shown by numerous studies. I’ve covered the topic of being grateful and how it influences your happiness in this in-depth article.

How can you practice gratitude?

  • Thank your family for everything they’ve done for you.
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Look back at your happy memories and be grateful for those memories.
  • Think about and focus on the positive things you have going on in your life.

I find that remembering good memories helps me maintain a happy mind. Thinking back about that time that I laughed my ass off about something silly brings a smile to my face. This is something I try to do daily, whenever I find a moment to stand still and think about my life.

4. Spend less time on TV or social media

While reality TV, soaps, and social media can be great for just passing the time, they can be terrible for achieving a positive mindset.

Why? Because these types of media usually match one of the following criteria:

  • It’s mindless and unproductive.
  • The media is really just an ad that’s disguised as something “organic” (looking at you, Facebook…)
  • It’s filled with people who are desperate for attention, and whoever screams the loudest generally end up on television.
  • People are only interested in sharing the “glamorous” side of their lives.
  • More often than you’d think, the content that you’re consuming is just dead wrong

This is more than enough reason for me to limit my time spent on these platforms. If you’re looking to achieve a more positive mindset, I’d suggest you do the same.

Again, I’m not saying that it’s all darkness and terror. These types of media do have their upsides, but it’s important to consider how little upside there is for you specifically.

5. Write about your wins

As soon as you made an effort to think positively about something, you should try to write about it.

For example, imagine you’re in a meeting with your team and you find the input of all your colleagues to be worthless. If you catch yourself before expressing your pessimistic comments, you can try to focus on the positives. Instead, maybe share with your colleagues how thinking outside the box is great, and give constructive feedback to keep the discussion moving towards a solution.

This would be a big win if you’re trying to stop being a pessimist.

The next best thing you can do is to write about it in a journal of some sort. This may sound silly, but hear me out. Just open a text file on your laptop or smartphone and explain to yourself how you handled the situation.

This comes with a couple of benefits:

Over time, you may be able to see how your positive habits become a part of who you are.

6. Spend time with the people you love

In a world filled with negativity, it is obviously quite common for someone to be surrounded by negativity. In fact, spending time with negative people who continually see the bad in every situation is the quickest way to become a negative pessimist too.

There’s this old saying:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If you hang out with pessimists, it’s likely you’ll slowly turn into one yourself.

It luckily works the other way around too. Surround yourself with positivity, and you’ll slowly embrace that mindset yourself as well!

My actionable advice to you?

  • Spend time with people you love in a setting that you enjoy. From my personal experience, spending time with people I love has a huge influence on my happiness. Whether I’m with my girlfriend, family or close friends, I almost always notice that I’m happier after spending time with these people.
  • If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to meet up with your friends in a club. If a quiet night playing board games together sounds more fun to you, make sure you meet up with others under these conditions. Don’t associate and mix up good things (your relationships with the people you love) with potentially bad things (like spending time at a club).
  • Unfriend people who add nothing but negativity to your life! Pay attention to only the people who mean something to you and have a positive influence on your happiness! If you’re currently not happy, you have to distance yourself from people who don’t add something to your life. You can decide who you spend time with, so choose the people who will actually add positivity to your life.

7. Don’t give up after a bad day

We are only human, so we’re bound to experience a bad day every once in a while. It’s important to realize that everybody occasionally experiences a string of bad days in their life. What you need to do when this inevitably happens:

  • Don’t let such a thing set you back.
  • Don’t interpret it as a failure.
  • Most importantly, don’t let it stop you from trying again tomorrow.

As Michael Jordan said:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

Even the biggest optimist in the world can sometimes be a negative pessimist. So who cares if you have a bad day? As long as you’re aware of your own actions, you can learn from your experiences and move on.

💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I’ve condensed the information of 100’s of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇

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Closing words

A positive mindset is achieved step-by-step as you create habits that slowly become a part of who you are. Even though you can’t always control your mindset, it’s important to recognize the situations where you can. By becoming more self-aware of your subconscious behavior, you’ll be able to slowly achieve a positive mindset one step at a time.

I’d love to hear from you. Was there anything that I missed? Do you have a story that you feel like sharing with the rest of us? Let me know in the comments below!

Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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