5 Ways to Adopt Positive Reframing for Mental Peace

You might have been advised to adopt the “glass is half full” mentality. But what does it mean? Simple, to adopt a positive outlook towards life.

Positive thinking can help you live a happier and healthier life sans the damaging stress. It does not mean you become oblivious to reality. It allows you to see things for what they are but approach them with a positive attitude. How you choose to respond to a certain situation is in your control.

But it doesn’t come naturally, does it?

Possibly.

If it doesn’t, then you can practice every day to build a habit of positive thinking. Several best practices can help build a positive attitude towards life. Practice gratitude, understand your negative emotions, reflect by talking to yourself, express your feelings around people who are not mindful of their actions, laugh, and consider talking to an expert.

Positivity and Realism — Say No to Toxic Positivity

While many connote optimism to positive thinking, it is essential to identify and distinguish it from toxic positivity. In some situations, staying positive or forcing yourself to be, is not helpful. Although it is mostly well-intentioned, forcing a positive outlook in difficult situations seeds the idea that positive thinking is the only coping mechanism for bad situations. However, this is not always the case. Toxic positivity takes root in our escapist approach toward negative feelings. According to clinical health psychologist Natalie Dattilo, it also stems from our habit of undervaluing our traumas and overvaluing positive outcomes.

Recognizing such situations is essential to avoid damaging your mental health. The concept of toxic positivity and conversations around it took a front seat during the pandemic and rising mental health concerns. Overdoing positivity to ignore the problem at hand, invalidates the problem itself. Instead of making us better, it can make us ill.

A study observed the impact of accepting emotions on health and well-being. Those who habitually avoid accepting emotions were noted to feel worse. It is essential to acknowledge your emotions and take an approach that is best suited to the situation. Coming to terms with how you are feeling also helps adopt a positive attitude in face of tests and trials in life.

Here are 5 ways to reinforce positive thinking for a healthier life.

Self-talk to Understand Thoughts and Feelings

You may find self-talk to be a strange concept, it is certainly not comfortable talking about it. Yet, studies indicate a positive impact of introspection on mental health. The language you use for self-talk has an influence on how you feel, behave, and think. The study established that people who referred to themselves in the second or third person reported encouraging results as opposed to the first person. For example, when self-evaluating try saying, “You are doing fine, keep going” instead of “I am doing fine, keep going”. A shift in the language you use for yourself influences the way you process feelings, thoughts, and prompt actions.

Focus on Solutions than Problems

Do you tend to overthink or fixate on something you did?

You made a joke that didn’t land well during a work meeting. Now you are rethinking your sense of humor. If you find yourself in a spiral of worry and concern over day-to-day behavior, try approaching thinking differently. For starters, try coming up with a solution instead of repeatedly thinking of the problem. Establish a forward-thinking mindset. Whatever you said is already done. During the next meeting ask them if they prefer icebreakers or dive right into work.

Everyone has a unique personality so, while some might appreciate your lively personality, others might prefer staying strictly professional. Either way, you’ll never know until you ask. Every time you find yourself in such situations, focus on what you can do better in the future and act on it.

Adopting this approach is beneficial in the case of rumination which is a state during which you are continuously thinking sad and negative thoughts. Continuing this pattern can be deterring to your mental health. Building a habit of rumination can impair your ability to process your thoughts and emotions in the long run.

Remember, people are busy thinking about themselves. They do not remember what you did in the past. So, you are good.

Consider Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a holistic approach used as a complementary method to soothe symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and lack of appetite. The process includes inhalation or dispersion of scents to provide relief. People use essential oils in diffusers or aroma lamps for aromatherapy.

Studies have indicated the relaxing and soothing benefits of lavender essential oil. It can help reduce anxiety and depression. Lemon and lavender essential oil can also boost mood. The citrus scent of bergamot essential oil is known to mitigate symptoms of anxiety.

Exercise to Boost Positivity

Working out is the best form of self-care as it comes with several health benefits that can prevent you from falling ill. Commonly, the benefits of exercising are connoted with physical health, but it has mental health as well. Exercise stimulates positive thinking as your body releases endorphins. It helps stay focused so you can choose to block out negative thoughts and lead with a positive mindset.

Research attributes mood-uplifting to stimulation of blood circulation to the brain due to exercise. Several mental benefits include improved sleep, stress relief, mood boost, increased energy, reduced tiredness, and fatigue consequently reduction in mental alertness.

You do not need to limit yourself to a particular workout. You can do whatever suits you. Try dedicating 20–30 minutes of your day to movements such as yoga, aerobics, walking, cardio, and swimming. Small activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the grocery store are workable.

Practice Gratitude

Research indicates that gratitude helps navigate difficult, stressful, and frustrating situations. A grateful outlook recorded a positive impact on physical and mental well-being. Difficult situations often cloud our judgment. We fail to see the good in our life and focus solely on the bad. Developing a habit of gratitude does not mean ignoring your problems. By practicing gratitude, you can prevent minor inconveniences from adding stress to your life.

There are several ways to practice gratitude. Consider maintaining a gratitude journal, and write about things you are grateful for every day. Try to appreciate and thank people in your life. If you are unable to do so, thank them mentally. Acknowledge their value mentally. Meditating can also help cultivate mindfulness and gratitude. If you are religious, praying and being thankful for your blessings is a wonderful way of inculcating a habit of gratitude.

Where to Start?

You have the power to change the narrative by living a life centered around positive thinking. Taking a different approach for yourself can be challenging and overwhelming, to say the least. It always helps to start small.

Make small changes that match your pace and build from there. Pick a hobby, exercise to feel better, be grateful every day and take a constructive approach to resolve difficult situations to manage stress. Building a community, finding a listening ear, or seeking professional help is always a good idea. Learn to feel your emotions, process bad phases in life, and make necessary changes.

Developing positive thinking is also a form of self-care.

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Sarah Shaukat

Sarah Shaukat

An economist, journalist & writer. I focus on tech, blockchain, crypto & healthcare. I love giving writing tips and narrate stories from my everyday life.