12 Ways to Boost Your Positive Energy
When mainstream America thinks of the stereotypical “positive person,” they envision someone with his head buried in the sand, ignoring life’s challenges, smiling like a gomer as his life falls apart.
But devil-may-care personalities do not fit my definition of a positive person. A real positive person seeks to be a positive force in the world, to make a difference. He also keeps his head out of the sand and works to correct his problems instead of allowing them to bear down on him year after year. And perhaps the defining characteristic of a positive person is his willingness to think happy thoughts as he works against insurmountable odds.
After all, if we’re going to change the world (or ourselves), we don’t get extra points for being miserable. With that in mind, here are 12 simple surface techniques to help anyone be more positive while overcoming life’s challenges:
1. Smile: If you smile, you’ll notice two things: smiles are contagious, and they actually improve your mood. People respond to smiles with friendliness and generosity, which could turn your whole day around. Smiles even work during telephone conversations, where they can be heard clear as day by whomever you’re speaking with.
2. Project Confidence: Boost the positive energy in your communications by providing additional non-verbal cues: upright posture, firm handshake, uncrossed arms, calm demeanor, and appropriate eye contact.
3. Dress the Part: You don’t have to dress like James Bond everyday (unless maybe you’re a caterer), but dressing near the peak of appropriateness for your surroundings has 2 important effects: people may lend you greater legitimacy and respect, and because of this, you may feel and act more empowered. Superficial or not, the effect is real.
4. Say Something Nice: Every day, life presents you with another opportunity to say something kind, generous, and genuine to somebody. Whether it’s complimenting a co-worker on his new tie or admiring someone’s accomplishment, boosting the positive energy in someone else’s life boosts it in your own too.
5. Increase Positive Relationships: If you surround yourself with positive, supportive people instead of deadbeats and abusers – well, that’s half the battle, isn’t it?
6. Group Learning: Find something productive that you love to do (writing, dancing, acting, programming, or whatever) and then find a group of like-minded people who are interested in learning this activity with you. The group is your support structure and your growth catalyst, and it will help you accomplish something you can be proud of.
7. Morning Gratitude: Every morning, remind yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for: relationships, shelter, food, family, and whatever else makes you feel happy to be alive.
8. Turn a Problem into a Puzzle: Sometimes a single word can make all the difference, and “problem” is one of those words. I’ve often wondered if children would take more readily to mathematics if we called them math puzzles instead of math problems: problem is such a negative, hopeless, impotent word. When a problem descends upon your life, think of it as a puzzle. Is there a way to solve this puzzle? If so, start putting the pieces together, calmly and with confidence.
9. Fill that Glass: Yes, the world is full of negative circumstances that require your attention, so don’t bury your head in the sand. But do remind yourself that there are just as many positive forces in the world as negative ones; your fixation on the negative is a matter of perspective and choice.
10. Make Negative Thoughts Count: Make sure the time you spend thinking unhappy thoughts is productive: planning solutions, developing serenity, or learning a valuable lesson.
11. Positive Introspection: Take time to inventory the characteristics that make you valuable: skills, attitudes, generosity, capacity to love, and so forth. Be aware of all the wonderful abilities you bring to the table. Write them down if you have to. Everyone has something valuable to contribute.
12. Positive Affirmation: I’ve never been much of an affirmation specialist, but my motto on affirmations is simple: as long as affirmations are representative of reality and are not keeping you from dealing with true problem areas, they’re good; do them if they work.
To some, positive thinking sounds like a bunch of Ned Flanders hogwash, but isn’t it better to greet your problems with a burst of enthusiasm than a Doldrum of despair? As long as you remain aware of your challenges, a positive train of thought is more likely to get you from here to there so you can resolve them.
Of course, even the most positive person in the world isn’t happy all the time, nor should that be the goal. The goal, ever elusive, is to remain positive whenever it’s helpful.
Negativity and unhappiness have many causes, each requiring its own unique treatment. But as you work to solve your life’s problems, these 12 simple surface techniques can improve your relationships, state of mind, and general outlook. Think positively, and live powerfully.
Perhaps you’ll find satisfaction in being a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day, a sign of hope when the world is bleak, or a voice of encouragement in a sea of hecklers. Or maybe you’ll be happy simply knowing you met every challenge with a hopeful heart.
August 29, 2007 Wednesday at 1:16 am