Happiness is a freeing and exciting state-of-mind. Being a positive person – learning to let positivity come naturally to you – makes you a better person emotionally, mentally and physically. And let’s be honest, people will want to be around you. However, becoming a more positive person is more than just thinking happy thoughts. Like most things, it takes hard work, commitment and repetition to become habit. Just as easy as it is to let the negative thoughts about yourself, other people, and situations rule in your head, it’s easy to begin finding the good in situations – if you try.
I have compiled 25 actionable ways that you can use to start becoming a more positive person that looks on the bright side of life. I use most of these on a regular basis, and the few others I continually work on. As a result I am a positive and happy person to be around, and I’ve been told I’m really good at lifting others spirits – a wonderful compliment!
I consider myself very lucky to have never had to battle the demons of depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness that brings about negative thoughts. If you experience negativity due to mental illness please know that you’re not alone, and it’s important that you seek professional guidance and help.
25 Actionable Tips to Become More Positive
- Leave Three Positive Reviews Per Week We’ve all seen it scrolling through social media – people tend to only leave a comment when it is to criticize and complain, and they don’t say much when they’ve enjoyed something. I’ve started reaching out and commenting when I see and use things that I enjoy, and it feels good! Maybe it’s your favorite product or service, or a podcast you enjoy, an Instagram account that you love, an article that you read and thought was really well-written, or you experienced great customer service. Don’t be afraid to use your social media powers for good and brighten someone’s day with a positive review.
- Say ‘Thank You” I know this seems obvious, but I’m not talking about the person that served you dinner (though definitely always use your manners when you’re exchanging goods and services!), but I’m talking about that person at work that helped you answer a question, that friend who listened to you when you were having a bad day and needed to talk. The people that took the time to be kind and helpful to you without even thinking twice. Don’t forget to stop and just tell them thank you, and that you appreciate them.
- Positive Affirmations This one always feels really silly to me, but it works. Years ago I attended a 2-day leadership workshop where we were tasked with saying positive affirmations to ourselves. I definitely am a person that talks to myself (because 1. who doesn’t, and 2. I’m an only child so I’ve just had a lot of conversations with myself), but I immediately thought of that old Stuart Smalley SNL skit “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it people like me”. It just seemed strange and I was skeptical.I ended up doing my homework and started doing positive affirmations, just in the car or the shower where no one could hear me, and low and behold I started to believe myself. I just felt a little bit better about myself, about getting through a tough situation, about making good decisions – whatever I was talking to myself about. The act of giving myself a pep talk out loud was actually working, and I’ve been a big believer in saying positive affirmations ever since.
- Acknowledge What You’re Grateful For I get it – we all get busy and it’s easy to take things for granted. It happens to all of us and it’s nothing to feel bad about. What we can do is just try and take some time to think about or share with others the things we’re grateful for. It can be something as silly as ‘I may not like the traffic but I’m grateful to be able to afford a car’, or as meaningful as telling you’re mentor that you’re really grateful for their guidance.
- Write Down or Discuss the Best Thing About Your Day Live alone? Grab a journal and start writing down the best thing about your day. Live with other people? Make it a nightly ritual to tell each other the best thing about your day. Heck, you can even just say it out loud. Trust me, you’ll find yourself smiling and thinking about the thing that brightened your day without even trying.
- Set 2-3 Goals Each Week I’m a big to-do list maker each week. Okay okay, I just have a running to-do list; I’m obsessed with them (I even have some pretty watercolor ones you can grab for free from my Resource Library!). I just feel really good when I accomplish something and can cross it off my list, and your goals can be whatever you want them to be. Maybe you’ve been trying to be better about meal prepping, or want to try and read for 30 minutes every month. Maybe you’re trying to eat out less or need to go through your closet. No matter how big or small, set 2-3 attainable goals each week for yourself that you can meet and you’ll find it’s an instant pick-me-up!
- Remove One Negative Thing From Your Life or Thoughts Each Week Find yourself constantly complaining about things? Try and focus on stopping just one. Remember that we’re forming good habits here so the goal isn’t to overwhelm. This one really pairs well with acknowledging what you’re grateful for. For example, you may really hate your job and have good reason to, but try removing that thought and replacing it with something you’re grateful for with your job (and get working on getting out of there!).
- Give Back Just today I donated a little bit of money to the candidates running in my state in November that I am supporting. I don’t have a lot of my time to give at the moment, but supporting them monetarily is something I can do. And when I can donate my time to the people and causes that are important to me, I do. Giving back helps both you do something positive and the causes you’re giving your time to. A win-win!
Grab your copy of my Positivity Workbook here and get started creating new habits!
- Eat Healthy This isn’t anything new. Keeping yourself and your body fueled with healthy and nutritional foods helps both your mind and your body in so many ways. I’m not saying not to indulge, because I absolutely think it’s okay to do that in moderation, but when you’re eating healthy and wholesome foods for all your meals on a regular basis you will feel so much better. (I have a meal planning worksheet available in my Resource Library for free that you can grab to get started!)
- Exercise Just like healthy eating, it is a widely known fact that exercise is good for us both physically and mentally. Movement in general is good. On the days I’m sore or just not feeling the gym I be sure to take a walk and make sure that I’m moving, and I feel so much better when I exercise. You will too!
- Stay Hydrated I’m obsessed with water. I always have a water bottle with me and love it. And it’s important that you drink water for your mind and your body. If you don’t like water straight up than add fruit or vegetables to your water for flavor or give flavored water a try.
- Refresh Your Home Yes it’s true – we can get in ruts in our home and it can really ruin your mood. For example, I’ve been staring at these cords from my flat screen that’s mounted in my bedroom for a couple months trying to figure out how to hide them since I live in an apartment and can’t drill bigger holes in the wall. And every time I walk into my bedroom it frustrates and annoys me and I think negative thoughts.Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, new artwork (you can download super affordable printables on Etsy!), fresh bedding or new throw pillows, the smallest updates can make you feel good about your home, and it’s my personal opinion that having a home we love and feel cozy and comfortable in is incredibly important.
- Ask Yourself ‘Does This Really Matter?’ When you find yourself complaining or getting upset, ask yourself: does this really matter? I believe that most things we get upset about truly don’t matter in the long run. Sure, it’s annoying that you hit every red light on the way to work but is it worth your time and energy? Are you going to care tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Nope. You’re not. Saving your time and energy for the things that truly matter.
- Make a Vow To Not Complain I know I know – this is a tall mountain to climb. Especially if you’re a person who is constantly complaining. Cold turkey may be a tough thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try. At the very least you’ll find yourself complaining less than you were before, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
- Create An Action Plan If you’re thinking ‘Heather, this is a lot to keep track of’ I get it. And that’s why I created a 13 page Positivity Workbook for you. It lays all of these principles out so you can track them on a weekly and monthly basis, making these activities easy and accessible. You can check it out on my Etsy shop!
- Identify Your Positive Friends “You are the company you keep”. It’s an age old saying for a reason and the simple fact is that it’s true. We feed off of the energy of the people around us, so when we surround ourselves with people who are negative it’s exhausting and brings us down. We should always be striving to be the best possible version of ourselves, and if that means distancing yourself from company that brings you down than tough as it may be, always be sure you’re doing what’s best for you.
- Build a Positivity Playlist We all have music that brings our spirits up, and I love listening to my Happiness playlist that I’ve compiled on Spotify when I’m feeling blah or just negative. Instead of feeding into that mood with somber music that brings me down, I combat it by choosing to listen to music that lifts me up.
- Sleep I’m at that age that being tired is almost just as bad as being hungover. My alarm goes off about 4:30am every morning during the work week, so it goes without saying that I’d love to get a few more hours of sleep, but I usually get around 6 hours a night and I can concentrate during the day, I feel energized, and I work hard. If I stay up or out too late I’m not only not useful when it comes getting things done but I’m also on edge all day.One you can do to help you fall asleep at night is to PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. I capitalize this because it’s so important. I have a rule that when I go to bed my phone gets plugged in to charge, I set my alarm on it, and that’s it. Unless my parents or friends call at night (in which case it’s probably not good), than I don’t touch it. Instead I read my book, or watch a little TV and typically fall asleep immediately. (NOTE: If you have trouble falling asleep with a TV on than guys – turn it off!).
- Adjust Your Posture Sit up straight! How you carry yourself will not only make you feel better and more confident, but you’ll seem more confident to those around you, which is a great thing! Good posture is great not just for your body physically, but it will give you an unspoken confidence that you can’t beat.
- Keep a List of What Motivates You I honestly don’t know what I would do without this site and my Etsy store. It’s my passion, I’m constantly learning, I’m excited to keep creating and growing, and it’s such a great outlet for me. I also love traveling and cooking, and I make sure to make those things a priority in life so I have things to look forward to.Whatever your passions are, keep pursuing them, and the next time you’re sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself make yourself get up and do what motivates you (or try something new you’ve been wanting to try!)
- Teach Others Full transparency – I struggle with this one the most. I’m not naturally a teacher and never really had the confidence that I was qualified enough in the things I do to teach people. What I’m coming to realize is that teaching doesn’t have to be a big or a formal thing. Maybe you belong to a Facebook group for a hobby you love and can help answer other’s questions, maybe you can give someone a pro-tip and make their life easier. It can truly be as simple as that.
- Reduce Your Multi-Tasking Don’t overwhelm yourself. I realize that we don’t live in a world where we often have the luxury to work on only one thing at a time, but through the use of time-blocking (designating blocks of time to work on one thing and make actionable progress) you’ll feel like you’re making progress forward and not drowning in a thousand things.
- Travel Take a break and see the world. Even if it’s the next town over. Just get away and give yourself a break mentally and appreciate new people and surroundings. Travel is good for your soul. (I have a free 25 page travel planner you can grab from my Resource Library).
- Keep Hobbies Make time for the things you enjoy. I hate when people say ‘I’m busy’, because we’re all busy and it’s not a competition or a badge of honor. When you make the time to do the things you love you’ll be happier, you’ll learn, you’ll grow and you’ll feel refreshed.
- Leave Positive Reviews It’s really easy to leave a comment or review when we don’t like something but it’s time we also start acknowledging the things we like. From your favorite podcasts to the books you love, from your favorite products to great service you receive, leaving positive feedback forces you to think positively about things and will mean the world to the people providing you with the content, products and services you’re reviewing. My Positivity Workbook has a whole page dedicated to leaving 3 positive reviews each week for a full month so you can organize and plan ahead of time!
That’s it friends! My top 25 actionable ways to become a more positive person. As we talked about in here these will take time and a commitment to changing your changing your outlook on life, but the results will be you feeling so much better about life.
TELL ME: What things do you do that help you become, or stay, more positive in life?