Have you read Norman Vincent Peale’s classic book on The Power of Positive Thinking or one of the thousands of books, articles, blogs, and other resources on the importance of mindset? Then you probably already have a good understanding of the power of positivity and the role it plays in accomplishing your goals for a positive life.
No one can deny that your mindset is a crucial element to your ultimate success.
But, thinking positively is never going to be enough to help you realize everything you have ever dreamed in life. In fact, positivity, while a necessary part in your success equation, is only part of the formula. Without action that leverages that optimistic mental attitude, your dreams will always be unrealized plans and nothing more.
Learn to take charge of not only your attitude but also your actions when seeking to be successful in life. Both elements are required. You have to learn to harness the energy of your thoughts into actionable steps that will help you achieve what you want. While your positive thoughts form the basis of your beliefs and values, it is ultimately what you do to realize those ideas that will help you achieve your dreams.
Keep reading to learn about:
- creating the right positive mindset,
- the dangers of relying solely on positive thinking,
- and how you can leverage your attitude to turn your dreams into reality.
We’ll share some practical strategies for improving your mindset as well as how to build doable steps that help you reach your goals. We’ll even share all the ways positive thinking and action can change your life for the better.
Start With a Positive Mindset
Your thoughts and outlook are what guide everything else in your life. When you have a positive outlook, you believe that good things can happen. You make choices that allow for those positive outcomes, and you encourage more positive thoughts and actions to manifest themselves.
Mindset guides nearly everything your conscious mind does. It has a significant impact on your subconscious mind, as well. Your outlook is the very foundation of your character. Outlook informs the circumstances in which you find yourself as well as your beliefs in your own abilities to persevere and overcome challenges.
Others have made the analogy that your mind is like a garden. When you cultivate it with care and attention and provide the right environment, beautiful and healthy things can grow. When you neglect it and allow your thoughts to run wild without focusing on what is needed for your well-being, thoughts and ideas will still grow. However they will likely not be very healthy or useful.
Whichever route you take, your mind will always expand. But, it’s the foundation you lay with your mindset that dictates what your mind will bring forth.
Negative Begets Negative
As humans, we are predisposed toward negativity. We are much more likely to focus on our negative or darker emotions, like pain and disappointment, than to concentrate on our contentment and joy.
Why is this? Well, our brains are actually hard-wired this way.
Your circumstances and emotions play a large role in how your brain learns and the connections it makes every time you experience something. The more often you experience something, the more times your brain will connect those memories to other neural connections. Emotions and sensory input are two factors that increase these types of neuron connectivity.
For example, olfactory memory, or your ability to remember smells and associate them with specific incidences in your life, is very strong. Perhaps you loved your grandmother very much, and when she would hug you, you could always smell gardenias, which were part of her perfume.
Every time you smell gardenia now, you likely remember your grandmother. You associate gardenia with positive memories and feeling loved. Your neurons have been programmed to fire when you smell gardenias, and these synapses are connected to feelings of love and safety.
More potent than these positive associations, though, are ones that remind us of pain, suffering, and sadness. These negative emotions create more connections in our brains. W are more likely to recall misery and negativity than we are happiness or other positive emotions.
If, for example, your grandmother has passed away, the smell of gardenias also likely makes you sad, as well. Your brain pushes past all the positive emotions you usually associate with the scent and focus on the loss of someone you love.
Rewire Your Brain
You can use a combination of strategies to rewire your brain to focus on the positive and fixate less on the negative. Meditation is an excellent way to accomplish this, as it teaches you to clear negativity from your mind and focus on the positive.
Meditation techniques have been shown to change the way your brain works. This allows you to concentrate on what is important and learn to ignore the other negative distractions.
Practicing daily mindfulness and gratitude is another way to ground yourself in positivity. When you focus on your gifts and blessings, you flood your brain with dopamine. This makes it easier to ignore the negative emotions and the anxiety they cause. Spend a few minutes each day focusing on that for which you are grateful and try to be mindful as much as possible of the present moment, not the past or future.
Being kind to others also changes the way your brain works. When you are kind to others, you are also more gentle with yourself. Kindness makes you feel more positive about the world in which you live and provides you with motivation and hope for the future.
Daily affirmations are another way to focus your brain on the positive aspects. Positive self-talk is a way to overcome a negative self-image or other issues with self-esteem. Give yourself a daily pep talk to keep your focus on what is good and positive in your life.
Now that we know how the brain works, and why positive thinking is essential, the next step should be just to think positively, and everything will work out, right? Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. We’ll explore the dangers of relying on positive thinking alone to make your dreams come true.