Recognizing the Signs
Your mental approach to life is a combination of your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. Identifying and distinguishing these three elements is the first crucial step that you must take if you are to shift your outlook from negative to positive.
Becoming Aware of Your Feelings
The most basic indicators of your positivity or negativity are your emotions. The more aware you are of emotional signals, the more you will be able to move your feelings from negative to positive. Recognize the physical sensations that accompany your emotions. For example, you may feel anxious butterflies in your stomach or excited tingles down your spine. Register the different responses that you have to your emotions - perhaps losing your temper when you feel irritated, or being more generous than usual when contented.
Identifying Your Thoughts
When events trigger your emotions, there is always an accompanying thought. You may experience this as an inner image, a sound, or a “self-talk” phrase, such as, “I am scared about this interview…”, “He is angry with me…”, “I bet the train is canceled again.” A thought may be about what happens in the present, a memory of the past, or a prediction of the future. The core strategy of positive thinking is to adapt these thoughts, emphasizing the positive and defusing the negative. Switch your thoughts and you automatically alter your emotions and redirect your actions.
At the bedrock of your thinking are beliefs, deep-rooted ideas that are the result of your experiences. These are not necessarily religious beliefs, but life attitudes - convictions that color your worldview. Whereas thoughts are relative, beliefs tend to feel completely true, undeniable, and absolute. A negative belief can undermine your joy in life, but - because beliefs are fundamental to your thinking - if you analyze a negative belief and turn it into a positive belief, your whole approach to life becomes confident.