Achieving a Positive Mentality
Updated: Apr 20
~ What is mentality? ~
Mentality, or mindset, refers to the way you think and view yourself or your surroundings. Each person has a different mentality because no two people are the same, and thus no two people think alike. Each person’s mindset is influenced by their environment and experiences, and then his/her opinions and actions would be influenced by their experiences.
~ Okay, so? ~
It’s important to have a positive mentality because optimism leads to positive outtakes on life, which leads to happiness and confidence, which leads to success. Positive thinking can also help relieve stress and improve your health, both mentally and physically!
~ How would a positive vs. negative mindset affect us? ~
A positive mindset means that you have positive thoughts and expectations for success and that things will turn out well. Positive thoughts keep you happy and motivated with positive energy. People with a positive mindset are lively, energetic, and healthy. They have stronger immune systems and can bounce back quickly from sickness.
A negative mindset would include thoughts like:
“I’m so dumb.”
“I’m so bad at this.”
“I can’t do this.”
“Forget it, I give up.”
Constant negativity affects our motivation and enthusiasm in our daily lives, and contributes to procrastination, indecision, lower self-worth, and depression. Negative thinking can seriously affect the way you think about yourself and your surroundings.
~ But life is so hard! How can I have a positive mentality all the time? ~
First of all, it’s okay not to be happy 24/7. It’s definitely a hard thing to do. There’s always that one person who’s always pointing out, “but look on the bright side!” And we would wonder, wow, they’re right! How’d they notice that?
So how to get a positive mindset?
Try to express your gratitude anywhere you can. And start thanking yourselves too! Sometimes just saying things out loud can make you feel better too. It’s perfectly fine to say thank you for everything, and it’s never bad to have good manners.
Stay away from negative things and negative people. It’s both physically and mentally draining. Don’t ignore a friend in need, but don’t be dragged into other people’s negative thoughts. Acknowledge what they say, but don’t endorse it. You can’t change a person overnight, and you may not be able to change their personality even over a long course of time, but you may be able to change their negative outlooks. You’re not their problem solver! They may want others to pay attention to them, but they may not do the same.
Don’t dwell on the possibility of failing. In a situation where you may be nervous that things won’t go well, take into regard the possibility that something might fail, but do not overthink it. Just focus on the things you did well, maybe some things to focus on improving, and give yourself a pat on the back.
Be grateful for where you are, the things you have, and the people around you. If you’re not happy with what you already have, you won’t be happier with what you think either. Never mind the things you don’t have. It’s not hard to think of a situation where things could be much worse, Appreciate what your life has given you (or what your parents gave you, rather, because they literally gave you life). Appreciate that cute shirt you bought last week! Appreciate the food on the table and the snacks that you munch on during a movie marathon. Appreciate your friends who always make you laugh. And appreciate the existence of your crush (no matter 2 dimensional or 3, because hey, a crush is a crush) because they give you something to dream about. We spend our lives searching and trying to attain things that we believe would make us happier than we are, whether it be a better job, a better house, a better car, a better partner, or a better body, or whatever else. STOP. Maybe you will be happier if you achieve that. But you’re not there. You’re “here.” Don’t think of how you will be happier. If you don’t know how to be happy right now, how will you know how to be happy in the future? “The future is now.”
Stop comparing yourself to others. This cannot be stressed enough. You are your own person. You are not them, you are you. Period. Each person is unique and perfect in their own way. Not saying that you can’t appreciate others, but start with appreciating yourself. The most important step to having a positive mentality is to love yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people think about you because at the end of the day, it’s your own opinion that matters the most. Plus, the more you train yourself to not care about the preferences of others, the more relaxed and free you will be. And you’ll find yourself being nicer, both to yourself and to others.
Try not to take hateful or insensitive comments personally. Yeah, easier said than done, I know. But it’s better to hold your tongue with a negative person and just save yourself the effort. Responding would only feed their negativity. Like how we teach kids about bullying, if you don’t give the bully the reaction they’re looking for, they’ll take their negativity elsewhere. But don’t start agreeing with them either, and look for a positive take away instead.
Disregard the “what-ifs.” What if I did this, or what if I did that differently? But you didn’t. So accept it and move on because it already happened! Sure, take into account the little mistakes that you might have made, but focus on improving them and then highlight the things that you did well.
For example, if you got a bad grade on a test and a few of them were due to careless mistakes, don’t say, “what if I studied more?” Instead, try thinking “oh I made a few careless mistakes. Next time I’ll double check my work.”
Not confident? Fake it till you make it!
Make eye contact and fix your body language. Stand tall (or sit straight) and walk and move with confidence. Eye contact may seem like a scary thing, especially if you’re shy, but it’s a powerful thing. By making eye contact, you’re being involved in the conversation or situation. If you’re bad with keeping eye contact, start by appreciating their eye color because eyes are really pretty ;)
Use your voice, but say less than necessary. Focus on only say positive things and never bring up negatives of another person that they cannot fix immediately. (For example, tell them if they have a strand of hair on their shirt, but don't point out the dark bags under their eyes.)
If you’re feeling nervous, convince yourself that you’re excited. They both lead to the same body reaction.
If you’re having trouble memorizing your lines for your part or some notes for a test, don’t just read it over and over again. Say it out loud. Repeat it. Rewrite it. Star it. Underline it. Use different colors. Use your friends to quiz you. Don’t focus on the fact that you’ll be on your own during the test or that you’ll be in the front of the room full of 5-50 people staring at you. Focus on your understanding. Understand everything that you read, even if it means not reading everything. It’s better to have a deep understanding of a limited amount of material than to have a vague understanding of a general idea/topic. If you really can’t focus, take a break.
Use humor to release tension. It's good to laugh more, and laughing decreases your stress.
Surround yourself with support. They can be a friend or a parent or a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Take better care of yourself. Take a day for yourself if you have to because you deserve it. The more we take care of ourselves physically, the more we’re likely we’ll improve ourselves mentally.
Stop procrastinating!!! I know it’s hard! But the sooner you get it over with, the less you have to worry about later. Think about your future self and do nice things for them! (The future you would love you to death, I promise.) And then when you benefit from that chore, just practice expressing gratitude (as I mentioned before). Even a little thank you to the past you can improve your mood and make you feel better.
Delete your social media
Start a new hobby (e.g. journalism, painting, calligraphy, baking, photography)
Read a book or a magazine
Personally, I love fiction/fantasy books because they bring me to a different world that is all up to my imagination :)
Try reading something enjoyable so that you’re sucked into the story and not worrying about anything else -- take a break from reality
Take a nap or just straight up sleep
You may not be able to ever make up the sleep hours that you’ve missed, but twenty/thirty minute naps are great for an energy boost
Meditation helps with reducing stress, anxiety, focus, and concentration.
Exercise! Start with ten to thirty minutes a day
Try yoga or calisthenics
Go take a walk! (Or even better, go on a run.) It can be five to fifteen minutes, or even up to an hour or more. Listen to music or podcasts when you’re out!
Take a bubble bath
Do a deep clean. Clean your phone, your bag, your kitchen, your room, etc.
No motivation? Try doing it for five minutes. Whether it be working out or doing your work or learning an instrument, just focus on it for five minutes. Most of the time, you may find yourself immersed in whatever you are doing and go pass those five minutes. Even if you don’t, that’s five minutes spent practicing or learning something. Good job!
Do a little every day, but don’t let it be your whole day. Sometimes we may have a lot of work to do, and we can feel swamped. Time management is a very important skill and planners or to-do lists can be very helpful. (Personally, to-do lists are not my thing, but I do use planners! My favorite schedule to use is a template on Google Sheets.)
Give yourself a little incentive. It’s good to reward yourself once in a while. There's nothing worse than doing something you really don’t want to do, so prepare a little treat for when you finish. It can be a little snack, a ten minute break, or a little nap!
It’s okay to cry. When you feel like crying, just let it out. It’s good to have a good cry now and then and it’s perfectly okay!
It’s okay to be angry. But don’t lash out. When you feel like yelling or lashing out in anger, take a deep breath and count to 10. Or 50 or 100 if you need to. Speaking softly in an argument forces active listening, which leads to active thinking. When they are listening and thinking, they wouldn’t be yelling, arguing, or talking. And of course, if they’re not listening, then don’t bother. You don’t need to deal with that negativity. It’s okay to get angry or frustrated, but if managed effectively, you can shape your anger into a positive force to resolve your problem.
Lastly, wear yellow. It’s a psychological stimulant and a happy color :) Or wear pink! It can be bright and cheery. Colors are a great way to express yourself and your feelings!