top of page

How to Be a More Positive Person

Featuring Mari Holden

Here's a quote for the day to lead you all into this week:

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference… Winston Churchill

I’ve been thinking a lot about how attitude affects outcomes and I found this great article on Oprah’s website. -Mari

13 Ways to Instantly Be a More Positive Person

It really is possible to change your thinking.

Written by Locke Hughes and Melissa Goldberg

Full Article here:

Chances are you’ve probably had someone tell you to “just be positive” or to “look on the bright side!”

And while they may be well-intentioned, that’s often an easier-said-than-done scenario.

But here’s the thing:

Being positive may have less to do with staying positive all the time and more to do with having a resilient (not to mention realistic) response.

“The most helpful definition of being positive is having hope and confidence in one’s ability to handle what’s tough, along with remembering that nothing is all negative all the time,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD, an Austin-based therapist and author of I Can’t Fix You—Because You’re Not Broken. Instead, she defines positivity as the ability to identify sunnier takeaways or moments of relief from negative situations—which in turn may impact not only your quality of life (studies have shown optimistic individuals tend to have better mental and physical health) but also, possibly, your longevity. In fact, a study published in 2019 found that people with the highest levels of optimism had an 11 to 15 percent longer life span on average than those who practiced little positive thinking.

Even better? If you’re naturally prone to cynical thoughts, all is not lost.

There are plenty of positive-thinking techniques that can help you train your brain to have a brighter outlook.Ahead, they asked a variety of mental health experts and psychologists to share their best strategies for how to be more positive—from reciting a motivational affirmation to spending time outdoors and practicing gratitude—all of which may also make you happier, healthier, and more confident.

Talk to yourself through self-affirmations 

relying on self-affirmations can help you rewire your brain to feel more positive when you're beating yourself up over a certain experience or situation.

Phillips loves: “I deserve to show up for myself and set a boundary when I am getting frustrated”;

“I am doing the best I can right now”; “I am human, and I will make mistakes. It is how I respond and move forward that matters”;

“Rejection is hard, but it just means there is something better waiting for me”; and “I deserve to use my voice and speak up about the things that matter to me.”

To be more positive (and confident!), pick a personal mantra—and repeat it

Similar to self-affirmations, you can choose a mantra that can help define your view of yourself.

“We’re often harder on ourselves than we would ever be on someone else,

Yes, it might feel strange at first, but studies have shown that talking to yourself can influence your thoughts, feelings, and behavior—It could be anything from an empowering statement (“I’m allowed to take up space” or “I deserve to have joy in my life”) to a popular saying (“It is what it is” or “When one door closes, another one opens”). “Mantras can bring you a smidge of relief and remind you that things will get better, even if they suck right now.”

Then, try to learn from your negative thoughts

Ever found yourself lost in a loop of worry and concern?

That’s what’s known as rumination, a process in which we continually replay or dissect an upsetting event in the past or think about the possibility of negative situations in the future. The first step is to turn your rumination into a useful problem-solving task: Instead of fixating on the problem itself focus on the solution When painful situations do arise, be kind to yourself

One thing we know for sure:

You’re bound to encounter some bumps in the road, and that’s just part of being a human on this planet.

When you do, cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to feel your emotions—whatever they may be, says Eckler.

“individuals who accept rather than judge their mental experiences may attain better psychological health,

in part because acceptance helps them experience less negative emotion in response to stressors.”

Broadcasting Happiness

Start conversations with a positive thought

Words make a big difference not only in terms of how you feel but also in the way others perceive you.

“One of the biggest ways we transfer stress is verbally,” explains Michelle Gielan, a happiness researcher

“So jump-starting a conversation with a positive statement can set a more optimistic tone.”

This will naturally lead the conversation—and your mind—to a more positive place.


Not to mention that if you put out positive energy, you might also be more likely to receive it.

That means if you are continually sending out negative energy—through either your thoughts or feelings—you will attract that same energy back to you. On the flip side, though, if you are able shift your energy, you’ll also attract more positivity.

Practice gratitude daily

Never underestimate the power of giving thanks:

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, participants were asked to write a few sentences each week—

After 10 weeks, researchers found that those who kept gratitude journals were happier and more optimistic.

To try this out yourself, spend five to 10 minutes each night writing down five things you’re grateful for—

Additionally, you could try writing a letter to someone who has been particularly kind to you,

To take it a step further, expand the cycle of gratitude and kindness by texting daily positive affirmations to loved ones.

Go outdoors

Spending time in nature has been shown to boost positive thinking and reduce stress, as well as increase creativity and cognition.

Even better?

You don’t need to take a half-day hike for nature to work its magic on you.

A 2019 study found that spending 120 minutes a week (or just over 17 minutes per day)

exploring your neighborhood or around your local park greatly enhanced a person’s overall sense of well-being. You can also bring the great outdoors indoors by adding plants to your home and office or even watching nature scenes on YouTube, which has been shown to have similar effects. In one study, people who viewed a stress-inducing film were later exposed to either shots of nature or urban life. The result: Those who spent time taking in Mother Nature’s beauty recovered from stress more quickly. To be more mindful and positive, consider meditation. Meditation won’t solve all your problems (it won’t pay your bills or take care of that three-feet-tall pile of laundry),

but it may help with stress, anxiety, and sleep issues.

“Being mindful for just a few minutes a day teaches us that everything changes, making it easier to have hope in dark moments,” Eckler explains.

“This will also help strengthen your practice of observing—but not always giving into—the negative thoughts your brain likes to conjure."


To feel more motivated, try journaling about your “best self”

In addition to jotting down the things that fill you with gratitude, you may also find it helpful to write about your best possible self.

To get started with this writing exercise, grab a journal and start thinking about your life in the future.

Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could and consider what that might look like in all the relevant areas of your life,

including your career, your relationships, and your health.

“Once you have that image in mind, take 10 to 15 minutes to write about it in detail, zeroing in on the characteristics you’ll need to achieve that ideal,” says Eckler.

Give back to others

Volunteering doesn’t just benefit the recipient.

According to research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, people who had volunteered in the past year were more satisfied with their lives

and rated their overall well-being as better than those who didn't volunteer.

Not to mention that people who volunteered more frequently experienced greater gains.

“Find the one that’s right for you and you’ll be routinely face-to-face with problems bigger than your own,” she says.

If in-person volunteer activities may be too out of your comfort zone , there are plenty of meaningful virtual volunteer opportunities that you can do from your couch.

For example:

you can write thoughtful cards to residents of assisted living facilities through Letters Against Isolation;

or you can assist visually impaired people with everyday tasks (think: reading an expiration date) via the Be My Eyesapp.

Practice random acts of kindness

Can’t commit to a regular volunteer job?

Even a small act of kindness can have a similarly uplifting effect.

In a study published in the Review of General Psychology “We found that when people carried out three to five acts of kindness a day, they experienced significant increases in happiness,”

“And it didn’t have to be a big gesture. It could be almost anything, from giving a friend a ride to letting someone at the grocery store get in line ahead of you.”

Need some more ideas? You could offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, put a coin in an expired meter,

randomly send flowers to a friend, compliment the first person you speak to each day, donate blood, leave a thank-you note for your mail carrier,

run an errand for an extremely busy family member, pay for the cup of coffee of the person behind you in line,

or leave a generous tip for a pleasant waiter.

“By doing something kind for a stranger, you’re proving to yourself that kindness exists in the world,” Parisi says. “You never know when you’ll be on the receiving end.”

Exercise regularly

A sweaty workout doesn’t just enhance your athletic performance—

it can also boost your mood, too.

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that people who worked out for as little as 10 minutes per week tended to be more cheerful than those who never exercise.

Don’t try so hard! 

We realize this might sound like a contradictory point to end on,

but according to Jamie Gruman, PhD, professor at the University of Guelph and author of Boost,

when people place great pressure on themselves to feel happy, it can actually result in feeling unhappy.

Gurman developed the Need for Happiness Scale,

which measures the degree to which people make happiness a priority by presenting them with statements like

“Compared to other people, I am more concerned about being happy” and “I tend to think about ways to increase my happiness.”

In general, those who scored higher on the Need for Happiness Scale not only felt less satisfied with life but also experienced higher levels of negative emotions.

But there is one caveat. According to Gruman, there are two types of statements included in the Need for Happiness Scale:

those that focus on how people think about increasing their happiness and those that focus on the actions people take to make themselves happier.

“In our study, the damaging effects of trying to promote happiness were restricted to the items that concerned thoughts people had about fostering happiness,” he said in a Psychology Today post.

“But when we examined only the questions about actions people take to be happy, we found that they actually had beneficial effects,

such as promoting life satisfaction and reducing depression.” That means engaging in activities that have been shown to boost happiness (like the ones we’ve listed above) can indeed do just that.

Bottom line:

Think of happiness as a by-product of living an engaged life, Gruman suggests.

“Unlike making money, which can be fostered by analyzing one’s finances and trying to develop a plan to improve them,

thinking about making ourselves happy can backfire,” he explains. “Don’t think about it so much—just do it.”

“Look at negative thoughts like reruns of a TV show you’ve seen a million times,” Eckler says.

“Let them play in the background while you shift your focus to something else.”

She adds: “I like to tell my mind, Thanks for sharing! in a slightly sarcastic tone to acknowledge the thought. Then I move my attention elsewhere.”


30 Happy Songs to Play When You Just Want to Feel Good

"Say Yes," by Michelle Williams feat. Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland

The message promoted throughout this uplifting tune is that you can overcome any trial or tribulation through positive thinking and prayer.

"Valerie," by Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse

Its old-school vibe will have you smiling while dancing to the funky beat.

"Let's Go Crazy," by Prince

When you need some assistance getting "through this thing called life," turn up the volume on Prince's 1984 single "Let's Go Crazy."

"Tightrope," by Janelle Monáe

"Tightrope" is all about keeping a can-do attitude in the midst of naysayers. When you need an extra boost of confidence or just an anthem to sing along to while pumping your fists in the air, play this catchy, futuristic song.

"Walking on Sunshine," by Katrina and the Waves


“I Got You (I Feel Good),” by James Brown

"Uptown Funk," by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

“Happy,” by Pharrell Williams

Who didn't "clap along" to this at Pharrell's command?

“(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman,” by Aretha Franklin

“I Gotta Feeling,” by the Black Eyed Peas

Before pressing play, make sure the champagne is chilled for this quintessential party anthem.

“Love On Top,” by Beyoncé

This soulful record would have been at home in the Motown era. Near its end, get ready for Bey's final key change.

“Just Fine,” by Mary J. Blige

Cue up Mary J. Blige when, as she suggests, you finally decide not to let anything get in your way.

"Don't Worry, Be Happy," by Bobby McFerrin

Repeating the name of this simple tune could turn your day around. After its 1988 release, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was in the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper's catchy single will prompt you to call your best friend, and maybe jump up and down a bit.

"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," by Kelly Clarkson

The powerhouse vocalist delivers a valuable life lesson here: You can get through anything.

"Can't Stop the Feeling!" by Justin Timberlake

"Pocket Full of Sunshine," by Natasha Bedingfield

"In the darkness, there's light," croons Natasha Bedingfield. Released in 2008, this tune about seeing the glass half full is the perfect escape.

"Good Life," by One Republic

The infectious whistling throughout this ditty will hook you. Plus, lyrics like “We all got our stories, but please tell me what there is to complain about?” are set to rewire your frame of mind.

"Shake It Off," by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's lead single on 1989doubles as a jingle for rising above the haters.

"Sunday Candy," by Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment

As sweet as its title suggests, "Sunday Candy" is a charming ode to grandparents and their important role in Black family life. Chance the Rapper and Jamila Woods offer uplifting vocals, and the instrumental, which blends gospel, juke, and hip-hop, is pure Chicago.

"Go For It," by CRUISR

Philly pop group CRUISR specializes in that driving-with-the-top-down feeling that we often crave but can't quite attain. "Go For It" is one of their most infectious and joyous tracks.

"Juice," by Lizzo

Lizzo's "Juice" is an instant confidence booster

"If I'm shinin', everybody gonna shine / I was born like this, don't even gotta try," Lizzo proclaims.

"Give a Little," by Maggie Rogers

"This is a song about empathy," Rogers explained.

"Toast," by Koffee

At just 18, Jamaican singer Koffee became a reggae phenom with the bouncy single "Toast."

In the song's verses and hooks, she reflects on hard-earned victories, the blessings she and her circle have experienced, and the importance of having gratitude throughout the highs and lows.

"Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)," by Bruce Springsteen

This seven-minute Bruce Springsteen opus is a pure, concentrated dose of happy with its booming saxophone and chugging guitar.

It also features some of Springsteen's most colorful lyrics, as he sets the scene of the kind of wild party where "Rosalita" played all through the '70s.

"Dynamite," by BTS

"I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," by Whitney Houston

When things get all too much, it's safe to say that we all want to let loose and dance with somebody.

"Golden," by Jill Scott

How could anyone not love this song? Jill Scott's rich vocals will instantly boost your mood and inspire you to reach for the stars.

"Here Comes the Sun," by the Beatles

What a classic. This remastered version of the song is from the iconic Abbey Road album by the Beatles, released in 1969.

"This Is What You Came For," by Calvin Harris and Rihanna

This upbeat track will quickly turn your living room into a dance floor. So why wait another minute?

So with that, hopefully, this launches you right into the week all ready and set to go!

as always,

Be Kind, Do Fearless!

15 views0 comments


bottom of page