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Our mood, outlook, and other aspects of our emotional state are complicated. Various internal and external factors are always at work on us, affecting the way we feel, think, and act. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take control and change things. In fact, a deliberate, consistent effort can be quite powerful in altering our emotional state. And one of the most fruitful tactics are those aimed at developing a more positive attitude.

It’s common to let stress, setbacks, loss, pain, and other problems foster a generally negative attitude. Unfortunately, a negative attitude perpetuates more negativity in your life. It can hurt your relationships; interfere with your ability to focus and your performance at work, school, sports, etc.; cause sleep disturbances; manifest as headaches, digestive upset, or other physical discomfort; exacerbate existing physical or mental health conditions; and lead to other complications.

On the other hand, developing a more positive attitude perpetuates positivity in your life. It can improve your mood, relationships, focus, performance, sleep, well-being, and more. It’s not always easy, but there are many practical ways of deliberately developing a more positive attitude. By using some of these practices consistently, you’re bound to notice a change in your overall emotional state before too long.

How to Become More Positive

  • Start your morning by reminding yourself that you have power over your outlook and attitude
  • Practice gratitude by taking a few minutes every day to go over the things you’re thankful for
  • After practicing gratitude, tell yourself one thing that you like about yourself
  • Write in a journal every day about something positive in your life
  • Keep your attention on the good things in your life as much as possible
  • Become aware of your negative thoughts and practice redirecting them when they start
  • Don’t dwell on negatives that are beyond your control
  • Create actionable strategies and goals for improving the negatives that are within your control
  • Surround yourself with positive people as much as possible, because positivity is contagious
  • Stay away from negative people as much as possible, because negativity is contagious too
  • Phrase things positively and use positive words
  • Spend your free exposing yourself to uplifting movies, shows, books, music, art, etc.
  • Expose yourself to funny people, movies, shows, books, etc.
  • Get at least a little exercise every day
  • Get outside—preferably in a natural environment—every day
  • Remind yourself to appreciate the small pleasures in life
  • Don’t dwell on what you don’t have—unless you’re making actionable plans to get it
  • Stop letting life’s little inconveniences get to you
  • When something doesn’t go right, focus on how to achieve better results the next time
  • Be constructive—not a bully—when you start beating yourself up over a mistake or setback
  • Explore your strengths and make efforts to put them to work for you
  • Explore your weaknesses and make efforts to improve on them
  • Take up guided meditation, yoga, or a similar practice
  • Avoid complaining, particularly about things you can’t change
  • If you identify a problem, also offer a solution
  • When you feel an anger response coming on, pause and take deep breaths as you count to 10
  • Smile and laugh whenever you can
  • Practice being curious, seeking answers and learning new things
  • Don’t expect anything worthwhile to be easy or to come quickly
  • Celebrate your successes with people who are important to you (and celebrate their successes with them)

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