There’s an erroneous belief going around that positive affirmations, and saccharine Pinterest quotes can transform even the grouchiest of people into Mahatma Gandhi. But slaving away on Pinterest boards, hanging up inspirational posters, and arranging throw pillows with “You can do it!!!” emblazoned on their fronts doesn’t magically make your personality improve.
Repeating positive platitudes in the hopes that doing so will help change your destructive actions is a phenomenon experts call “passive action.” In other words: it feels productive when you’re doing it, but it merely ends up filling your time without changing your circumstances.
If you’re truly ready to evolve into an effective positive human being, consider adopting the proven life-changing habits below!
An “attitude of gratitude” is the magic key to living a peaceful life. According to Harvard Medical School, when you make a daily practice of gratitude, whether that be a gratitude journal or only counting your blessings before bed, you ”feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve [your] health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” When you’re practicing gratitude, you realize that life isn’t all that bad. In fact, there are hundreds of things to be happy about that you might’ve been taking for granted.
Identify and Change Your Internal Dialogue
It’s sometimes hard to step back and take a look at the words we’re telling ourselves. Often, there is an endless stream of negative self-talk playing in the back of our minds. This negative self-talk can erode our self-esteem and inhibit us from pursuing our idea lives. According to Psychology Today, giving your inner critic a name can change the way you view negative self-talk because it puts distance between you and your thoughts. That way, you no longer believe your ideas are facts about you.
Cultivate Empathy for Yourself and Others
According to Brene Brown, there are four hallmarks of an empathetic person. They are: 1) Perspective-taking, 2) Staying out of judgment, 3) Recognizing emotion in other people, and 4) Communicating that recognition. Developing the skill of empathy can be genuinely transformative because it takes you out of a place of judgment and into a place of love and understanding.
Reject Victim Mentality
According to marriage and family therapist Vicki Botnick, victim mentality is when you hold the belief that “everyone else caused [your] misery and nothing [you] do will ever make a difference.” The victim mindset can feel relieving in the moment because it can resolve you of responsibility, but it can also create an attitude of hopelessness and apathy. To combat this, remember that even if you don’t always have control over your circumstances, you still have control over how you think about your circumstances. Just that small shift in perception can work wonders.
Studies show that volunteering your time to a cause close to your heart or donating your money can improve your general sense of well-being. According to happiness researcher Dr. Ricky Lawton, volunteering is so mentally beneficial because it is intrinsically rewarding, making you feel good for giving back. Also, volunteering promotes connection with others — an essential factor in a well-rounded life.
With these tips and mind, go forward and spread your positive vibes everywhere! Not only will you be happier, but the people around you will appreciate it as well.