In today’s Wisdom Note, we will study the 10 signposts along the trail that will help us to infuse positive habits into our lives. These habits will benefit us when we face the difficult and rough areas of life’s trails. As these habits are woven into the fabric of our lives, they will help us navigate the rough parts of the trail that we encounter with less difficulty and stress.
It’s tough to argue against the power of positive habits that come through consistent positive thinking. A multitude of studies, data, and anecdotal evidence support the notion that optimists experience less stress, possess stronger immune systems, and have overall better health than their “Debby Downer” counterparts. But it’s not always easy to look on the bright side. In our overbooked and over-connected lives, getting caught up in a cycle of worry, anxiety, and negative thoughts is a norm in many of our lives.
One of the many wonderful things about positive habits is that anyone can acquire positivity with the consistent and persistent practice of these habit traits, and a good sense of humor always helps.
As a start, we need to practice not taking ourselves too seriously. Most other people in our lives don’t either. It is certainly worthwhile to visit the 10 signposts for establishing positive habits each day. Take control over your thinking, your habits, and your own happiness with these.
1. Practice Gratitude
Remembering all the good things that you have makes it a whole lot easier not to focus on what you don’t have. Be thankful and appreciate the abundance in your life rather than dwelling on what feels lacking. Practicing gratitude is rule #1 for shifting your thinking from negative to positive.
Ephesians 5:20, “And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2. Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Do all that you can to minimize your interaction with anyone who is a “Negative Nancy” or a “Negative Ned.” Creating an inner circle filled with support and encouragement is the next step. Having people around who see the best in you will help you see the best in yourself. Jesus had his own inner circle, even among the small group of the 12 apostles. Many times Jesus took Peter, James, and John alone with him. Two of the most memorable times were at His transfiguration in Matthew 17:1 and during His hours of anguish before his trial and crucifixion in Matthew 26:37.
3. Ditch the Drama
Separate from your toxic friends and associates. Say goodbye to those friends that always have drama in their lives and suck you into their manufactured issues and end up bringing you down. Minimizing negative energy in your environment is a prerequisite to overcoming negativity in your thinking.
4. Take Responsibility
The easiest way to fall into the negativity trap is by making yourself a victim. But on the flipside, to take responsibility for your own actions is to take charge of your own happiness. Remind yourself daily that although you may not be able to control what happens to you, you are always in charge of your reactions.
5. Success Comes in Cans, Not in Cannots
This one may take practice, but it really works. Change your sentence structure from negative to positive (from “Why do I always get the bad work assignments?” to “It might not have been what I hoped, but I know if I do good work then my next assignment will be better.”). How we view life is largely based on our perspective and perception. Make a concerted effort to see challenges as opportunities, and watch as doors open where there were none before.
6. Be Kind
Getting into the habit of being kind and forgiving to others will help you extend the same courtesy to yourself. And when you’re a friend to yourself, it’s a whole lot easier to forgive yourself for your mistakes and cultivate a positive outlook for your future. Being kind to everyone in every situation is one of the easiest ways to establish positive habits in your life.
Galatians 6:7, “Don’t be misled — you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.”
7. Find The Silver Lining
Most events and situations aren’t inherently good or bad. We just project those descriptions onto them. This means that we have a great deal of power over how we choose to view whatever comes our way, deciding to focus on the positive is a powerful way to take charge in your life.
8. Slow Down
Daily yoga or exercise even if it is not very extensive or committing to 10 minutes of meditation or prayer before bed each night can go a long way in helping you slow down your mind so that you can observe and recognize your thought patterns. Even just taking a walk in nature or reminding yourself to breathe deeply can help reset your brain and clear out unnecessary worries.
9. Set Your Own Standards
To take charge and responsibility for your daily lives you must develop positive habits. Instead of worrying what other people think of you and trying to live up to their standards, decide for yourself who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. Taking responsibility for your own path will give you a boost of confidence and self-esteem that makes the future and the present seem brighter.
10. Remember to Laugh
Laughing at yourself, seeking out opportunities to play and enjoy humor, and making others laugh can go a long way in creating an optimistic mindset. Laughter relieves stress and reminds you not to take life so seriously. Upon the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah encouraged the people of Israel in chapter 8:10, “And Nehemiah continued, ‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!’”
Our trail today was packed with great nuggets of wisdom. Every day review these 10 signposts or habits for a positive life, and you will find that your life has indeed changed.