Ever met someone whose spirit just seems unbreakable, no matter the storm they’re facing?
I have a dear friend who fits this description perfectly — she possesses an infectious enthusiasm for life that baffles me even on my cloudiest days.
Rain or shine, she radiates a positivity that seems almost supernatural.
Recently I asked her if she would sit down with me so I could find out how she does it, and help my readers do the same.
And it turns out, her secret it simple — it’s in the small daily habits she’s cultivated over the years.
Curious? Let’s have a look at the 7 habits of people who have a positive outlook on life.
1) They practice gratitude
If you haven’t heard someone talk about the power of gratitude yet, you must have been living under a rock.
It’s not just a buzzword and a popular hashtag on Instagram — it’s also proven to help cultivate a positive outlook on life.
In one study, participants wrote down three good things that went well and their causes every day. Over the next six months, they began to feel significantly happier.
There are many ways to practice gratitude, and my friend is a master at using them all — she goes all out.
Like the study, she ends every day by writing down the things she’s grateful for from the day.
But not only that, she also begins every day by writing down things she appreciates in her life in general — as well as things she’s grateful for about the day that lies ahead, as if it already happened.
This is also a powerful manifestation practice and a great way to tackle your day with a positive mindset.
2) They live mindfully
Living in the moment might sound like a cliché, but for the eternally optimistic, it’s a crucial aspect of their day-to-day lives.
Instead of ruminating on past regrets or anxiously fretting about the future, they choose to immerse themselves fully in the present.
To illustrate this, my friend took me for a walk in the park to do a simple mindfulness exercise.
We paused for a few moments, tuning into the rustle of leaves, the gentle chirping of birds, and the soft breeze brushing against our faces. She told me, “It’s in these moments, where we truly feel, that we discover life’s richness.”
Mindfulness, for people like her, isn’t about disconnecting from the world. On the contrary, it’s about deeply connecting with it, savoring every experience, and finding joy in the mundane.
This conscious presence ensures they don’t just pass through life but genuinely live it, moment by cherished moment.
3) They limit negative inputs
In our digital age, we’re constantly bombarded with a flurry of information — some uplifting, but a significant chunk being distressing or negative.
Those with a persistently sunny outlook recognize the importance of curating their mental environment.
My friend often mentions her “digital detox” weekends. It’s when she unplugs from social media, news outlets, and even certain people. It’s not about living in denial, but rather about preserving her mental well-being.
“Just as you wouldn’t willingly drink polluted water, why let your mind consume contaminated thoughts?” she said during our chat.
By consciously limiting exposure to negativity, optimists like her ensure they’re feeding their minds with enriching, uplifting content.
They create a protective barrier, safeguarding their positive mindset against the torrents of pessimism that can so easily flood in.
4) They connect with nature
Nature has an incredible way of healing, rejuvenating, and resetting our minds. The optimists among us inherently understand this profound connection and regularly immerse themselves in the great outdoors.
In fact, it’s not just in their heads — science backs it up too. A 1.5 hour walk in nature is proven to help dispel negative thoughts.
Now I understand why my friend always takes me for a walk through a park or the forest when I need to vent to her or feel down — and why I always feel better afterwards.
She is well aware of the power of nature, and uses it to her full advantage. It’s impossible not to notice the sparkle in her eye when she talks about her recent hiking escapade, or the way she closes her eyes and smiles with bliss when she tilts her face to the sun.
Nature serves as a reminder of the world’s beauty and rhythm — the steady growth of trees, the ebb and flow of tides, and the melodies of songbirds.
These sights and sounds act as an antidote to the often chaotic urban life.
5) They build strong relationships
We are inherently social creatures, and the bonds we form often act as anchors during life’s turbulent times.
And my friend sure is firmly anchored. She makes a point of regularly calling her parents and having dinner with them several times a month.
She stays in close touch with her other relatives, and regularly meets up with her friends to do things they all enjoy together.
Even at work, she takes time to get to know her colleagues on a deeper level, which not only helps everyone work together better but also makes time spent together much more enjoyable.
She loves to quote a motivational speaker she once heard saying, “Life’s storms become less daunting when you have someone holding an umbrella next to you.”
But don’t take her word for it — this is another habit that science backs up as well. The longest study on health and happiness shows that close relationships are key to both.
6) They have a growth mindset
Have you heard of the growth mindset and the fixed mindset? If you have, then you can easily guess which one is adopted by people with a positive outlook on life.
That’s right, the growth mindset helps people respond to challenges and setbacks with curiosity and determination, bounce back from them, and continue to make improvements.
It’s the belief that you can always develop any abilities or intelligence through effort and practice.
On the other hand, the fixed mindset says that our skills are fixed and nothing you can do will make you improve — therefore every failure is an evaluation of your abilities that will never change.
I was surprised to learn that for the longest time, my friend had a fixed mindset. She shared that this is something she had to actively work on, partially from reading the work of Carol Dweck, the psychologist who coined these two terms.
Since she’s made the shift to a growth mindset, she’s been able to overcome hurdles like losing a job she loved, a tough breakup, and a few failed side projects.
It still wasn’t pleasant to go through, but she can see the experiences as valuable lessons that prepare her all the better for future opportunities.
7) They look at the big picture
Drowning in the minutiae of daily life is all too easy. But those who manage to keep a positive outlook have mastered the art of pulling back, zooming out, and looking at the grand canvas of life.
My friend does this by asking herself a few key questions:
- Will this matter ten years from now? Ten months from now? Ten days from now?
- Would anyone I know be happy to have my problem instead of theirs?
- How does my problem compare to what’s going on in the world today?
These questions help to put your problems into perspective.
Of course, this is not about comparing your life to others, and you have permission to feel bad even if your problem isn’t the worst in the world.
But as my friend explained, it’s helpful to be aware that there are many worse things going on out there too, so you avoid falling into a victimization and “woe is me” mindset.
Cultivating a positive outlook on life
Now you know the 7 habits of people who cultivate a positive outlook on life.
I hope that like me, this has inspired you to adopt some of these habits, and bring more happiness and well-being into your life.
It’s important to note that being positive doesn’t mean ignoring negative emotions or challenges — we are still human after all, and we will continue to experience both those things.
Rather, this is about approaching life’s ups and downs with a constructive mindset and a belief that good can emerge even from difficult situation — and the more you look for it, the more of it you will find.