The power of positive thinking: 10 ways to train your brain for success

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“The power of positive thinking” is such a cheesy phrase. 

You’ve probably heard of it more times than you’d like, but it’s famous for a reason: because it’s virtually impossible to be successful if you have a negative mindset. 

Research has actually shown that people who have a positive mindset are more likely to be successful. 

Want to be one of them? Read on to learn how to start thinking positively and set yourself up for success!

1) Start your day right

Have you ever woken up “on the wrong side of the bed,” and then spent the rest of the day in a bad mood? 

We’ve all been there. 

Well, starting your day on a positive note can help you avoid this, and wake up on the right side of the bed. 

Here are some ideas on how you can start your day right

  • Change your alarm tone to pleasant sounds of nature, such as birds chirping
  • Create a feel-good morning playlist of your favorite songs
  • Talk to a loved one and greet them a “good morning” or give them a compliment

This is important, because starting every day right is key to training your brain for success.

Why? 

Because the way you start your day dictates the way you’re going to deal with the rest of it. 

After all, it’s hard to be successful and productive if you’re grumpy all throughout the day, isn’t it? 

But of course, starting the day right is only the first step: all successful people have a healthy daily routine

2) Try a healthy routine

If you live a healthy life, it’s easier to clear your mind, let positive thoughts occupy your headspace, and plan for success—and a healthy routine equals a healthy lifestyle.

To develop a healthy routine, start small. If you’re used to waking up every day at 1 PM, try to adjust it in ten-minute increments daily, until you reach your goal time. 

Don’t force yourself to suddenly wake up at 6 AM daily if your body is not used to it. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t get the proper amount of rest every day. 

Remember that you can’t magically change your routine overnight. You have to put in the work and have the discipline to do it daily. 

Achieving goals as small as waking up ten minutes earlier than yesterday is more important than it seems. It means you have the skill and the discipline to be successful at anything you put your mind to.

And for you to develop a positive mindset, it’s important that you celebrate achieving these goals, no matter how small.

3) Celebrate small achievements

As people, we’re used to only celebrating big, monumental events. This includes graduating from college, getting a work promotion, passing the bar exams, and so on.

But what if I told you that you don’t need to achieve big things to celebrate?

Even waking up in the morning and getting out of bed can sometimes be an achievement.  

So let yourself celebrate the smallest things. Took out the trash? That’s great! Cleaned your room? Nice! Finished writing an essay? Good for you! 

Every small thing you tick off your to-do list is an achievement, and celebrating each small win trains your brain to aim for success. 

You can even try giving yourself affirmations each time you achieve something, which can help you develop confidence.

4) Use affirmations

I find it silly when motivational speakers tell us that in order to be successful, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves: “I can do this” or “I am capable.” 

But is it silly if it actually works?

You don’t actually have to do the whole ritual of looking in the mirror and saying it out loud.

The important thing is for you to remind yourself that you’re capable. That you’re worthy. And that you can do every single thing you put your heart into. 

Here’s where it gets tricky: you have to believe it. 

Why? Because it won’t work if you don’t! 

Of course, it’s normal to doubt yourself sometimes. Even Neil Armstrong himself had imposter syndrome. 

But if you let your doubt get the best of you, you will not be successful. 

5) Focus on the present

Too often, we worry too much about the past and the future that we forget to experience the present, to seize the moment and cherish every second. 

We’re too caught up with nostalgia for the past and anxiety for the future that we forget: all we have is now. 

The future is uncertain, and the past is out of our control. So live your life the way you want it!

Spend your time with loved ones, take a break every once in a while, and let yourself breathe. 

Don’t waste your breath worrying about the past waiting for the future that you forget to live in the moment. 

So let go of setbacks from the past, and practice gratitude for each success you’ve attained.

6) Practice gratitude

It’s true. The world is crappy. Too many bad people exist, and the good ones are commonly taken advantage of. 

But it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a good life. 

All these bad things are inevitable, but if that’s all that you see, you’ll never be happy. 

If you have a roof above your head, food on your table, and friends and family who adore you, know that life is good, or at least, tolerable. That you can get through anything life throws at you.

Often, the mere act of existing is a wonderful thing that we should be grateful for

7) Spend time with people you love

Did you know that spending time with friends and family can improve your mental health, boost your self-confidence and self-worth, and reduce stress? 

In fact, adults who spend quality time with their loved ones were found to have a reduced risk of many health problems.

In other words, surrounding yourself with people you love generally makes you happier—and a happier person, naturally, has a more positive outlook in life. 

Personally, when I’m going through a hard time, I find that the best thing that helps me get through it is spending time with friends. 

After a day of catching up and sharing stories over coffee, I feel refreshed—like I can take on any challenge I’ll ever experience and survive each time. 

8) Know your insecurities

Having insecurities is perfectly normal. Every human being has them. What makes successful people different is they know how to handle them. 

So how do you handle your insecurities? 

The first thing you need to do is get to know them. It can be different for everyone, but for the most part, the root of all insecurities is the feeling of not being enough. 

Feelings of self-doubt, jealousy or envy, and even perfectionism all boils down to a feeling of inadequacy. 

And the best weapon to wield against this feeling is a strong sense of self-worth.

What the world thinks of you rarely ever matters when you know you’re worth so much more than the opinions of strangers.

However, having a strong sense of self-worth takes time and effort, so don’t expect results overnight. 

You must put in the work in order to emerge from your insecurities as a stronger, more confident person. 

9) Let yourself feel negative emotions

People usually think having a positive attitude equals feeling no negative emotions at all. But this is just not true. 

Feeling sadness, anger, loneliness, or grief is part and parcel of being human. Without these feelings, positive ones, such as happiness, cannot exist. 

It’s not a sin to let yourself feel these things. 

Know that it’s normal to feel sad sometimes. Even if the reason seems to be small and insignificant, it’s serious enough to make you feel sad—and that’s completely valid and okay!

At the end of the day, you’re only human. There’s no use suppressing negative emotions, or trying to avoid feeling them at all. 

While having a generally positive outlook in life helps us feel more fulfilled, forcing yourself to only feel happy even when bad things happen can be toxic, too. 

10) Know when it’s toxic

Toxic positivity is when you force yourself and others to “have a positive mindset” even when bad things happen. 

Have you ever told someone you’re going through a rough time just for them to tell you to just “think positive”? That’s toxic positivity. 

Know that there’s a fine line between being an optimistic person and being toxically positive.

Telling a sad person to just “look at the brighter side” is toxic positivity. Healthy positivity is telling them it’s okay to feel that way, and that it gets better, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. 

In your pursuit for success, remember that negative emotions are an essential part of human life, even if it’s not pleasant to feel them. 

Remember: failure—and feeling sad when you fail—is all part of the process. 

Final thoughts

Having a positive outlook in life is key to being successful. While you still need to do the necessary legwork to achieve your goals, believing in yourself remains important. 

However, remember that failure and feeling negative emotions is all part of the process. Don’t force yourself to feel happy even when bad things happen. 

Being successful is a delicate balance between having a positive attitude and learning from your failures. 

Good luck on your journey to success!

Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce is a writer who believes in the power of storytelling and changing lives by writing stories about love, relationships, and spirituality. A bookworm and art enthusiast, she considers herself a creative-at-heart who likes to satisfy her childish wonder through new hobbies and experiences.

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