Positive thinking exercises are short, simple activities that can have a dramatic impact on both mental and emotional well-being. Like working out at the gym, these strategies need time to become routines in your routine.
Surround yourself with positive people; their positivity will have an impactful influence on you.
1. The Secret Mirror Technique
The mirror technique is an easy positive thinking exercise that involves looking in the mirror and saying positive affirmations words of confidence, love, or affirmation to yourself. This simple yet effective exercise is a great way to build self-esteem while doing mundane activities such as brushing your teeth or applying makeup!
This exercise’s objective is to get past your conscious mind and into your subconscious – where positive thinking’s power resides. Our subconscious holds all our emotions, beliefs, and habits hidden there – which may include self-sabotaging behaviors we often employ without even realizing they exist! Using this technique you can overcome limiting beliefs to achieve success, happiness, and abundance in life.
Joe Vitale is an entrepreneur and best-selling author who created the mirror technique as a means to combat his own self-sabotage. He believes that communicating directly with one’s subconscious can be vital in reaching goals, while negative thoughts often stem from fear of failure or feeling incompetent; to combat these limiting beliefs directly through communication via mirror therapy he devised the mirror technique.
Mirror techniques are an invaluable way to meet any goal in life, from getting a new job to leading a healthier lifestyle. All it requires is practice until it becomes second nature; this will build your confidence while making keeping up the habit easier over time and eventually leading you toward lasting change.
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2. The Thought Filter
Mental filters are a cognitive distortion that causes us to magnify negative details while downplaying positive ones, leading to debilitating forms of negative thinking that can negatively impact both our mood and relationships with others. To combat this destructive thought pattern, it can be useful to have tools available which can effectively counter these distorted views; one such exercise is called reframing. Many positive thinking exercises rely on that.
Negative thoughts and emotions are natural; however, when they become overwhelming they can leave us feeling helpless to cope with everyday events. Reframing can help combat negative thinking by shifting how we view situations; instead of seeing stressful experiences as setbacks we could use this perspective shift as an opportunity for growth and learning.
An excellent positive thinking exercise is keeping track of any negative things you say to yourself during the day and writing down positive alternatives for each negative word, creating a list of words you can use whenever negative thoughts come your way.
Another effective positive thinking exercise is examining evidence in any situation. For instance, if you’ve had a rough day at work and find yourself beating yourself up over it, try to think of all of its positive aspects instead. Or you could look at your project data to evaluate its progress or recall compliments you received during the week from people around you.
Reframing can be done alone or in groups. A fun positive thinking activity you can enjoy with friends or classmates is playing the compliment circle, in which each person takes turns sharing compliments with someone in the circle and crossing their legs after receiving one to ensure everyone gets an opportunity.
One final positive thinking exercise involves practicing gratitude. For instance, try to remember all of the small and positive events throughout your day – such as someone giving a compliment or your child giving you a kiss – then write down these moments in a journal to remind yourself of all of life’s blessings.
3. The Smile Book
Positive thinking is an indispensable skill, providing us with a powerful way to combat the negativity found everywhere in our modern lives. But mastering positive thinking can be difficult as it involves more than simply ignoring negative feelings – it also requires finding healthy solutions for handling them effectively – these positive thinking exercises aim to do exactly that!
Negative feelings such as sadness, anxiety, and depression are no laughing matter; left unchecked they can have serious repercussions for both physical and mental health. Positive thinking exercises help with that. Studies indicate that people who struggle with these conditions are more likely to experience physical pain, memory loss, and mental illness compared to others. Luckily there are a number of simple things you can do to transform negative feelings into positive ones.
One simple way to overcome negative feelings is to surround yourself with positive people. Studies show that we become the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time; therefore if you spend time with pessimistic individuals, your mindset may also become pessimistic if exposed. Conversely, spending time with positive individuals has actually been proven by the University of California researchers as the key to happiness.
An effective positive thinking exercise is creating a “smile book.” Keep it with you throughout the day and write it down whenever something makes you smile, then review your list at nighttime and see how much of an effect it had on your mood.
As another effective positive thinking exercise, try searching for silver linings in any situation – be it an exam grade that falls short of expectations or being rejected from work. Be open-minded when looking for these opportunities for happiness that come your way!
Smile by Raina Telgemeier provides an outstanding illustration of this idea. This autobiographical book follows the life of an unlucky sixth grader after she suffers an accident that severely damages both front teeth and must deal with braces, headgear, and fake teeth while trying to fit in with other girls in the class, manage her family issues, and deal with boy trouble. The book received the 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor and is appropriate for readers between the fourth and sixth grades.
4. The E+P=O Formula
Positive thinking exercises encourage individuals to focus on what’s positive in their life and be thankful for what they already have. A basic gratitude exercise includes recording five positive experiences from each day; for optimal effectiveness, Black Sheep Community members can complete a Question Series on Gratitude which helps identify which experiences were most meaningful and help distinguish impactful ones from lesser significant ones.
Jon Gordon developed The E+P=O Formula as a powerful positive thinking exercise to help individuals realize they don’t control everything that happens in life; they only have control of how they react and respond. Based on the Stoic philosophy of amor fati–love your fate–this positive thinking exercise reminds us that although we may not always be able to alter events that unfold around us, we do have choices on how we interpret and react to what occurs in our lives.
By engaging in this positive thinking exercise, group participants can build a deck of affirmation cards to use when negative thoughts surface. When one arises, they can simply select from their hat a card from this deck and read aloud the passage out loud before quickly and thoroughly disputing it (using the Stacking the Deck worksheet as guidelines). This exercise helps train individuals how to respond positively by replacing negative ones with more beneficial and helpful thoughts.
Imagining an optimistic future is another great way to practice positive thinking, and one way is simply spending some time each night reflecting back on your day until you come up with three positive aspects – this practice may take time but in time will help build more hopefulness and optimism!
Positive thinking isn’t magic; negative thoughts will come up from time to time, which is why planning ahead and having alternative activities available that can take your mind off negativity can help keep things in perspective. Journaling, calling a friend, going for a walk or listening to relaxing music are great examples of activities that could provide relief when negative feelings arise.