Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There are no omens, but the best of it is optimism.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is optimism?” The Prophet said, “A righteous word one of you hears.”
The daily pressures and stress from work, school and life, in general, can sometimes be troubling and a heavy burden to bear. Some days, it might be easier to just give in to the negativity and grow comfortable in feeling unhappy. That may be a temporary solution because in the long run, that method isn’t healthy.
The power of positive thinking is stronger than we think. But it’s easier said than done. Optimism should be strived for, and we should first start with our mindset and outlook on life. These tips and tricks to be a more positive person could be difficult to manage at first, but it will be well worth the effort!
1. Cultivate and live in a positive environment
The Prophet Muhammad SAW said: “A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume seller and a blacksmith: The perfume seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 314]
The company you keep defines you as a person. Whether we notice it or not, others’ personalities affect and influence our decisions and reactions. When we surround ourselves with like-minded, positive people, we ourselves can improve to be a positive person. That is not to say that we should disregard the opposite type of people. We can always be that positive company for these people in hopes they’ll be influenced by our positive behaviour.
2. Go outdoors
There have been studies that prove spending time in nature boosts positive thinking. Mother nature is an easily accessible remedy to stress. Take a stroll at your neighbourhood park, or pick up a routine to exercise outdoors. If that’s not your cup of tea, invest in adding more potted plants in your office or home space. The calming effect at appreciating the world that He created is unbelievable.
3. Eat and sleep well
Here’s a cliché point: eating and sleeping well. But they’re not wrong, though. It has scientifically been proven that having a regular sleeping schedule allows your body to rest easier, and having the right amount of nutrients and vitamins daily helps your body to adapt and function better. Try to always get a good eight hours of sleep and your daily dose of fruity vitamins as a start. You’ll get used to it eventually that you cannot live without it anymore!
4. Be kind to yourself
Days, when you messed up at work and had an argument with someone you’re close with, can affect your outlook and mood. But cut yourself some slack. Not all days are rainbows and sunshine, it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. Blaming yourself or the other person is not the solution. You should rather accept it and take a breather. Everyone deserves an off day in the week, and that includes your emotional state too.
5. Change your language
Words make a difference in how you feel and in the way others perceive you. One of the biggest ways we transfer stress is verbal. The initial thought to “how was your day at work” could be “I’m so stressed and busy!” But instead of saying that, why not try a change of tone and say, “I had an amazing lunch with a colleague today!” Naturally, this can lead to a more positive tone in conversation — and mind.
6. Start a daily gratitude practice
We’re grateful for a lot of things, but in times of stress do we think of all of them at first thought? Pick up the habit of jotting down a few pointers you’re grateful each day, or send a kind message to someone daily to let them know you appreciate them. If we make a conscious effort to remember all our gratitudes, over time it’ll be a subconscious effort to doing that.
7. Start the day with positive affirmation
How you start your morning sets the tone for the entire day. Have you ever woken up late for work and feel like nothing is going to go right that day? That’s because you started your day with a pessimistic outlook and mindset, and that carried into the other experiences you’ve had that day. Try starting your days with “today will be another amazing day!” even if something bad did happen. You’ll be amazed at how much your day improves.
8. Find humour in bad situations
How tough it is to be optimistic when something takes a turn for the worse. As difficult and impossible it can be, try to find humour even in the darkest or most trying situations. Remind yourself that this can make a good story for later and crack a joke about it. Setting a lighter mood and mentality can help release the tension around the situation, even just for a little.
9. Focus on the good, however small
Encountering obstacles throughout the day is inevitable. There’s almost no such thing as a perfect day. When you’re stuck in traffic, think about how you get the time to listen to your favourite playlist or radio channel. If you’ve ended up procrastinating that day, think about how you’ve at least had time to yourself to rest. Relishing the smallest of things can do wonders in the way you think.
10. Turn failures into lessons
Society has somehow convinced us that failure is a negative thing. We’re all humans, and we’re not perfect. At times, we fail and that is okay. Taking that failure and turning it into a lesson is making the best out of a bad situation. Instead of dwelling on how you’ve failed, focus on how that incident allows room for improvement the next time.
11. Focus on the present
We often stress about our future or our past. Questions like “what if this happens?” or “what if I had done that?” are always lingering in our minds. What we should be doing is to take a step back and look at this exact moment you’re in now. Not five minutes from now, not five minutes ago when your boss made those comments.
Your current present moment isn’t as bad as it seems to be. Most sources of negativity stem from a memory of a recent event or the exaggerated imagination of a possible future event. Stay in the present, take a deep breath and immerse yourself in it.
Positive thinking is like giving yourself a positive pep-talk, be it mentally or actually looking in the mirror to do it. Try out some of these methods, and you’ll see how it can improve your mood and days, and even give you more confidence!