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You’ve heard that attitude is everything, but your struggle to be positive is real. Someone you know seems to have the knack for optimism and it makes you think: How do they do it? How can I cultivate an outlook that focuses on the good? If you ask a continually optimistic person how they do it, I feel confident they will say that they haven’t always been this way. A positive outlook doesn’t happen by chance; it requires purposeful action. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s look at how simple it can be to cultivate positivity through these 4 techniques.
1. Extend grace lavishly
When negative thoughts of self-worth rear their ugly heads, remember that grace is a gift from God, a gift to extend to others, and it’s a gift to give to yourself. No one is perfect; every human on the planet has flaws. To cultivate a positive attitude, learn to separate the negative and positive by truth. If there is truth to the negative thought, then filter it through kindness and necessity. The following questions can help you filter negative thoughts:
If the answer to either of these questions is no, then add a huge dose of grace to your filter and stop the negative thought cycle. If the thought is not true, kind and necessary, then it will not generate a positive spirit.
2. Treat the one tiny negative statement in a sea of good reports as the speck of sand that it is.
The ocean of potential thoughts is beyond our comprehension. When we hone in on that one little negative thought of “what if?” we waste energy that could be used beneficially. What could happen if we placed our focus on good and our trust in God? How do we do it?
Maybe it means remembering why you married your husband when his words get jumbled. Perhaps it means focusing on that one positive obedient action from your child for the day. Or it could mean reflecting on the sweet smile of the barista before she spilled your coffee this morning. Or the time God gave you to pray while you waited in traffic for 45 minutes.
3. Filter out negative recurring thoughts before they creep in.
Negative thoughts can quickly trigger a snowball effect. If you know certain thoughts encourage a pessimistic outlook, then identifying those thoughts in writing can assist you in preventing yourself from dwelling on them.
A common example of applying this type of filter is disallowing negative social media content to stream in our feeds. If someone you know fills every post with foul language or nonstop complaining, then the best choice is to filter it out of your mental input.
4. Purposefully choose positive thoughts to replace the ones you’ve filtered out.
The truth of God’s Word wonderfully replaces any negative thought. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
Use this fill-in-the-blank statement from the free One More Step companion journal to apply this verse in your thought life:
“Instead of dwelling on the negative thought of ________________________, I am choosing to think purposefully on _______________________.”
God’s Word is the key to turning a negative attitude into a disappearing act. I’ve recently rediscovered that when I dwell on God’s truth, the negative thought life is minimal and a positive attitude escalates. Faith and trust grow freely; hope and joy flourish. Love abounds— all the results of cultivating positivity. A little work? Yes. But simpler than you might think and definitely more than worth the effort.
Related Video: How Can I Overcome Having a Critical Spirit?
Rachel “Wojo” Wojnarowski is a dynamic author, speaker and Bible study teacher. Wojo’s family is comprised of seven children, whose ages span four to 24 years and includes a special needs daughter. For more thoughts on cultivating positivity, you’ll enjoy Rachel Wojo’s new release, One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up. Rachel is also offering 5 FREE daily devotional emails for discovering true strength.