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Are you a negative person who brings people down or do you approach every single day with happiness and optimism? I realize that we can’t all be Miss Suzy Sunshine all day, every day. But what would your life look like if you took the initiative to learn how to be positive and happy from this point forward? Can you see what a difference that would make?
“Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.” Harvey Mackay
When you decide how to be positive and happy, your whole perspective changes. As a result, so does your story. When something bad happens, your choice in how you respond to that event will determine so much. Even the end result will be different if you choose an optimistic outlook.
For instance, when I became ill, I could have been negative and grumpy towards everyone around me. I believe that approach would have resulted in negative caregivers and negativity from the people I worked with. Whereas, working to do my best and putting a smile on my face, regardless of the situation, resulted in positive therapy results and I believe, faster healing. Compare that mindset to someone that you know or an experience you’ve had with a negative perspective and check my theory. Am I right? I believe attitude makes all the difference.
10 ideas for how to be positive and happy
In my experience, I have found that you can learn how to be positive and happy by incorporating the following ideas into your daily living. Simply by changing even one of these habits and you’ll begin the switch to optimism in no time. But make them all a part of your daily routine and you’re on your way to a wonderfully optimistic and joy-filled life.
“Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.” Seth Godin
1. Lead with an attitude of gratitude
Grateful people are happy people. We can have the biggest house, the fanciest car, travel the world and be super famous and be miserable. On the other hand, we could be living in a box with no food to eat and be one of the happiest people around. It all depends on your perspective.
We are surrounded by blessings, everywhere you look. What’s important is that you acknowledge those blessings and don’t take them for granted. Every day, find something to be thankful for. I’m sure that it wouldn’t be too hard to find 5 or 10 things daily. A gratitude journal is a great place to keep track of your blessings. When you stop and give thanks to God and acknowledge just how blessed that you really are, you’ll realize that happiness starts with gratitude. If you need some ideas for gratitude prompts, check out Gratitude from A to Z: Things to be Thankful for. I also have a really great 40-day Gratitude Calendar that you can snag later in the post to help you along.
2. Find deeper joy in the Lord
How is your relationship with God? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? When you are comforted by a personal relationship with the Lord, you have peace in your heart that passes all understanding. That kind of peace brings such a joy to the depths of your soul. How do you deepen that relationship? You grow it through prayer and Bible study. Learn what the Lord wants you to know and then talk to Him about it.
Romans 12:12 KJV “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;”
There’s a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness can easily be influenced by external things, like jobs, houses and the weather. Whereas joy, which can only come from Jesus, is there regardless of your circumstances. I had joy from my Savior before they amputated my hands and feet, and I still have joy after that life-altering event. The best way to increase your joy is to grow your faith through these daily habits. From there, you will have joy unspeakable and full of glory.
3. Practice acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness are great ways to share blessings with others on a sporadic basis. But what about sharing kindness to everyone, everywhere and that includes kindness to yourself. As Christians, it’s our job to live like Christ, and love on everybody. Be kind to the customer service rep who’s having a bad day. Offer to help where help is needed. Call a friend who is not feeling well. Be the person who can be counted on in times of crisis.
Showing kindness triggers happiness. Doesn’t it make you feel good to do something nice for someone else? There are so many benefits to kindness that include the opportunity to help others, it makes you feel good and it sets a great example for your kids. I always felt wonderful, still do, when one of my kids shows an act of kindness toward someone else. I’m not talking about grand gestures here. Even simple things such as smiling at someone, complimenting them or holding the door open.
4. Decide to be positive and happy
That’s right friends, if you’re wondering how to be positive and happy, make a decision. It’s a choice! Every day we make choices. What do I wear? Do I want another cup of coffee? Will I let that person who cut me off put me in a bad mood? Please tell me that you won’t let that happen. Don’t let someone else’s actions have so much influence over your mood. Choose to blow it off, smile at them (and not that smirky smile either), wave, say a prayer for them and go on to have a great day. Choose happiness and positivity!
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” Abraham Lincoln
Additionally, by choosing optimism, if something bad happens, you’re in a much better position for coping. You can move on with a smile when you’ve been given bad news. I always like to look for the blessing. What is the silver lining in the dark cloud? What am I supposed to learn from this? Tough questions, I know. But making the choice to see how to be positive and happy, you’ll have a better result.
“Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” Steve Maraboli
5. When exposed to negative thinking, opt out
Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with someone who is super negative? What do you do? I try to interject positive thoughts and ideas. When that doesn’t work, I end the conversation and move on. When you’re on a mission for happiness, any type of negativity can bring you down, so stay away from it. If you cannot find the good in a situation, then you have to get rid of the negativity in your life, as much as you can. Bless and release toxic people and situations. I want to be a positive influence in the lives of those people. But if I can’t, then bless and release.
“Don’t hang with negative people. They will pull you down with them. Instead, invite them into your light and together you will both shine strong.” L.F. Young
6. Talk the talk and walk the walk
What does that mean? It means use positive language, act happy, smile and be the optimistic, happy person that you want to be. Set a great example of how to be positive and happy for others. You’ve heard the saying, fake it until you make it. Well, sometimes you need to do that. Put that smile on your face as you head out the door whether you’re in the mood for it or not. Eventually, that smile will kick in and you’ll start to believe it.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill
7. Give back
Helping others boosts our spirits every single time. Look for opportunities to volunteer your time. When you spread your love around, you are sharing joy and happiness. You may also find circumstances that are far bigger than what you’re going through. By giving back, you’ll have an opportunity to bless that person. You could be just what someone needed as inspiration for that day. What does the Bible tell us about giving? It says to do it not grudgingly, but with a cheerful heart.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 KJV “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
8. Start your day in a positive way
It’s always best to lead with your best. What is your best way to start the day that will put you in the happiness and optimistic mindset? For me, cleaning out my inbox, coffee, and one-on-on time with the Lord gets me going every time. How can you not find happiness after talking to Jesus and spending time in His Word? The Holy Bible is God’s instruction manual. If you don’t know what’s in there, you’ll never understand how to successfully play the game of life by God’s rules.
Personally, I want to follow God’s will for my life. But first, I have to know what He wants from me. These 15 ways will help you get closer to God spiritually. Start your day with the Lord, and you will find that He will show you how to be positive and happy all day long.
9. Give your worries over to God
Let’s face it, we all have things that we worry about. Even though the Bible tells us to cast our cares on the Lord.
Philippians 4:6-7 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Sometimes it’s hard to let things go. Now that our kids are all in their 20’s and living on their own, I really struggle with letting go. I have to trust that we raised them right and that they will make decisions that are right and glorify God. I always say that parenting adults is so much harder than parenting a toddler or even a teenager. Because you can’t tell them what to do anymore. It’s time to give it over to God and have some faith. But I promise you that letting go and giving your worries to God will make for more happiness. The trick is really letting go and not trying to hang on, while telling yourself that God’s got this. But it’s a necessary step in growing your happiness. You can do it and so can I.
10. Live simply!
Living simply means to let go of all of the baggage, and unnecessary activities that weigh you down. Do you really need to be that busy? Why do your kids need to be in every single activity that’s offered? What if you didn’t have all of the distractions and toys that life has to offer? If there’s no white space or margin on your calendar then something has to give, my friend. My greatest joys always came from down time spent with my family. They still do.
Happiness comes from hanging out and letting go. Enjoy the simple things. Stop and smell the roses, enjoy ice cream by the lake, lay on a blanket and count the stars or compare the shapes of clouds. You understand what I mean, don’t you? How much happiness can you find by running from one activity to the next or buying a bigger, better car every three years, just to keep up with the Joneses? Here are some basic principles for living a simple life that I know you’ll enjoy. Slow down, my friend and find your happiness!
Well, there you have it! I’ve just given you 10 ways to show you how to be positive and happy. Of course there are many more, but this is a start. I would love to hear your other ideas for happiness and optimism. What works best for you? Do you think you’re generally an optimistic person? Why or why not? You can probably tell which way I lean. Now it’s time to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.