How would you describe a truly positive person? My personal definition includes someone who is both realistic and optimistic – a person who is an encourager rather than a discourager. Positive people don’t ignore the frustrations and the downsides of life, they just choose to look at them in light of the possibilities, not the problems.
The question is, can anyone become a more optimistic thinker, even the cup-half-empty sort? Recent studies in neuroscience tell us yes, people can change the way they think. Often when we get in a rut of negative thinking, we continue to play the same patterns of thought over and over again, but it is possible to start new patterns. When we change our thinking habits and focus on what is good and hopeful, our brains create new neuropathways. We can develop a new pattern of looking toward the opportunities, rather than dwelling on the obstacles.
Generally speaking, there are a few common characteristics I have observed in those people who live with a sunny disposition. Positive people tend to:
- Focus on the potential in both people and circumstances.
- Consider the needs of others, looking for ways to bring joy into someone else’s life.
- Practice daily gratitude to God and to others.
- Let go of past hurts and bitterness, and live with a forgiving heart.
- Choose to learn from their mistakes and mishaps.
- Grieve when they need to.
- Smile and laugh often.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, recognizing the benefit of exercise and eating well.
- Speak with love and kindness to everyone, no matter the position or role they play.
- Pray daily, giving cares and worries to God.
What about you? Are there any new habits you want to start forming?