You’ve had a bad day.
The world is “out to get you.”
All you want is to be accepted for who you are as a person.
You’re having a hard time believing what you feel deep inside yourself because the world you live in does not encourage you to be yourself.
Your thoughts and self-talk begin to spiral out of control.
One life experience evolves into many, and your past begins to come forward.
You may have experienced trauma at some point, and it casts a shadow over your life.
At your core, you desire to change, but you aren’t sure where to start.
Every time you’ve made an effort to think positively, it lasts a few days, but your life presses in and forces you back into a negative mindset.
You’re ready to pursue more well-being in your life — to live a fuller, healthier life based on your inner wisdom and values.
But how are you supposed to do that without knowing where to start?
If the thought of living a more mindful, optimistic life overwhelms you, you’re not alone. Many of those who identify as LGBT+ have faced trauma in their life and feel as though living a happy life is impossible.
However, there is a way you can take small steps toward living the life you love with a more positive outlook.
One of these ways is to practice daily outlook exercises through mindfulness to develop a more positive view on life.
Richard Davidson at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues shared a wonderful talk on the four constituents of well-being, which you will find below:
Here is the video marked where Davidson starts his discussion on Outlook:
Now that you’ve encountered a scientific understanding of outlook, it’s time to review a practical approach to developing your own positive outlook on life through mindfulness.
It’s time to realize that you do have the control to choose a different path, a different way of thinking and seeing the world.
You can develop a more positive outlook on life.
All it takes is some mindful practice.
Here are some common questions that you may have asked yourself that will get answered in the rest of this article:
- “How do I develop a more positive outlook on life?”
- “Can positive thinking lead to a happier life?”
- “How do I develop a positive outlook in my own life?”
Your life will be full of experiences, small, big, and everything in between.
How you view these experiences is one way you can become more mindful about your life.
Here are some studies related to a positive outlook:
- Positive emotions broaden one’s ability to think and act in the moment.
- Visualizing an image of a positive outcome related to your worries or concerns improves happiness.
- Feeling happy or optimistic improves your ability to encounter positive social experiences.
You may not be able to control how the world responds to you, but you can control how you view the world.
In fact, if you practice positive outlook, as Davidson mentions in his video, you will begin to cope better with life and see things through a positive lens.
5 Daily Practices to Transform Your Outlook
Change can be tough, but it is possible with consistent, compassionate action. Remember that change does not happen overnight but over time. You can develop a more positive outlook on life. Here are the five daily practices you can start right now:
1. End Complaining
How often do you think or say something negative about your situation, the people you’re around, or your life in general? Have you ever heard of the game children play called “finders, keepers”? Well, what you seek is what you will find.
The human mind is a brilliant organ made for solving problems and seeking solutions. You complaining gives your brain a problem to solve — to find more negativity similar to what you’ve identified. This creates a negative feedback loop in your mind, which negatively affects your life.
When you stop complaining, you open up the opportunity to find the positive in life.
2. Stop Your Thoughts. Replace Your Thoughts
Once you begin identifying negative thoughts (i.e. complaining), you will develop a desire to replace those thoughts. A great practice is to “catch” those negative thoughts and replace them with a positive thought — or three positive thoughts.
For example, you may have an undesirable conversation with someone at work. Instead of thinking to yourself, “I’m too dumb to make things better,” you can replace the thought with, “What can I learn, and how do I do better next time?”
When you start catching your negative thoughts and replacing them, your outlook on life begins to transform into a more positive one.
3. Transform “Yes, but…” into “Yes, and…”
If you use the phrase, “Yes, but…” to describe your life, you may be viewing life through a negative lens.
When you “Yes, but…” your life, you see the long drive to work insead of the opportunity to listen to podcasts and learn more; you see the bad boss instead of the opportunity to learn how not to manage; you see the muddy boots on the carpet instead of the stories of an epic adventure through the local park.
Everyone’s life has its ups and downs, but when you choose to acknowledge the negative and then pursue the positive, you begin to live a full, healthy life. You choose to “Yes, and…” your life.
Yes those boots are muddy, and you’re excited to hear about the adventure.
4. Beware Feeling Good About Being Right
Most humans feel good when they are right, but this can cause some unhealthy negative thinking. This pursuit of being right can also cause what’s called the “self-fulfilling prophecy.” When you desire to be right over the need to grow, you do subtle things to sabotage or restrict yourself from developing as a human.
For example, you set a goal to talk to one new person every single day, but when you go out to do it, you have this voice whispering in the back of your head that people won’t like you. So, in your effort to be right, you do subtle things like avoid people, talk to already disgruntled individuals, or convince yourself that you don’t have time.
Realize that your pursuit of being right can be shifted to your pursuit of growing, which offers you the opportunity to think more optimistically about life.
5. Focus on Taking Positive Action
For most, it’s not enough to just do the work and change how you think about yourself and the world. As an example, you may have changed a negative thought from, “I’ll never find friends who accept me for who I am” into, “I haven’t found accepting friends yet, but I still can.” The next “step” is to take positive action toward this positive thought or belief.
It’s a common misconception that you must develop confidence before you try something, but, in reality, your confidence increases as you practice something over time.
When you follow positive thoughts with positive action, you create a positive feedback loop that will help you change your outlook on life.
Transform Your Outlook on Life Today
As you journey through life, your outlook on your life will greatly influence how you feel, think, and act. You have control over your outlook on life, and you can use these five daily practices to start transforming your outlook.
If you’re struggling with trauma as an individual who identifies as LGBTQI, find a therapist near you in Portland to get started with sessions. You can also find a local group with consistent events that offer a welcoming, positive environment.
Here are the key takeaways from this blog article:
- You can transform your outlook on life and improve your well-being.
- You have the control to stop complaining.
- You have the ability to replace negative thoughts with positive one.
- You can replace “Yes, but…” with “Yes, and…” to develop a more positive outlook.
- You can change your desire to be right into a desire to grow.
- Focus on following positive thoughts with positive action.