Research suggests that happiness is more of a choice than influenced by circumstance. While our mood levels are partly determined by genetics and upbringing, some experts say that we have control over about 40 percent of our happiness. Research in positive psychology has shown that happiness is a choice which anyone can make.
While it can be difficult to look on the bright side and a negative attitude appears to be the most logical reaction to a situation, we do not have to adopt this attitude. Which of these 10 signs are true of you?
- You don’t brush over the negative.
“Many people think that positive thinkers only look at the good side and ignore everything else,” positivity expert Joffrey Suprina says. “But if you go too much in that direction, there’s a potential for harm as well.” According to Suprina, one can adopt this mindset by becoming a realistic optimist.
- You focus on the good.
“Positive thinkers really are individuals who recognize both the bright side and the negative, but they choose to focus their energy and time on the side that’s going to promote the most positive outcome,” Suprina said.
- You’re conscience of your own thoughts.
Suprina says that positive thinkers recognize their automatic negative thoughts and promptly address them. “Most negative thoughts aren’t conscious, we’re not even aware of them. Positive thinkers are aware of those messages they’re telling themselves and the direction they’re taking them. They don’t go down that rabbit hole of negativity — they catch it and reverse it around.”
- You face, rather than fear, your failures.
Positive thinkers do not let mistakes get them down, but use obstacles as fuel for their growth. A Harvard study on happiness found that challenges ultimately improve well-being.
- You let go of judgement.
Positive thinkers let go of judgement and practice mindfulness by recognizing that their thoughts are just thoughts and not facts. This challenges negative patterns of thinking.
- You participate in positive activities.
Engaging in activities that reinforce positive thinking is necessary to becoming a positive person. Activities such as meditation, journaling, and spending time with family and friends can increase positive feelings.
- You get your exercise.
Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s happy hormone.
- You turn negative thoughts into positive actions.
“Positive thinkers are sometimes going to have those negative self-talk statements that flash through their heads, but the difference is they’re going to be aware of it and do something [about it],” Suprina says. “They counter those thoughts and refocus themselves.”
- You don’t surround yourself with negative people.
Research shows that stress is contagious. Therefore, positive thinkers avoid toxic people and surround themselves with people and things that help their optimistic attitude flourish.
- You make people happy.
Happiness is also contagious. Positive people influence those around them and as a result, everyone feels more positive.