Carol A. Gooch, M.S., LPC, LCDC, LMFT

When you are starting a healthy diet, beginning an exercise program, stopping an unhealthy habit or working on a relationship, one of the main elements for success is staying positive.

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a depressed, negative mood?

The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand.

Negativity is contagious and it spreads to anyone you interact with. Eliminating negativity, or rather, being positive is a mindset that can be found at any moment, and turned into a habit. So, what are some ideas to help you shift your mindset to remain positive?

Be conscious of your thoughts. Especially, when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are diving into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.

There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.

You cannot be both angry and grateful at the same time. Start counting the blessings and miracles in your life, start looking for them and you will find more. You are alive and breathing! Realize how lucky you are and all the abundance in your life.

Practice seeing yourself positive and confident. Do this whenever you have a few minutes (examples: Waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting in traffic.) Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. This is important, as many of us can be hard on ourselves.

Memories that can immediately make you smile such as occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful give a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding. Alter your attitude.

The situation probably won’t change whether you are positive or negative, so you might as well stay positive. The habit of remaining positive takes practice and commitment. You are in control of your thoughts, so begin now and have a positive life.