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Happiness Helpers: Five Ways to Be More Positive

Aug 31, 2020 ● By Brad Aronson
Journaling Positivity Training


Studies show that when we see the positive more often, we’re happier and kinder to ourselves and to those around us. Luckily, we’re not locked into one way of viewing the world. We can choose to see things in a more positive fashion. Here are some steps we can take to teach ourselves to look for the positive more often. Eventually, the brain can get into the habit of doing this without any prodding.

Compliment at least one person every day. Maybe we can begin the day by sending a short email or text telling someone why we appreciate them. Besides reshaping how we see the world, we might make someone’s day.

Keep a gratitude journal. Every night, write down three things to be grateful for. Researchers have found that people that regularly keep track of what they’re grateful for are happier. We can also have a nightly family discussion about what happened that day that we’re thankful for. 

Perform a daily act of kindness. When we perform a kind act every day, we start noticing other opportunities to be kind, creating a cycle of positivity in our minds. Think small—a thank-you note or letting someone cut in front of us in traffic.

Be mindful of who and what we expose ourselves to. The people we spend time with and what we watch, listen to and read all send messages to our brain that influence how we see the world.

Train the brain for positivity. Here is a simple 10-minute exercise that can train the mind to think differently:

• Get a pen and paper. Take only three seconds to look around the room and remember everything that’s red. Then take only a few seconds to write a list of everything you remember that’s red. Finish this step before continuing.

• Now write down everything that is blue. Chances are that like most people, we won’t remember the blue things nearly as well because we weren’t looking for them. We see what we look for, and that’s as much an asset as a shortcoming.

Training the brain to be more positive takes time, but it’s a priceless opportunity to change our perspective and become happier. 

Brad Aronson, a tech entrepreneur and investor, is the author of HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time.