Do you know someone who constantly looks on the bright side of things? Have you noticed that positive people tend to have a lot of good things happen to them? What on God’s green earth makes these optimists so gosh darn cheery all of the time?
Psychologists say some people are just born happier than others. It has something to do with how our brains are wired. But there is also proof that humans can “rewire” their brains — to an extent — by choosing what to focus on.
Think of the most positive person you know. Chances are he or she shares one or more of the following traits.
They Don’t Resist Change
Change is natural — and it can be tough. Positive people are the least likely to resist change when it is inevitable. While they won’t sacrifice their principles or core beliefs, they don’t hold onto ideas, relationships, or activities that no longer work. Instead, they try new things, take risks, and seek out new experiences and often, new environments.
They Don’t Cling to Hope
Positive people know that change doesn’t happen by itself. That’s why they don’t leave the circumstances in their life up to chance. They take responsibility for their situations and choose to make things better. When things aren’t going well, they speak up and take action.
They Don’t Live in the Past
Positive people have a very short memory when it comes to past failures. Everyone makes mistakes, but positive people don’t dwell on them or repeat them over and over in their minds. It’s not only pointless, but self-defeating. Instead, they learn from past mistakes and strive to make better decisions. They know that life isn’t fair and bad stuff can happen to anyone, so when bad things do happen, they don’t dwell on them.
In fact, positive people are often grateful for the bad things that have happened to them, because each negative experience led to an opportunity to grow and improve. That’s cheesy, but when bad things happen, it’s also a healthier take.
They Avoid Negative Self-Talk
There’s a difference between being confident about yourself and your abilities and being arrogant and boastful. Positive people know the difference. They know it’s OK to feel good about their strong qualities — in fact, it’s even healthy. They also celebrate their achievements, not because they are arrogant, but because they are grateful.
Conversely, they avoid saying or thinking bad thoughts about themselves. You’ll rarely see a positive person blurt out something like, “I’m so bad at this. How could I ever be so stupid?” These statement don’t help, and they know it.
They Don’t Hold Grudges
It’s not as if positive people never get angry — everyone does. But it takes energy to be angry at others, even when that anger is deserved, so they avoid it.
Just as positive people refuse to live in the past, they refuse to dwell on the people who slighted them or wronged them in some way. That doesn’t mean they will let it happen again, however.
They Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Countless studies have proven a link between good health and professional success, so it shouldn’t be surprising that positive people often lead healthy lives. While others deal with stress by eating fatty foods and crashing in front of the TV on the weekends, positive people have healthy pastimes like exercise and meditation and sports, and they avoid drinking or eating to excess.
They Don’t Procrastinate
Positive people plan ahead and prepare backup plans for when things go wrong. By tackling projects as soon as possible, they are able to avoid the frustration and stress that comes with doing things at the last minute — and their work is better as a result.
Being a positive person is not about pretending your life is a fairy tale. There are obviously limits to what positive thinking can do for you. But it doesn’t hurt to focus on the good over the bad.
If you’d like to experience some of this positive mental attitude for yourself, try approaching things the same way positive people do. After all, what have you got to lose?