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15 Helpful Habits for Positive Thinking

15 Helpful Habits for Positive Thinking

Life can be full of ups and downs but it’s how we react to these that has the greatest impact. In this article I’m sharing 15 helpful habits for positive thinking.


Like many, I’ve had a few rough patches in life. Pregnancy and childbirth were traumatic, loss of a child, parents passing away, relationship changes, financial worries and a tendency towards fragile mental health.

However, as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! And, I do believe that experiencing the inevitable ups and downs of life actually can equip you to be stronger, wiser, more emotionally flexible and more resilient.

I work hard at my mental health, prioritising it in my life like I do my physical health. It wasn’t always this way and for those of you who know my story, you’ll also know that burnout was what prompted me to begin simplifying, decluttering my life and this little blog.

Burnout happened because I wasn’t focusing on my mental and physical health. Add into the mix, my rushing, my coffee-fuelled overdrive and juggling the different demands of life as a working parent and you have a heady mix of stress, adrenalin and overwhelm.

Fast forward a few years and, although I still rush from time to time, drink coffee and juggle work and kids, there are three notable differences.

And it’s these helpful habits that I’d like to share in this article in case they might help you too.


Here’s a definition of positive thinking from Better Up

“The first thing to know about positive thinking is that it doesn’t mean that you ignore facts or logic or force yourself to have only positive emotions. That’s not realistic.

Positive thinking means that you approach negative news or stressful situations with a positive outlook. You’re able to look beyond the crisis or setback rather than being consumed by it.”

Difficult things will always happen in life at some time or other. Not many people get through life unscathed. However, whilst we might not be able to change the circumstances around us, we can change how we think and therefore feel about them.

The way in which we interpret situations and events becomes reinforced over time as our brain gets into the habit of thinking about things in a certain way.

If we start to become anxious about a situation, over time and with repetition, our brain will continue to think there’s something to be anxious about and our bodies will respond accordingly. On a state of high alert, stress hormones surging and negativity become our default mindset.

Positive thinking doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge tough times, or feel fear or upset, but it means we can see past these to keep them in proportion, to problem-solve, to look forward, and even be more realistic and optimistic.

Positive thinking contributes to better mental and physical health and more enjoyment of life. Less stress, less mental health issues, better sleep, more emotional flexibility, resilience and creativity and an improved quality of life.


One of my favourite quotes from Joyce Meyer comes to mind…

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Very simply, I believe that life is largely what you make it. We all have some ups and downs, and some have more challenges than others. However, the thoughts we have affect our feelings and those feelings affect our actions and decisions in life.

If your thoughts ultimately shape your direction and purpose in life, then I think we owe it to ourselves to create as positive a mindset as possible so we can live that life to the full, in whatever way that means to us.

Thinking positively isn’t like switching a light on and off. You have to cultivate and nurture it, even when (particularly when) you don’t feel like it.

This is where creating some helpful habits for positive thinking can be a real benefit. Incorporate them into your life on a regular basis and enjoy a more positive mindset.

Helpful habits for positive thinking

15 helpful habits for positive thinking

1. Practice gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful way of focusing on all the good in your life instead of dwelling on the not so good. Start the day by listing 5 things you’re grateful for and end the day doing the same. Bookending your day like this will help boost your mood even if the hours in between have been rough.

Gratitude isn’t just a warm fuzzy feeling. A regular gratitude practice can actually change your brain and promote more positive thinking.

2. Journal

I love to journal and get my thoughts out of my head and down onto paper. Seeing them in front of me helps me find clarity, take action and solve all sorts of conundrums that I couldn’t deal with by having brain fog.

You don’t need to be a writer, create long and articulate essays. Even just a list of bullet points and scribbles will do.

The more I journal, the more I uncover how I’m really thinking and feeling, why and what I might need to do with those thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help you understand and deal with any negative thought patterns and encourage positive thinking and self-love.

3. Give yourself worry time

Yes, I’m a worrier. My glass is always half empty instead of half full. Worrying could easily consume and remove me from living a full and happy life.

But, if I have to worry then I now try to give the worrier in me 15 minutes of my time – and then I move on. In these 15 minutes I can imagine the worst-case scenarios, plot out my responses and what resources I need to overcome them. I give myself permission to immerse myself in worry until the timer pings and I return to real life. At least I know that I’m prepared for all emergencies!

Worry time is a useful tool for managing stress and anxiety so you can then focus on thinking more positively.

4. Connect with others

Humans are social creatures and we thrive on deep, meaningful connection with others. A problem shared is a problem halved, but so too is not going through life in isolation, feeling alone and that nobody else thinks or feels like we do.

Many people struggle every now and then. Let’s connect and share those struggles and build on the successes with positive thoughts.

5. Smile more

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, other natural painkillers, and serotonin. Happy chemicals and hormones that surge through our bodies and make us feel good and thinking more positively.

6. Limit social media consumption

Social media algorithms are designed to suck us in and keep us scrolling. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to feel trapped in a world that’s negative and not good for our mental health.

Come away from those feeds, unplug from your phone and focus positively on your own life, instead of what’s happening in the lives of others.

Helpful habits for positive thinking

7. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a key tool for me to find rest in a busy day, peace for an overwhelmed mind and calm for a rushed body.

Focus on one thing you’re doing right now, before you move onto the next. Be aware of the touch of your clothes, the scent of your perfume, the blueness of the sky, the gust of the wind on your face, the coolness of your glass of water.

Life might feel rushed but it actually isn’t meant to be this way. We can mindfully pull back to a slower pace with pauses.

Mindfulness helps for positive thinking because it stops us dwelling on the past or catastrophising the future. Mindfulness teaches us, with time, to be happy, content and living in the present – all of which contribute to more positive thinking.

8. Create a safe, calm space

My home is important to me because it’s a sanctuary from the outside world and a space I enjoy being in. I also find that I think more positively when my external surroundings make me feel good.

If your home is busy, cluttered or chaotic, take a moment to understand how this affects your mindset. Could you do anything to give yourself a safe, calm space to promote positivity?

9. Reduce stress

Stress has a negative effect on our bodies and minds. We get tired, worn down, anxious and wired.

Our natural circadian body rhythm gets out of sync and we rely on unhealthy props and habits to get us through our days. Only then to find that sleep eludes us and we wake up tired. Rinse and repeat.

This isn’t the way to promote positive thinking for a brain and body that’s feeling depleted and overwhelmed.

10. Get plenty of rest

Switch off from your To Do list, people-pleasing, deadlines and places to be whenever possible. Rest, nap, stay under the bedcovers, or just daydream out of the window. Rest when you need it to let your body and brain recharge and work to your advantage for a positive mindset.

11. Use positive language

The words we use matter because they evoke emotion and responses based on those emotions. Use positive self-talk, constructive, encouraging and kind words to yourself, just as you would if you were talking to loved ones.

12. Exercise regularly

Exercise is important for physical and mental health and it’s a productive way of channelling any frustration and negativity out of our body as we expend energy.

My body feels lethargic and my mind less alert if I haven’t moved my body for a day or two. Getting the blood flowing, heart pumping and striding out as I walk not only helps my body but it gives me thinking time and space to reflect and make a conscious effort to think more positively.

13. Explore meditation

Use your breath, the sound of the birds, or the feel of the ground beneath your feet to be present and aware in this moment. Meditate on one of these for a few minutes each day. Practice letting thoughts flow into and out of your mind, each time they come just centre yourself back to your focal point.

Meditation has been shown to improve focus, balance and control in a world that’s always trying to distract us. There is a science behind this popular practice.

14. Be mindful of who you spend time with

I mentioned earlier that social connection is important for positive thinking but there’s a caveat to that. It’s often said that we’re a reflection of the people we spend most time with so, don’t just spend time with anyone, spend time with people who are positive, upbeat and supportive.

15. Get a pet

Stroking a pet produces oxytocin, the same feel-good hormone that’s released when we kiss our partner, cuddle our kids or breastfeed. So, if you’re trying to convince yourself or your household that you need a family pet, you could always point out the mental health benefits too!

Helpful habits for positive thinking


I’d love to hear from you if you have any other tips to share. Please leave a comment below!

Thinking positively doesn’t always come easy, especially if you’ve hit a rough patch in life, but it does come easier with practice. Build good habits and raise your awareness of when your thoughts are heading towards negativity.


If you enjoyed this article, you might find it helpful to first get to the bottom of what you’re thinking and feeling right now.

Use this free mental declutter checklist to unload your brain! Pop your details in the box below so I know where to send it!