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9 ways to be proactively positive

Every day I think about -- and often write about -- positivity. The more I think about it, the more it starts to seem more like an abstract concept and less like an actual part of life. It's all well and good to think positively, but it's essential to actually act positively as well. Positive thinking often creates positive action, but those actions require effort. Thinking positively doesn't mean you'll always act positively. To life a positive life, one must both think and act positively. 
Living -- and not just thinking -- positively is no easy feat. It's something I struggle with every single day. Though I am happy to write for hours and hours about positivity, when I get up from my desk chair and actually go out into the world and try to live a positive life, it's certainly not easy. As I'm working on living more positively, I thought I'd share with you the nine ways I've thought of to live a proactively positive life. 

9 Ways to Be Proactively Positive

1. Be openly grateful.
I don't know about you, but I often find myself feeling extremely grateful to other people. Whether it's because someone at work who helped me out in a pinch, because my mom who did me an unexpected favor, or because a friend who offered words of advice at just the right time, I often find myself feeling very grateful to others. But do I tell them how thankful I am? Not as often as I should. This is one of the best ways to be proactively positive and it's something I'm determined to do more often. The more I give thanks to others, the more positivity I will be putting out into the world. 

2. Help someone see the positive. How often do you encounter a friend, coworker, or relative who is moaning about how bad a situation is? It's probably more than you realize. While it's important to sympathize with others and recognize the difficulty in whatever they are dealing with, it's also just as important to help others see the positive. Next time someone comes to me with a whine or a complaint, I plan to remind him or her about the good that comes with the bad (and, yes, every situation has a bit of good in it). 

3. Keep an open mind. My mind is a racing one and it's always filling and refilling itself with opinions, thoughts, and ideas. There's certainly nothing wrong with having tons of ideas in my head, but I know sometimes that my brimming mind doesn't leave a lot of room for new ideas. When dealing with other people and new situations, it's essential to have an open mind. Doing so allows you (and me!) to see the positive in almost any situation because your point of view is not clouded by your expectations.  

4. Give compliments freely. Similar to expressing gratitude, giving compliments to others is a wonderful way to put positive vibes out into the world. Almost every day I see someone doing, wearing, or saying something that I like, but very rarely do I actually speak the compliment out loud. I've tried to improve on this, complimenting strangers on a outfit or telling a coworker s/he did a great job on a project, but I still have some work to do when it comes to opening my mouth and letting the compliments come out. (Note: Insincere compliments do not count. Only give compliments you really, truly mean.)

5. Practice patience. Ah, patience... My greatest downfall, my archenemy. I have a lot of trouble with being patient. Much as I strive to live in the present, I'm often racing off to somewhere in my mind, waiting anxiously for what's next. Though I don't practice it like I should, I know deep down that patience (aka, being present) is one of the best ways to live a positive life. Not only does it greatly help you feel more centered, it also greatly impacts those around you. Though this is #5 on this list, in my life I'm making patience priority #1. 

6. Tell a positive story. So often I hear people complaining or telling a you'll-never-believe-what-happened story that's laden with negativity. It's okay that people (yourself included) want to share difficult situations with others. We want feedback, encouragement, support. But what about all of the wonderful things we experience and see every day? Why don't we start telling those stories? This week I'm going to make it a point to tell at least one positive story, with the hope of spreading some positivity to whomever is willing to listen. 

7. Refrain from judging. Another tricky one for me. My name means "God's judge," and I struggle with living up to my name just a little bit too much. Though I don't always judge in a negative way, I do often find myself critiquing others in my mind. This, as you might imagine, is not helpful for me -- or my relationships with these people. I really believe judgement, to some extent, is okay, but for the most part it's much better to ask yourself this question: who am I to judge? 

8. Expect good things. Believe me, I know how much it sucks to be let down. I get why it might seem easier to expect the worse or expect less because, hey, then you won't be let down. But, in my experience I've found that the more I put positive expectations out into the world, the more positive things come my way. What you expect, you often get. If you don't believe me, give it a try. Instead of expecting the worst, try envisioning the best thing that could happen and see if you don't start having a more positive experience. 

9. Engage in positive activities. One of the best things I've done for myself when trying to live a more positive life is to engage in activities that are positive. I used to spend a lot of time doing things that made me ultimately made me unhappy (even if I enjoyed them in the moment), but no that I avoid activities that bring me down I am a much happier person. However, I do know that I could be engaging in even more positive activities. I plan to push myself to make sure I'm doing things that create more positivity in my life. 

Being positive is something I strive to do on a daily basis, but, hard as I try, I often struggle with it. Practicing these suggestions above has really helped me to be more proactive in my positivity. It's one thing for me to claim to have a positive attitude, but it's quite another for me to take action when it comes to living positively. If you find yourself struggling with living positively, give these nine tips a try and see if you don't feel more positive. And, as this is something I still struggle with from time to time, I'd love to hear your words of wisdom as well... 

How to express positivity in your daily life?
What actions do you take to be proactively positive? 


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This is poster material! Everyday at work I try to practice these principles ;) and most days they work. If only I could change other people! Well said!

This is a great list - we can all use some guidelines for creating more positivity.

I think the hardest one for me is not judging. I'm a natural judger, always sifting my reality into categories. In some ways, that can be a good thing, but it often leads to negativity. That, plus telling a positive story are the ones on which I need focus most.

What an intelligent refreshing post! I love it!

Thank you for this. I have been following your blog for a couple of months now ... looking for inspiration and positivity. This was perfect and resonated very strongly with me. I have many similar thoughts and tendencies it seems. Thank you again!

Sharry - Great idea! Maybe I will create a poster of this and post it on Positively Present! As you said, it would be nice if we could get other people to practice these, but often we can lead by example.

Andrew - Thank you! Judging is definitely one of the hardest things for me not to do. Like you, I love putting things in categories -- including people! -- which isn't always fair. You might find this article helpful: http://www.positivelypresent.com/2009/05/stop-judging.html.

Derrick - Thanks so much for the compliments. Glad you liked the post!

Nicola - You're welcome. Thank you so much for reading Positively Present. I'm glad that you can connect with this post! :)

Hi Danni, just wanted to pop by and see what you get up to here and I like what I see. Not just the writing but the design of your site which is a breath of fresh air and quite unusual for me to like.


One tip I can add here is to actively note what sounds, sights, smells etc make you happy and seek them out daily. It really works for me. We have to actively seek happiness and positivity so thanks for helping people do that:)

Annabel - Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you like the site. Thanks for sharing that great tip. I agree that it's important to figure out what makes your senses happy and seek those things out. Great advice!

Hi Dani,

I absolutely loved your list. How could anyone not be positive with such concise tools ;)

I recently listened to the book "Prisoner of our Thoughts" which deals a lot with Victor Frankl's Logotherapy. One important cornerstone of Frankl's approach is to ask his client's directly to name "ten positive things" about their problem situation.

This seems to be working to shift people into new perspectives, and quite naturally moves them to see their situation with a little more humor.

Maybe this could be another entry in your list.


Jonas - Thanks so much! I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the list. Thanks for sharing that tidbit about Frankl. I'm very intrigued now and will have to check out his work.

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