9 ways to stop being negative

How to shift your thinking for a happier you.

Stop being negative: Steps 1-3

For many of us, thinking negatively is second nature. We get down on ourselves when things don't go as planned, get depressed easily and can't seem to look on the bright side. If this sounds like you, you're not alone. "Some people are born with a naturally positive disposition, but that's the anomaly," explains Dr. Lori Dennis, a psychotherapist in Toronto.

How do you stay positive? Share your thoughts with other readers in the comments section below.

Being negative won't get you anywhere and the more negative you are, the worse you end up feeling -- quite a vicious cycle.

"We need to learn how to be more aware of our thoughts and the language we use," explains Dennis. "We need to catch ourselves in the act of being, taking or thinking negative thoughts about ourselves." If you're a "glass half empty" type of person, there are some simple ways to help adjust your attitude.

1. Live more in the moment
Thinking about the past or the future is what we get anxious about. Rarely do we panic about the present moment. If you find yourself dwelling on something that either has already happened or has yet to occur, remind yourself that the only thing you have control over is the present. That's really the only thing that counts. Be proactive and avoid seeing yourself as a victim of circumstance, Dennis says. "You can't sit around waiting for someone to do something good for you. If you want something out of life you need to get out and get it."

2. Practise positive affirmation
Tell yourself you are strong, says Dennis. Practise saying positive things about yourself over and over and over. In the morning, wake up and say something positive. Have that be your very first thought of the day. Even if you don't believe it, or if it's a harried Monday morning and you've woken up late for work, starting your day off with a positive affirmation will help set up your day on a good note.

3. Believe in the power of positive thinking
This one may seem pretty obvious, but it's one that many people overlook. If you think positively, positive things will happen. "It's a universal law, just like gravity," Dennis says. Alternatively, if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts, don't be surprised when negative things happen. It takes a tremendous amount of work to change our thinking to a positive frame of mind, but it's worth all the effort, she says. "If you tell yourself your life is bad, it will be. It's that simple."

Page 1 of 2 – Learn how exercise can help boost your outlook on page 2.

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