Positive thinking is a broad and deep well of strategies, practices and habits. Even the most dedicated optimists can struggle at times, especially when small annoyances couple with bigger obstacles to challenge our inner peace.
Diana Cole, who writes about optimism for CEO World magazine, suggests “positive thought chains” as a way to build and sustain consistent positivity throughout your day.
“To keep feeling better in life, we need to have an internal commitment to choosing better thoughts,” Cole writes. “One positive idea leads to positive inner dialogue, which ultimately leads to feeling good.”
She suggests starting with an idea, a positive thought you can honestly identify and focus on. This could have to do with yourself as a friend, worker, parent, crafter, gardener, cook or haver-of-a-sense-of-humor. What do you love about yourself, your life, your home or your family? Name that thought and repeat it to yourself a few times.
If you can do this in a quiet place or at a consistent time each day, that helps amplify the impact of your positive thinking, according to Cole.
Next, it’s time to build the next link in your positive thought chain. Cole recommends looking around the space where you are and noticing—out loud if possible, though jotted down in a journal or even whispered to yourself are also good options—positive things about your surroundings.
These could be very sensory, like, “The cushion I’m sitting on is soft,” or more emotional, like, “I feel loved.” Anything you notice about your space, or the people in it, can attach to your initial thought and compound the positivity of your original idea.
You can make your positive thought chain as long as you’d like. You can even reinforce your positive thinking by repeating the full chain from the beginning, like, “I am a good cook… I love the sound of my purring cat… The light through that window is lovely… I am proud I drank enough water today…” and so on.
Repeating this exercise daily or even more frequently will cue your mind to make connections among multiple positive ideas. Over time, this habit will become more automatic, a home base of optimism that will help you through each day—even tough days—with more ease and inner peace.
What would be the first link in your “positive thought chain” today?