7 Simple Ways to Live a Positive, More Fulfilling Life

Positive LifeThe journey to building a better life seems never-ending.  We’re all busy working hard, earning money, pursuing our goals and trying to build our lives into what we want.

Generally speaking, we think the people who are living the good life are those who have it all – money, success, looks, a big car and a fancy house.

We think these lofty goals will make our lives significantly better.

But are these really things that lead to a better and more fulfilling life?

I’ve traveled all over the world.  In my travels I’ve met some of the poorest people you’ll ever know.

They don’t have access to much money.

They don’t have the big car and fancy house.

But despite their situation, they seem content with what they have.

Having more stuff doesn’t always equal a better life.  In fact, I’ve noticed that some of the best ways to improve your life can also be some of the simplest.

Here are seven of those ways:

1. Focus on what you can do right now

There are generally two types of problems: ones you can control and ones you can’t do anything about.

The ones you can control need your attention.  Since you can determine how they turn out, your focus can actually make a positive difference.

Focus less on the problems you can’t control.  You can’t do anything about them.  It doesn’t help if you put a lot of time and effort on them.

If you can’t fix them, then all your worrying, thoughts and feelings about them become wasted energy.

2. Be playful and imaginative

At some point while growing up, we decide to stop playing and using our imagination so we can live more in the real world.  It’s a natural part of getting older.

But playing and imagination shouldn’t be abandoned altogether.  That’s the lighter and happy-go-lucky side to who you are.

Your playful side can bring you back to your childhood when you were more care-free.  Your imagination can help you see the world in new and wonderful ways.  Those are great benefits we should never give up.

3. Take ten minutes to sit back and just relax

The world around us seems so busy.  Everyone wants more of everything and they want it done right now.  It’s easy to get caught up in the go-go environment that pervades and surrounds us.

When is the last time you took a few minutes to just sit back and relax?

Take a few minutes to sit in silence.  Let your mind wander and get lost in your thoughts.

It helps if you meditate, but even that isn’t always necessary.  What’s important is that you slow down and enter the silence of the moment.

4. Embrace change

No matter what point we are in our lives, we’re going through a change.

Some people resist change and try to keep their lives the same.  While you might succeed for a while, it’s going to be frustrating and painful.

Change shouldn’t be something we dread or avoid.  Instead of becoming sad by it, we should be welcoming it.  With changes come new exciting opportunities, fun, inspiration and growth.

It might be time to let go of the past and embrace the possibilities of the future.

5. Lift your spirits

You can choose to go through your day in a foul, ill-tempered mood or an upbeat and positive one.  It’s all in how you approach your day.

Fill your life with inspiration.  There are countless movies or songs that can build you up and enrich your soul.  Surround yourself with positive people.

Energy is contagious.  If you fill your life with uplifting messages, you’ll notice that you see the world in a much better way.

6. Watch your self-talk

When is the last time you monitored the thoughts you made to yourself?

They might be doing more damage than you realize.

I knew a girl once who would wake up every morning, look at herself in the mirror and tell herself how disappointed she was because she was a little overweight.

She didn’t think her internal monologue affected her, but that self-talk was having negative consequences.  It made her sadder and overly sensitive.

Sometimes we are our own harshest critics.  And when we come down too hard on ourselves, there’s no telling how much misery we’re making for ourselves.

7. List your reasons to be thankful

A lot of people focus too much attention on what they want.  But when you focus too hard on what you want, you lose sight of what you already have.

When you stop being thankful for what you have, you start taking it for granted.

Yet those are the things that should make us feel good about ourselves.

If you want to feel better, take some time to remember what you’ve got going for you.
photo credit: MartaZ*

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Comments

  1. I think these are all great things to remember to do on a daily basis. Sometimes I find myself in awe, when I just sit back and reflect upon all of the fortunate experiences I have had in my lifetime. I also find that cleaning and organizing some of my valuables seem to remind me of the memories I have with those thing/people/experiences, and by getting rid of some of the things that I do not need, I can appreciate the things that do have sentimental value.

    • I’ve found that cleaning and organizing can be a good way to bring back great memories. Lately, I’ve gone through some boxes of things that had old souvenirs and photos from trips. It’s made me realize just how much I’ve done over the years.

  2. Self-talk is part of how we generate our self-perception, so keeping a keen eye on that is definitely a big part of becoming more positive. If you manage to slow down on the negative self-talk, over time the impulse gets less prevalent and being alone with your thoughts will become less frightening.

    This is a good recipe for a better tomorrow, Steve!

    • Self-talk has a way of snowballing. If you say one bad thing, it can just lead to another and another until it’s one big ball of negativity. I’d rather get it snowballing the other way until I feel good about myself.

  3. For me, it’s all about not attaching any pressure to an outcome (which can be an experience, an achievement, or something material). The second the attachment occurs, the journey becomes a pain.

    This is totally a first world problem, right? I have friends in Spain who don’t have jobs, but are generally happy people. Perhaps it’s the sun?

    • Being outcome dependent is not a good thing. Yeah, it’s good to be concerned about outcomes, but that can’t be all you measure yourself by. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for a fall.

  4. Very sound advice Steve. I did nothing of those and was miserable. Now I do most of them and feel much better about myself and my life.

    One of the best person I know is a women with 5 kids, living in a poor, remote town who have been a housewife all her life. They struggle financially since I know them, but she is the happiest and most positive person I know. Talking with her is refreshing like a glass of cold water on the desert.

  5. Great points Steve. I always try to stay in great spirits. When things get tough I tend to try and find a way to lighten the mood. I feel like it reduces stress and mental strain. When you’re in a good mood you can turn into quite the problem solving machine.

    ~Lea

    • A good mood can help in many ways. I read that being in a good mood can help in solving problems and creative thinking. Plus, it’s just good for your health.

  6. THanks for this article, Steve. We are so resistant to change in our lives but if we can learn to be more open to changes and even embrace them, I think that’s the one most important skill anyone can learn or practice to live the most fulfilling life. If nothing new or different scares and we can deal with what life challenges us with, we can be so much more at ease when living life.

    • The thing about change is that it happens whether we want it to or not. It’s always there. I say that we should be comfortable with change so that we can go along with it. Plus, if we like change then maybe we can use it to make a life we want.

  7. Hey Steve, I would like to add another to this list; accept everything.

    Whether something is good or bad, accept it for what it is, let go of that stress and don’t place too much importance on something which is now in the past. Use it to move forwards and let it be a learning tool.

    • Can I modify it further? How about accept what you cannot change?

      But it’s a good point. Raging against the world or complaining about something you can’t change will do no good. All it will do is waste energy and time.

  8. I think setting aside some of the rush and hurry to acheive what are sometimes pointless material goals helps. Taking some timeout helps to get a truer perspective.

    • It’s true that sometimes some goals are rather pointless. Sometimes if we take a closer look at them, we’ll realize that. Keep trying to get new perspectives to see what you really want out of life.

  9. This is a great post, Steve, and one I’m glad I read tonight. I’m catching up on my blog reading and this is about the fourth or fifth thing I’ve read tonight that is so directly applicable to things going on in my life right now that I am kind of stunned. Funny how things pop in front of you when you need them most. That’s been so true in my reading tonight.
    The things on your list are spot-on. Some I do often and well; others I could work on. I do list my reasons to be thankful – in fact I do it with a blog post each week. It’s been a GREAT exercise. I do not always remember to focus on the problems I can control and NOT to focus on the ones that are beyond my control. Too often I spend time and energy on “what ifs” or hypothetical scenarios related to a problem that is looming. Turning focus toward that which we can do something about right now is so much more productive and brings the added benefit of feeling like we’ve accomplished something, like we do have some control over things. That’s one for me to work on.

    • Oh yeah, “what if” scenarios. I’ve been there; they can be addictive. I try to not get too sucked into those kind of thoughts. They’re either too negative and make you feel bad or too lofty and distract me from what I need to be doing next. All we can do at any given moment is focus on what we can do at that time.

  10. I was in high school when I first read Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” What stuck with me most was that he said that even in a concentration camp, having a good day was a mental choice. Years go by without my remembering that wisdom. While the outside world is out of our control, how we perceive it is up to us. Your post was an excellent nudge back into that direction.

  11. I’m a big fan of #1 (Stoicism) and to not think about things that are outside of my control.

    Honestly, I feel that when you get into the habit of doing this — I’ve probably done it for 2-3 years — it can get a little bit irritating when you’re around other people and they’re so fixated on things that have already happened:

    –“We should’ve done XYZ.. But instead we did ABC.. Man, imagine how fun it would be if we did XYZ..”

    I don’t see the point of thinking like that anymore.

    • I’m with you. Once it’s in the past, there isn’t much you can do about it except learn from it. So if you’re taking time to learn from it, it can be useful. But once you’re past the learning phase, there isn’t much to gain from dwelling on what you could have done.

  12. This is such a great post, Steve! Love #1 because those who get things accomplished only focus on what is in their control and what they can do right now.

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