Improving your perspective can help you in school, career, and life
Life as a student isn’t perfect, and when things go wrong, it can be tempting to look at the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. Too much negative thinking can start to spiral, and before you know it, you might be missing out on important opportunities in your education or career path.
If you find yourself complaining a lot or thinking that everything is going south, it may be time to try to shift your perspective. The power of positive thinking can help you look at your life differently and even turn negative situations into positive ones. Try these tips and see if they make a positive impact in your life.
Tip 1: Use positive language
Language can be very powerful. If you choose negative words and think “I can’t” rather than “I can,” you may be limiting yourself. The first step in getting a more positive outlook is changing your language:
- Instead of “I can’t,” say, “I can.”
- Instead of “I can’t learn this,” say, “This is hard, but I will get it.”
- Instead of “I’m not a good student,” say, “I’m going to ask the teacher for extra help in this topic.”
- Instead of “I’m going to fail this test,” say, “I’m going to study harder and improve.”
- Instead of “I hate school,” say, “School may be hard, but it’s worth it to get started in my career.”
- Instead of “This is boring,” say, “Learning this material will make me a better student and better in my job.”
- Instead of “I quit,” say, “I won’t give up.”
Tip 2: Know the power of your peers
Hanging around people who have negative attitudes can wear off on you. Look around at your group of friends. Are a lot of people complaining? Or is it just you? Whatever the case, make an effort to keep your social interactions positive so that you don’t spread the negativity. If your friends complain, you can sympathize, but try to help them see the bright side too. Boost your friends up with compliments and affirmations of their strengths. Try to steer the conversation to uplifting topics rather than dwelling in the negative.
Tip 3: Be grateful
Thanksgiving comes only once a year, but the sentiment is one that should last all year long. Thinking about the things that you are thankful for can be a powerful tool. Studies have even shown that feeling grateful can improve your overall attitude towards life. So take a few moments, and write a list of the things that make you feel thankful, grateful, or lucky. You can include the major things in life, like good health and your family members, as well as the fun, small things, like getting a good haircut or grabbing an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. If it brings a smile to your face, then put it on your list!
Tip 4: Find everyone’s strengths
Getting along with others can sometimes be difficult. Tensions can get high in your household when you have miscommunications. Friends can have misunderstandings that can trigger anger or mistrust. Strangers can be rude or inconsiderate and make you feel frustrated. All of these feelings can contribute to a negative attitude. If you find this happening, make an effort to find the good in others. Remember that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. So instead of focusing on the weaknesses, try to appreciate the strengths. To do this, try complimenting at least one friend or family member every single day. Think of their positive traits, and let them know you appreciate them.
Tip 5: Practice random acts of kindness
Have you ever seen bumper stickers about random acts of kindness? Doing kind things for others can be a fun way to raise your own spirits as well as those of others. Try these ideas:
- Put change in someone’s parking meter if you see it’s expired
- Text a compliment to a different friend every day
- Tell your teacher why you are enjoying his or her class
- Let someone ahead of you in the grocery store line
- Leave extra change in the vending machine for someone else to find
- Compliment someone on their work in front of their manager
- Let other drivers go ahead of you
- Write a thank you note for the cleaning staff at your school
Tip 6: Pat yourself on the back
Having strong self-esteem is another way to keep a positive attitude. Take time to reflect on your accomplishments and congratulate yourself. These might be small accomplishments, like a good homework grade or a completing a household chore. Or they might be big, like getting a strong report card, acing a final exam, or completing a project. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to be proud of your work. You deserve it!
Tip 7: Be careful with social media
Social media is one of those great tools of technology that can bring both positive and negative results. Some people feel so much pressure to look good on social media that it starts to interfere with their life. Others spend too much time comparing their own lives to the seemingly perfect-looking lives of others, and end up damaging their own self-esteem. If you are spending too much time on social media, and you are feeling sad or inferior after using it, then cut back your usage. Living in the here-and-now rather than the cyber world of social media can sometimes help you feel a lot better!
With these seven tips, we hope you are on the way to a brighter attitude. You will be amazed at how your life can change if you start out with a positive outlook!
The Salter School is proud to offer student tips, life skills advice, and career development materials as part of its weekly blog. Visit us soon or contact us online to learn about our career focused training.