It’s no secret that positive thinking has been identified as a key characteristic of successful people. There are tons of books written, movies made, and seminars held, all to tout this life-changing power.

But, what exactly does it look like in practice to think positively? I’ve often wondered. Maybe you’ve been wondering the same thing. I know it seems like a daunting task, but it really is not.

The best way to start is simply to listen to the things you say every day. In the Bible, Jesus makes a bold statement by saying, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” There is so much truth contained in those words, it will blow your mind when you start to pay attention to it. You can start by listening to the positive and happy folks in your life; you know: the ones who seem to have life by the horns. Everything goes well for them. Listen to what they affirm about themselves and their lives. You might hear things like, “Everything always works out for me,” or “I’m so lucky. I always win things,” or even, “It’s so easy for me to learn things; I have a great memory!” You might even hear something simple like, “I never get sick,” or “I always get close parking spaces,” or “My kids are so thoughtful of others!” Those are POWERFUL affirmation statements, and you will find that the people who speak those words truly believe them, and thus they witness the manifestation of their statements in their lives. What you speak about, you bring about. A Course in Miracles tells us to “Teach only love, for what you give out returns to you multiplied.” Speak LOVE over your health, your finances, your relationships, and your life in general, and you will receive back more experiences to feel happy and thankful for.

To contrast this point, you might consider paying attention to the friends on your Facebook feed, and you will note that the same individuals seem to always have something going wrong in their lives: constant illness, financial worries, complaints about their significant others, et cetera. Their vocalization of their problems and stresses is merely affirming those situations and drawing more of the same into their lives. Just watch and pay attention; you’ll see!

So, how does one turn the tide?

If you’re into prayer or meditation, those are the most powerful tools you can use, as the Divine will always guide you gently and lovingly, helping you to see where you can do better. Being silent for a period of time each day and just “watching” the thoughts drift across your brain is very helpful, though it does take some practice to do comfortably! My sister’s father-in-law taught me the easiest way to begin. It takes just 5 minutes, and the mantra is simply this: I am a child of God. God loves me. Everything is all right. Just sit quietly and think of everything you have to be grateful for. Believe me: you have many things you can be thankful for! The air in your lungs after a good night’s sleep is just one very compelling reason! What about the sunshine streaming in through your window, gently rousing you (certainly, this is preferable to the blaring siren of your alarm clock.)
Your imagination is tied for “the most important tool that you have,” as imagining situations and events going exactly the way you would like them to is itself a form of meditation. I love to spend my mornings with positive and fun music blasting away while I ready myself for work! I imagine all of the things I am going to accomplish and feel grateful for the opportunity to do what I love and give back to people in a way that is useful and practical while elevating them spiritually and emotionally. Spend time cultivating a practice of feeling AMAZING about your life! If you have ever studied quantum physics, or at least heard of it, the idea is that there are an infinite number of possibilities in the Universe, and that they ALL EXIST. I wonder how many of you have heard of the Butterfly Effect? The exciting science behind this is that the Universe contains an energy field that is an endless fractal in the hexagonal shape of a butterfly, and whenever one small movement occurs, it “ripples” throughout the other fractal planes and affects deep and important changes at the most minute of levels. And no change is too small because it affects EVERYTHING! This is quantum physics in a nutshell. When you imagine things that excite you and make you happy, you are directing your powerful creative energy into making that possibility a reality. The truth is that every single thing you put your creative energy toward is going to come back to you powerfully. So why waste one more second in self-doubt, negativity, sickness, poverty, or fear?
During the day, if you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative, the quickest way to reverse the cause-and-effect cycle of negative thoughts is to feel good. So, find something to be grateful for and immerse yourself in the feeling of being so thankful for it! For example, if you have financial troubles, you might be worrying about how you will pay this bill or that bill. Instead of giving more bad feelings about money by worrying, use your money to do something kind for someone. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” What if, instead of holding onto what you do have with a tight fist “because I need this so badly,” you gave something away to someone else in the spirit of making their whole day? It isn’t necessary to go broke doing it, but the love you feel while doing something kind for someone else, especially in the area where you feel lack the most, is the fastest way to manifest what you need for yourself. Buy coffee or food for the person behind you at the drive through. Buy non-perishable groceries and bring them to your local food bank. If you hear of a friend who needs money for their electric bill, help them out however you can!

This doesn’t have to be about money! When you feel good about your life, you will ACT like you have the life you want! Start saying, “YES!” to the many things, people, and situations that cross your path: you are meant to have the things you love! Do you want a stellar career? DRESS FOR IT, and appreciate the job you have and work hard for your current boss as though it is your dream job, and you will manifest your dream job! The Power of NOW is a concept that is intricately woven into this idea of gratitude. When you appreciate a particular car driving alongside you on your way to work, turn up your radio and feel gratitude that it exists at all, and imagine that is what you are driving! Aside from raising your vibrational frequency, it sure feels great to let out a whoop of gratitude in the car!

The KEY to manifesting the life you want is to be constantly fueled by exciting, happy, and THANKFUL feelings about the positive images you hold in your imagination as if you have it already, because those images will manifest themselves as your life!