Having a positive attitude can sometimes be tough, especially if you’re going through a hard time. But maintaining an optimistic outlook can have many health benefits, including increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of stress, better psychological and physical well-being, and better coping skills during hardships.

Because of the many benefits positive thinking offers, it’s worth your time and effort to attempt to see the world through rose colored glasses. Here are 5 of the best ways you can maintain a positive attitude.

Be open to positivity

Even though we are all aware of the benefits of positive thinking, sometimes we can be resistant to it. Positive thinking doesn’t mean you are simply sweeping all the negative stuff under the rug and pretending everything is great. Positivity is not about pretending. It’s about seeing what’s happening around you and striving to make the best of it. It’s much easier to become a positive person if you allow yourself to be open to the idea of positivity.

Be aware of your thoughts

The mind is a powerful thing. So powerful, in fact, that sometimes we’re not even aware of what we’re thinking. Like those times you drive home from work on autopilot and can’t remember any details about the drive. Our minds have a default setting and it’s important to make sure the default isn’t a negative one. In order to do that, pay close attention to what you’re thinking. Being mindful of your thoughts gives you an opportunity to shift them in a more positive direction.

Surround yourself with positivity

It is very easy to become negative if you’re surrounded by negative people and engaging in negative activities. Take a quick inventory of how you spent your time over the past week. Who made you feel good? Who didn’t? What did you enjoy doing? What would you rather not have done? The more time you spend with people and activities that make you feel positive and enthusiastic, the easier it will be to maintain a positive attitude.

One of the things I hear from our members all the time is how much they enjoy the positive attitudes of the people in our women’s fitness classes. A smile here, a laugh there… it goes a long way!

Focus on the present

One of the ways negative thoughts creep into our minds is when we worry too much about what could happen in the future or dwell too much on what has happened in the past. If we want to stay positive, an important step to take is focus on what’s happening right now. When you allow yourself to stay fully in the moment, negativity has a much tougher time making its way to the forefront of your mind.

Cultivate gratitude

It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard the importance of gratitude in living a more positive life, but it’s a vital aspect of having a positive attitude. It’s almost impossible to be negative at the same time you’re being grateful so if you want to be positive, focus on what you’re fortunate to have in your life right now. Try making a list of what you’re most grateful for and keep it in your purse or on your fridge so you can take a peek at it when those negative thoughts start to arise.

Question: How do you practice positivity?