How to Keep a Positive Mindset (5 Actionable Steps to a Happier You)

How to Keep a Positive Mindset (5 Actionable Steps to a Happier You)

Improving your mental wellness isn’t hard; it simply takes a few small daily commitments. Learn a simple 5-step process for staying mentally well and positive no matter what is happening around you.

Are you someone who treats their mental health like their car, expecting it to run smoothly all year round but rarely servicing it? Or are you someone who treats your mental health akin to your physical health; exercising, stretching, feeding, nourishing, shaping, and sculpting it daily for optimal results?

If you answered yes to the latter, you understand that a positive, resourceful mindset requires work and maintenance.

After all, what you put in, you get out, and your level of maintenance is a direct reflection of your happiness in life.

Positive psychology offers a helpful 5-step model for staying mentally well called PERMA.

Created by Martin Seligman, a pioneer of positive psychology, PERMA is a simple acronym that can be helpful to check in with yourself (and others) and quickly bring awareness to the areas where you might be struggling in life. While also providing you with simple actions that you can take to have a more positive mindset and feel happier.

P: Positive Emotions (gratitude, intentions, focusing on the positive)

E: Engagement (participating in life)

R: Relationships (connecting with others)

M: Meaning (having a sense of purpose and meaning in everyday life)

A: Accomplishment (feeling a sense of achievement, either big or small)

Now, let’s explore how you can use this simple 5-step model to improve your mental wellness and feel happier:


1. Positive Emotions

Spending 5 -10 minutes on your mindset daily can yield hours of positive feelings making you more resilient and resourceful. Here are some ideas for how to bring more positivity into your life (even if you have little time):


2. Engagement

The more you show up for life, the more engaged and happier you feel. Conversely, when you withdraw and disengage from life and relationships, your mental wellness and happiness decline.

Here are some ideas for increasing engagement (even if you have little time):

  • Initiate a project at home, school, or work and routinely show up for it

  • Join a club, group, or community and go regularly

  • Get off your device and into the present moment

  • Become an activist for a cause you believe in

  • Create a goal that scares you and commit to it

  • Get into nature and go camping with your friends or family

  • Slow down and notice your language and how you show up for others.


3. Relationships

Relationships can be challenging but working through challenges is rewarding. Improving relationships requires self-awareness, a willingness to change patterns, and a desire to have deeper and more intimate connections with others.

But don’t forget: the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. So be sure to treat yourself with as much respect, love and care as you do for others.

Here are some practical ideas to improve your relationships:

  • Seek out and connect with like-minded people who have similar values to you

  • Say sorry to a loved one and share with them authentically how you feel

  • To take your mind off your troubles, help someone in need

  • Play with your kids or pets and be completely present with them

  • Let go of the need to always be right; let the other one win

  • Plan a surprise for someone and enjoy the moment together

  • Tell those who matter to you how much you love them

  • Write someone a forgiveness letter and let them know you are now at peace with what happened.


4. Meaning

Meaning (or purpose) provides the clarity, focus and determination to persist through challenging times. Meaning supports a deep and spiritual sense of direction and reminds you that your life matters.

Some ideas to increase your sense of meaning:

  • Get clear on your values. What truly matters to you?

  • Commit to working in a manner that aligns with those values

  • Find a way to bring meaning to someone else's life

  • Let go of extrinsic goals and focus on intrinsic goals instead

  • Spend time in solitude reflecting on the bigger questions in life

  • Explore the concept of self-actualisation and what it means for you.


5. Accomplishment

A feeling of achievement is a critical aspect of mental wellness. But often, we set our goals too high and are left defeated and deflated. However, improving your mental wellness can be as simple as committing to one small daily action.

Whether it’s a big goal or simply ticking off your list of daily to-do’s, there’s a certain satisfaction you feel when your head hits the pillow at night knowing you’ve achieved something that day.

Here are some ideas for improving your sense of accomplishment:

  • Create a manageable to-do list for the day and feel the satisfaction of crossing it out when you’re done

  • Take a step toward finishing a procrastinated project; you don’t even have to finish it; just make some progress

  • Create a new and exciting goal for yourself and write it down

  • Notice what distracts you from achieving your goals and work on removing it from your life (think device overuse)

  • Make Sunday your strategy day for planning your goals and priorities in a relaxed yet focused manner

  • Take time to reflect on what’s going well and acknowledge your progress and how far you’ve come (so important!).


💡Now It’s Your Turn

Nothing changes until you do. Improving your mental wellness isn’t hard; it simply takes a few small daily commitments.

Stop now and take action on at least one idea from the many listed above. Or challenge yourself and take action on one idea from each of the five PERMA areas.

Next, write them down and commit to one action each day and notice how your mental wellness and happiness improve. No matter where you are on the flourishing or languishing scale, you’re only ever a few small actions away from a happier you.