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What is a Positive Mindset and Attitude? A Definition
You probably have an idea of what a positive mindset or positive attitude is already, but it’s always helpful to start with a definition.
This definition from Remez Sasson (n.d.) is a good general description:
“Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results.”
Another, more comprehensive definition comes from Kendra Cherry at Very Well Mind (2017B):
“[P]ositive thinking actually means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.”
We can extrapolate from these definitions and come up with a good description of a positive mindset as the tendency to focus on the bright side, expect positive results, and approach challenges with a positive outlook.
Having a positive mindset means making positive thinking a habit, continually searching for the silver lining and making the best out of any situation you find yourself in.
Characteristics and Traits of a Positive Mindset: 6 Examples
So, now we know what a positive mindset is, we can dive into the next important question: What does it look like?
There are many traits and characteristics associated with a positive mindset, including:
Optimism: a willingness to make an effort and take a chance instead of assuming your efforts won’t pay off.
Acceptance: acknowledging that things don’t always turn out how you want them to, but learning from your mistakes.
Resilience: bouncing back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up.
Gratitude: actively, continuously appreciating the good things in your life (Blank, 2017).
Consciousness/Mindfulness: dedicating the mind to conscious awareness and enhancing the ability to focus.
Integrity: the trait of being honorable, righteous, and straightforward, instead of deceitful and self-serving (Power of Positivity, n.d.).
Not only are these characteristics of a positive mindset, but they may also work in the other direction—actively adopting optimism, acceptance, resilience, gratitude, mindfulness, and integrity in your life will help you develop and maintain a positive mindset.
A List of Positive Attitudes
If you found the list above still too vague, there are many more specific examples of a positive attitude in action.
For example, positive attitudes can include:
It is looking adversity in the eye… and laughing.
Getting what you get, and not pitching a fit.
Enjoying the unexpected, even when it’s not what you wanted originally.
Motivating those around you with a positive word.
Using the power of a smile to reverse the tone of a situation.
Being friendly to those you don’t know.
It’s getting back up when you fall down. (No matter how many times you fall down.)
Being a source of energy that lifts those around you.
Understanding that relationships are more important than material things.
Being happy even when you have little.
Having a good time even when you are losing.
Being happy for someone else’s success.
Having a positive future vision, no matter how bad your current circumstances.
Paying a compliment, even to a total stranger.
Tell someone you know that they did a great job. (And mean it.)
Making someone’s day. (Not just a child’s… adult’s like to have their day be special, too!)
It’s not complaining no matter how unfair things appear to be. (It is a waste of time… instead, do something!)
Not letting other people’s negativity bring you down.
Giving more than you expect to get in return.
Being true to yourself… always (Jarrow, 2012).