- What does it mean to radiate positivity?
- Why is it important to radiate positivity?
- 6 Steps: How to radiate positivity?
Some people simply radiate positivity.
You probably know someone like this, someone who always seems to have a smile on her face, someone who always seems to find the positive in otherwise negative situations, someone who never seems to get sucked into the drama.
No, you’re not imagining it. And no, they’re not faking it. These people really are that positive.
And generally speaking, they have a lot to be positive about. Optimistic people tend to live an average of 11-15% longer than their less positive counterparts. They make more money, too. A study of 45 self-made millionaires and billionaires were all asked to complete the Big Five Personality Test. Researchers found that optimism was the only personality trait that all participants shared.
Now, you might be thinking, if only I had this superhuman ability to be so positive all the time…
Well, I have good news for you: You do.
What does it mean to radiate positivity?
The first myth to bust about optimists is that they are always optimistic. Everyone has good days and bad days, and there are times when even the most positive person in the world can feel disappointed or discouraged.
Those who radiate positivity are those select few who are able to minimize the number of bad days and maximize the good. So much so that from the outside it can often look like they are happy, optimistic people all the time. They tend live in the present moment, not dwelling on the past or agonizing about the future.
Why is it important to radiate positivity?
People who radiate positivity are simply better off in life than people who don’t. That’s because when you radiate positivity you:
- Attract more people (and, therefore, opportunities)
- Make other people happier
- Become happier yourself
Radiating positivity attracts positivity (people, opportunities, etc.)
When you radiate positive energy, you make those around you feel safe, secure, calm, and happy. When you radiate negative energy, you make others feel anxious, afraid, guilty, and sad.
We naturally move toward people who make us feel better and away from people who make us feel worse. An outcome of this is that people who radiate positivity simply know more people than people who don’t.
And in a social society like ours, human relationships are currency. The more people you know the more perspective, information, and resources you have to create the life of your dreams.
Radiating positivity makes others more positive
The energy you give off is a kind of social contagion. It can be caught and spread just like the common cold.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re always projecting your thoughts and feelings to those around you. And whether they realize it or not, they’re picking up on it and incorporating them into their thoughts and feelings as a result.
You can probably think of a time when you with other people and a new person giving off strong positive or negative energy joined the group and completely changed the group dynamic (for better or worse).
Positive people can help others see the bright side of what appears to be a bad situation. Every journey has its ups and downs, and positive people can see minor setbacks for what they are in the broader scheme of things.
We often believe (inaccurately) that our emotions are not ours to control, and that when they arise they are correct and justified.
But emotions are no different than thoughts. They come and they go, sometimes randomly. They are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. And if we pay attention to them, we can decide which ones to focus on and which ones to let go of.
Positive people remind us of this by presenting us with alternative trains of thought that are just as authoritative as the negative ones running wild in our minds.
You might be wondering, what about those people who are overly positive? You know, those people who think the world is all sunshine and rainbows and who seem to be putting on an act?
The simple truth is that those people are lying. Authenticity matters when it comes to the energy give out into the world. Faking positivity is negative energy disguised as positive energy. It might fool some in the near term, but over the long term it will always push people away.
Radiating positivity makes you more positive
As you attract more people and make those people more positive, you create a virtuous cycle of positivity where positive people around you reinforce your positivity and you, in turn, reinforce theirs.
Apart from having a happier and more pleasant experience in life, thinking positively thrusts you in the direction of the outcomes you want out of life.
This is because positive thinking is correlated with stronger cognitive functioning. People with a positive mindset find it easier to:
- Think up creative solutions to problems
- Step back to see the bigger picture
- Make connections between different pieces of information
- Remain present and engaged in social conversations
Positive thinkers lead richer lives, with more people, experiences, and access to more of the opportunities that life has to offer.
6 Steps: How to radiate positivity?
This section could also be titled, “how to adopt a positive mindset,” because those who have a positive mindset tend to spread it whether they know it or not.
How to Win Friends & Influence People is the first modern manifesto on the value of radiating positivity. In it, Dale Carnegie devotes an entire chapter to the importance of smiling. So strong was his love for smiling that he included this poem about it:
It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone ’til it is given away. And if in the hurly-burly bustle of today’s business world, some of the people you meet should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give.Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
As unusual as it sounds, research has shown that the mere act of smiling can make you feel happier.
Don’t believe me? Smile, right now. Stop reading and make the biggest, toothiest, goofiest smile you can muster. How do you feel? If you’re like the vast majority of people, you will feel at least marginally better.
Don’t get me wrong, smiling is not a cure for depression. But smiling more will almost certainly lift your spirits higher than they would otherwise be. That’s because, for your entire life, you have unwittingly been conditioning your brain to associate smiling with positive feelings. You are Pavlov’s Dog and your smile is the bell.
Beyond making yourself happier, smiling is a powerful way to radiate positivity. This is because of the tendency we have as humans to mimic the expressions with which we’re faced
When someone smiles at us, we smile back—instinctively. If they frown, we return a frown of solidarity. Mimicking facial expressions is a social behavior that tells the other person, “I see you, and I understand you.” In fact, a recent study at UC San Diego demonstrated that lonely people are less likely to mimic smiles than their non-lonely counterparts.
Expressions of gratitude are strongly correlated with feelings of happiness. There is general consensus among psychologists that those who regularly express gratitude exhibit higher levels of personal well-being. And like smiling, expressions of gratitude are powerful transmitters of positive energy.
This is because a few things must happen before you can properly express gratitude, you need to first recognize something good in your life. In other words, showing gratitude requires you to focus on what you already have.
A great way to do this is to start a gratitude journal. At the end of the day, make it a habit to think over what happened throughout the day and note one thing that someone else did for you that made your life a little easier.
I’ve been doing this for years, and over time, your mind begins to learn to pay attention to the things for which you’re grateful, rather than the things you wish you’d had. As this happens, you’ll find that you gradually begin to spread your gratitude to others, the moment it happens.
Keep a personal manifesto
Thus far, a lot of this article has focused on the idea of authenticity. It simply won’t work to radiate positivity if that positivity is not coming from an authentic place. The absolute best way to remain authentic and genuine is to stay grounded in your core beliefs and values.
When it comes to staying grounded, writing a personal manifesto is probably the most effective tactic you can implement right away that will dramatically impact your ability to stay in touch with who you really are inside.
I’ve written a detailed guide about how to write your manifesto, but here’s a quick summary:
- Create a list of core values
- Find motivational quotes, affirmations, and statements that reinforce those core values
- Pick the best ones and rewrite them into concrete, declarative, first-person statements
- With your manifesto compiled, create a daily habit of reviewing it
- Revise your manifesto often with insights you gather from your day-to-day life
When you turn your personal manifesto readings into a daily habit, your actions and behaviors will begin to shift in the direction of your values thanks to the availability heuristic. This values alignment is critical for positive thinking and spreading that positive thinking to others.
When something doesn’t go your way or doesn’t live up to your expectations, it can be easy to complain as a means of releasing the stress and negative energy you’re feeling as a result of the disappointing situation.
But at the end of the day, complaining is really just another way of keeping your mind stuck in the past—and not a particularly desirable past at that. Living in the present is the way to move forward in life. After all, the present moment is all we really only ever have.
Further, complaining generally takes the form of casting blame outwards, either to the people or the circumstances involved in the disappointment. Casting blame is the opposite of radiating positivity. It is radiating negativity, and while it might make you feel better in the near term, it won’t draw people or opportunities closer to you. No one wants to be around someone who’s always negative.
Of course, we don’t recommend bottling up your feelings and keeping them a secret from everyone. That’s not going to make you happy, and it’s certainly not going to create the conditions to convince others that you’re happy.
Accept and move forward
Rather than dwelling on a past that you can no longer control, practice the art of acceptance. This involves interrupting the negative train of thought and reminding yourself that this feeling is temporary, what has happened has happened, and that you only have the ability to control your actions in the present moment.
Obviously, this is much easier said than done. Perhaps the hardest part of executing this is being able to identify when your mind is caught in a negative thought loop. But this is a very meta way of thinking that we’re not naturally used to.
Practicing mindfulness via regular meditation sessions is absolutely the most efficient way to re-train your mind to think in this way. Meditation gives you a space to practice the habit of watching your thoughts. It heightens your awareness of thoughts as distinct things separate from you. And it gives you the tools you need to carry that awareness through your day to day life.
In fact, recent studies by Harvard Medical School have shown that mindfulness practice can actually change brain chemistry in an observable way:
Of course, the practical benefit of acceptance is that it helps you become a person who more readily radiates positivity. People who are able to accept bad situations and move forward are exciting to be around. Part of this can be attributed to their novelty. Acceptance is simply not the common or expected response to negative outcomes, and to see it in someone else can feel like a breath of fresh air.
Another part can simply be attributed to the inherently positive notion of acceptance. Acceptance is the opposite of resistance. Resistance implies friction. Things are moving down a path you disagree with, and your reaction is to change course which requires effort and creates friction. To accept your circumstances and move forward is to let go of resistance and instead find an entirely new path, one that might not be as straightforward as you’d initially wanted, but one that still ultimately leads to the destination you desire most.
As we’ve already touched on, up to 70% of our mental chatter is negative self-talk. We are our own worst critics. The vast majority of what we tell ourselves is more negative than anything we would ever say about someone else.
If you’re up for an exercise, sometime take a moment to write down a few of your most negative thoughts. The thoughts that bother you the absolute most.
Now, swap out the subject of these thoughts with someone you love very much—a close friend, a partner, a parent, a sibling. Ask yourself what the circumstances would need to be for you to actually say something like this to that person. In all likelihood, they would need to have been pretty bad. So bad that it’s probably unlikely you’d ever actually find yourself in that situation.
Now consider yourself. You are the person with whom you spend the most time. If you are constantly putting yourself down, how do you expect to radiate positivity and inspire joy in others? There’s no way.
There’s an old saying that goes, “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” And while it isn’t perfectly accurate to say self-love precedes loving others, the ability to have compassion for one’s self certainly does. In other words, the ability to see yourself as human and not to beat yourself up for not meeting unattainable standards of excellence.
This is often described as “not taking yourself seriously,” and in a social setting it has the added benefit of putting people at ease. Feeling compassion for yourself signals to others that you are okay with imperfection in a world so obsessed with getting things right all the time. It takes the pressure off and it draws people toward you. It facilitates your ability to radiate positivity.
Care for your body
Hand-in-hand with the idea of self-compassion is physical care for yourself. Your body is the vessel through which you experience life, but too many of us treated it like an old, fraying backpack we don’t care about as long as it gets the job done.
We eat poorly. We don’t exercise. We forego sleep. And then we wonder why our collective mindset is so negative all the time.
The truth is, we can’t truly be positive without having a solid foundation of healthy diet, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise. And you can’t just focus on one or two of these areas, you need to balance all three.
Of course, there are multi-billion dollar industries that exist to help people practice better personal healthcare habits. I am personally of the belief that the best way to make this happen is to create what James Clear calls “atomic habits.”
Can’t work up the motivation to get out of bed at 5 AM to exercise? Start by getting out of bed and then going back to sleep. That’s an atomic habit. If you’re able to improve on this habit by 1% every day, over the long term, you will be exercising. A 1% improvement is not a big ask, but over a year the compounded impact of these 1% improvements is life changing.
You’ll find yourself more engaged with life and the people in it. You’ll discover that you have more energy, that your thinking is sharper, and that you’re able to practice all of the other habits on this list far more easily.
To radiate positivity is to be a light in the social darkness that is modern living. With so many of us caught up in negative thought patterns about ourself and others, your ability to step outside of that and bring in the positive energy will not only set you apart, it will bring others along with you. When you radiate positivity, you are healing the world.
What methods have you found useful to help yourself radiate positivity?