1. Set reasonable goals
One of the biggest reasons why people feel so negative about themselves and the world in general is because of high and unrealistic expectations they set for themselves and also from life. It's important to have realistic goals and expectations, often broken into simpler steps with a plan that somewhat guarantees the long term outcomes.
2. Turn “problems” into “challenges.”
Reframing our negative thoughts and beliefs can go a long way in changing our perspective and outlook towards obstacles we face in our lives. Try creating a list of negative words or phrases that you use often and replace them with ones that are a bit more positive. Eliminate the phrase “I should…” from your self-talk, too, and replace it with “I could choose to…,”so that there's no element of dread and obligation, rather you feel more relaxed and have more control.
3. Display that award.
Life really can be tough on us and it is important to have daily reminders of better times, that give us hope and inspiration that the future will have similar times too. What works: anything that reminds you of past achievements (awards, published writing, a business card), satisfying relationships (photos, artwork by your kids) or positive personal attributes (maybe a gift or letter from an appreciative client or boss that details some of your talents).
4. Put your hands up!
Power poses, as part of body language have been scientifically proved to have an effect on building positive self beliefs. In 2012 researchers from Harvard asked study participants to hold either one of two “power poses” (one was leaning back in a chair with hands behind head, elbows out and legs raised on a table in front) or a low-power pose (standing with arms hugging chest and ankles crossed) for one minute each. Before-and-after heart rate and blood tests showed that those who held the high-power pose increased their levels of testosterone (a hormone involved with feelings and expressions of confidence and dominance) and lowered their levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). In interviews, they revealed feeling more powerful and open to risk. Low-power posers had the opposite results.
5, Drop your distortions.
Automatic thoughts in are head that include shoulds, musts, generalization are very common. A few common distortions include mindreading, when you assume you know what others think (someone asks you to lunch, for example, and you assume it’s because he feels bad for you); fortunetelling, when you predict the future negatively and then react as if that prediction is imminent (you assume an upcoming company meeting means you’re being let go and begin bad-mouthing your boss and ignoring work); or dichotomous thinking, in which everything is all or nothing (Everyone thinks I am a loser or no one can be trusted). Recognize what your distortions are and see whether you can view circumstances through a clearer, more helpful lens.