How can I avoid negativity? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Nela-Canovic, Productivity Hacker, Writer, and Entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, on Quora:

By adopting a positive mindset you can improve the quality of your life, experience it as more enjoyable, and even start feeling like anything is possible.

Is this hard to do?

Not at all. It's all about incorporating small positive habits into your day.

Here are 9 habits that can help you avoid negativity and boost more positivity in your life.

Say "thank you" every day to change your attitude about life.

It's easy to let technology get the better of us. We often find ourselves constantly checking Facebook, Instagram, and social media updates. The result? We develop an unhealthy obsession with the lives and lifestyles of other people. Next thing we know, we're experiencing jealousy and even envy, and we're starting a vicious cycle that leads to feeling frustrated, unhappy, and judgmental of our own lives. Even worse: none of it helps us get any closer to our personal goals!

Practicing gratitude rewires our brain to think about positive things, the things that we have going for us, instead of the things we do not have and that can leave us feeling frustrated and unhappy. How? Create a gratitude journal and write in it for 5 minutes each morning when you wake up or just before you go to sleep; list 3 things you are grateful for in your life right now. It can be the simplest of things, such as having a warm bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, a family that loves you, food in your fridge, a dog or cat that you have as your pet. Get specific: if it's a family member, write down which of their qualities you are grateful for.

Always believe that you can do anything you set your mind to.

Henry Ford once said: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right." In other words, if you believe you can think more positively, you can make it happen. Conversely, if you don't believe in the power of positive thinking, then it doesn't matter how much others will tell you how great the benefits are. How can you think more positively? Start believing in yourself and nurture a growth mindset (versus a fixed mindset). If there's something about your mindset you don't like, the good news is - you can change it for the better. Tip: read Carol Dweck's Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Make happiness a habit and not an end goal.

A happy life cannot exist without you creating it. What does that mean? It means that every day you need to actively look for what you can do to become happier, instead of expecting life to just become happy on its own. How can you do this? Apply some positive psychology to the way you lead your life, and you will feel a more positive impact on your attitude, your motivation, and your relationships with people. Tip: read Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Happiness and Choose the Life You Want: The Way To Lasting Happiness Moment by Moment by Tal Ben-Shahar, a lecturer at Harvard University. In both books he gives practical suggestions on how you can apply the concept of happiness to daily life, for example in school, the workplace, and in personal relationships.

Do one small thing every day that makes you feel good.

Which activity do you enjoy doing outside of work or school? Depending on your personality, it could be a solitary activity or something fun you like to do with a partner or friend. Make time to practice it every day. For example:

  • If you love books, make the time to read a novel for 30 minutes before going to sleep. Make it a ritual: prepare a cup of tea, eat a few squares of good dark chocolate, play some relaxing music, and enjoy the experience.
  • If you like to be physically active, schedule in a bike ride, a long walk, or a run in the late afternoon when you're done with your work or studies. If you'd like, invite a friend along; it can help them develop a positive habit too.
  • If you love music, learn how to play guitar or drums or a harmonica.
  • If you like to write, make it a priority to write one page every single day, either early in the morning before getting ready or later at night when it's quiet and you have the time to organize your thoughts. You could, for example, write just a few paragraphs in your journal on how the day went, something interesting that happened, a pleasant or thought-provoking conversation you had with someone, something nice you heard, or a meal that you enjoyed.

Replace saying "I can't do this right now" with "why not?"

We all feel like procrastinating on some things in life, it's human to do so. It doesn't require a lot of effort to procrastinate. In fact, it's almost a default reaction to something challenging that's in front of you. Consider this:

  • Think carefully if there is something else hiding behind procrastination. Maybe it is fear of not being able to do something successfully.
  • Next time you feel like procrastinating, rather than immediately saying "I can't" ask yourself where the resistance is coming from. Be honest with yourself. Find out what it is so you can do something about it.
  • The biggest benefit to making this change is this: whenever you say "why not?" you win over fear. There is something really powerful when we leave a little space open for possibilities, instead of shutting the door in our own face. It's a subtle change in attitude towards ourselves than can have a tremendous impact in our lives.

Don't waste time talking to toxic people and taking Facebook updates seriously.

  • Toxic people may claim they are your friends, but they are not. Why? Because they don't support you, they don't listen to you, and chances are they won't change just because you want them to. Be very selective who you spend your free time with, and next time a toxic person wants to monopolize your time, just say no. Tell them you're busy. Don't engage in negative banter. You're better off spending free time on your own doing something that makes you relaxed and happy.
  • It's easy to get sucked into the latest Facebook or Instagram updates. Try to take everything you see and hear with a grain of salt. Chances are that the pictures and updates are not your friends' reality; it's the version of their reality they want you to see. Instead, focus on what you have going for you in your life. Practice gratitude for the little things, stay true to your goals, and don't let others sway you from accomplishing what you have set out to do. Why? Because you made a commitment to yourself when you set your own personal goals. And because they should be what matters most to you.

Work hard to let go of anger and resentment.

Disappointment and feeling wronged or treated unjustly in some way is a normal part of life. This feeling is, at some point, inevitable. You cannot always control every event or situation, but you can control how you react to them. You're better off taking a step back and re-evaluating the situation: is staying angry really worth your time, your energy, and your health? In many cases it's better to let go, learn from the event, and move forward.

Develop a positive attitude towards your mistakes.

Making mistakes is a normal part of life. It's how you approach them that matters. Try a different strategy of viewing your past by forgiving yourself for mistakes that you made. Reflect on them, learn from them, but don't hold on to them. This applies to your relationships, your career, your education, and other areas of your life in which you feel you didn't achieve what you wanted or underperformed in some way. By changing how you relate to mistakes, you will give yourself more freedom to manage your future more successfully.

Take a closer look at the best version of yourself.

Instead of being overly self-critical about everything you do (or everything you feel you've done wrong), switch to looking more closely at the best version of yourself. You know who that is. It's that version of you that you strive to be, that you've always wanted to be. It's the version of you who knows what is right, what needs to be done, how much time needs to be sacrificed, which goals need to be pursued. Always keep a conversation going between the self you currently are and your ideal self. Whenever you are contemplating your next move, ask the best version of yourself what's the right path to take, then go in that direction. This technique ensures that you see yourself in a positive light, which in turn will give you more motivation and a greater likelihood of success in your endeavors.

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Published on: Feb 24, 2017