Does positive thinking actually work? 3 ways to shift your mindset by @YouAreFIERCE


by Tamara Plant | Featured Contributor

In a day and age where we’re inundated with messages to “be happy” and “stay positive” the skeptic will call bullshit and throw it back asking how being positive will help the homeless or children who are being abused.

That is a valid point.

Why would positive thinking help anyone in situations whose day to day lives are based on surviving and not much else?

How would looking for the bright side of those situations make a difference? Generic messages of “staying positive” and looking for the silver lining are crap, would be a jaded person’s response.

Indeed, there are some circumstances where trying to find anything good in extremely horrific situations is the toughest thing to do:

Financial stress.

And on and on…

I can speak to the point of “attracting what you live” or “negative thinking breeds negative results” BUT how do you tell that to a kid who’s being abused or a parent who watches their child die of cancer?

You don’t. Simple as that. You do not go up to a parent and say, “Everything happens for a reason, let’s look for the bright side in all of this.” That, my friends, is not cool.

When you’re going through something so awful that it’s impossible to see any way out or anything good about it, don’t force yourself to be chipper, bubbly and in good spirits. Sometimes it takes going through the situation and coming out the other side before you can look back and see what the lesson was.

I cannot and will not speak on behalf of anyone who writes motivational messages but I will give you some insight into why being focused on positivity works for me.

Dwelling in negativity, letting the darkness consume me, and isolating myself to the point where all I could do was get lost in my own head really didn’t do a hell of a lot for me. It allowed me to be mean, angry, defensive, lash out, and attract relationships that fed that mentality.

Growing up in a physically, emotionally and spiritually abusive home took it’s toll on me despite how tough I thought I was. Even though I left home at 16, those demons followed me into my early 20s, manifesting themselves into my reality with a trail of broken friendships, self-sabotage, and destructive behaviour that very well could have ended my marriage. Thankfully my husband is the kind of man who didn’t allow me to push him away the way I’ve pushed away so many other people, a survival instinct I had developed to protect myself from getting hurt, but it took it’s toll nonetheless.

In my early 30s, after watching cancer take my grandfather, I spiralled into a deep depression where I almost drowned in my own negativity, eventually hitting rock bottom and realizing the only way out was to make a change.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Einstein

Clearly the way I was being dragged by negativity wasn’t working so the only way to start living again was to do something different.

It took baby steps of daily affirmations from Louise Hay’s Heal Your Life until eventually it became a daily practice and I pulled myself out of that awful place.

Being positive doesn’t mean life is perfect and it doesn’t mean you’re oblivious to the world around you or the problems you may face. It doesn’t mean you are ignorant to global events or that you turn a blind eye to other people’s problems.

Shifting your mindset is about looking for the light, searching for something good to cling to despite the madness that surrounds you.

Does positive thinking matter? You bet your sweet ass it does!

3 ways to shift your mindset

1) Stop looking for things to complain about.

The weather. Mondays. Justin Bieber.

KNOCK IT OFF! When you’re constantly looking for petty things to deeply sigh about or roll your eyes at, you’re simply focusing on meaningless crap.

  • You can’t change the weather. Deal with it.
  • Mondays happen the same time every week. Get over it.
  • And how a celeb lives their life has no impact on yours so let it go.

2) Start seeing past the surface

Yes, there’s snow on the ground but GUESS WHAT!? It won’t be there forever. In fact, there will be lush green grass and dandelions sooner than later! Dig a little deeper and look past what is immediately in front of you because the more beauty you see, the less ugliness you’ll be surrounded by.

3) Find one moment in your day that makes you smile

Hold tight to this. No matter what’s going on in your life, there has to be something, regardless of how small, that brings a smile to your face. These moments matter and they are what get us through some of our darkest times. It might not fix your situation but you can build upon each moment to create a life raft for yourself to help get you through.


Tamara Plant – Inspirational Motivator, You Are FIERCE, Edmonton, AB.

TamaraTamara is the founder/producer of the FIERCE Awards, an initiative that has been celebrating people who make a difference since 2010. Through her own story of resilience, she has inspired others to move past the negativity and shift their perspectives to focus on the good in others and themselves. She is a former journalist, current social media/coffee addict, and in the process of releasing her first book: Yes I am! An Abso-f*^kin-lutely FIERCE Guide to Living an Inspired Life. She has been a magazine publisher, speaker, blogger, consultant, and was named the 1st-ever Hot Momma’s Canadian Case Study recipient in 2010. Tamara believes empowerment doesn’t have to come in a frilly package; sometimes it comes with a kick in the ass & an f-bomb or six. Connect with her on Twitter or keep up to date with her at

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