There are many things that you can do to create a positive state of mind, at any moment. The techniques and points of focus below are especially helpful to use when just awake, because they don't require a lot of effort yet they produce fast positive results.
Taking the time to feel grateful is one of the easiest ways to create a positive state of mind. What to be grateful for will depend on you and your circumstances and it might change from day to day - one day you might feel grateful for having a comfortable bed to sleep in, another day you might feel grateful for the job offer you received a few days ago.
Big things, small thing - it doesn't quite matter what you choose to focus on - the key here is to experience the feeling of gratitude. So don't rush it, just take your time and bask on the feeling.
Tip to keep the tone up, after you've started a new day of positive thinking: bring in gratitude throughout the day, by stopping to appreciate everything and anything that is working for you.
Breathing is the only activity that is taking place all the time for everyone. And so I find that when I pay attention to my breathing, a number of helpful things happen… for example: I become more focused; I become less invested in my own thoughts; I feel more clarity of mind; I feel more connected to the stream of life itself; overall, and in a number of ways, I feel better.
Have you every woken up and noticed your mind racing already? Thoughts of all kinds coming in? About the day, about the things you need to do, worries about the future, thoughts about yesterday's conversations, the bill you have to pay, the call you need to make, and on and on…
For those days when focusing your own thoughts feels actually a chore and quite unmanageable (even if you try, you become distracted quickly, mind racing again), grounding techniques are very helpful, because they allow you to bring in some quiet and a sense of space.
Breathing is a grounding technique. So is focusing on what you can perceive through your senses. You're perceiving all the time, so it's simply a matter of choosing to focus on what you're perceiving - simply noticing. What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you touch? And so on.
You know how sometimes you do things in autopilot? For example, can you remember exactly how you brushed your teeth this morning? Probably not. Most of us disconnect from the present when we get to routine tasks, such as dressing up or drinking water.
Yet when you come across something new or interesting (for instance, when you go on holidays to a new place), you are at one with the present moment - you become alert and aware.
It does take a little practice to bring in acute presence (or awareness, whatever you want to call it) at will. Yet when you can do it, it's a most helpful tool to create space from an automatic or unhelpful stream of thought, allowing you to reset, so to speak, and giving you the power from that point to create a positive state.
Putting any of the suggestions above in practice consistently (that is, most days than not) will start to gradually help you create a new day of positive thinking more easily. That is, you will start experiencing a natural leaning towards entertaining thoughts that make you feel good, and you will become a lot more aware of the times when you're focusing on thoughts that don't make you feel good. With the help of your practice, you will be able to change your train of thought more easily.
How long till results?
"Are we there yet?", I hear you asking. Believe me, I've asked myself that question as well in many occasions. But here's the thing - we don't know when we will get 'there'; and also, 'there' is an improved point in the future, but it's never the final destination - there's always a further 'there'.
If you're doing the best you can and putting in practice whatever works for you to create a positive state, you will see results, that's guaranteed. Take heart (and grow your patience!) in knowing this - all is well.
"We become what we think about." - Earl Nightingale