We all know a "Negative Nellie" or someone who looks at the glass half empty. Some people just view the world through a dark lens. Yet, negativity can have both physical and mental consequences.

Negative thinking can increase levels of cortisol — the hormone responsible for stress response. When cortisol spikes, it lowers hormones like dopamine and serotonin, which are linked to calmness and joy.  Increased stress can also lead to weight gain, insomnia, anxiety and systemic inflammation.

Fortunately, there are ways to tame stinkin' thinking, especially when it comes to  our fitness and health goals. Here are five steps to get on the path to positivity.

  • 1

    Learn To Be Objective

    Sometimes, negativity just become the default mode.  The mind gets into a pattern and it can be difficult to change it. The first step is to recognize the thoughts in your head and the words you speak.  Write down any negative thoughts or words and you may be surprised at what you see.  Once you realize how often you have negative thoughts, you can make an effort to change them.

  • 2

    Get More Specific

    It is not enough to say "I need to be more positive." You need to say, "I will say thank you when I get a compliment."  Instead of complaining about your job, make an effort to find something you like about it.  The more specific you can be, the more your brain will be receiving positive messages.

  • 3

    Dig Deep

    Everyone has problems.  Things are never perfect.  Make a conscious effort to count your blessings.  Remind yourself of the good aspects of your life - your children, a good friend, or even a sunny day.  Being grateful can do wonders to change your outlook.

  • 4

    Be Inspired

    Read inspiring words, surround yourself with inspiring people.  Watch movies or videos with positive messages.  Find social media sites with people who are share your experiences, problems or issues.  Join support groups. Spend time with people who like you for who you are and support you.  Avoid negative people who gossip, complain or bring you down.

  • 5

    Get a Positive Message

    Develop a statement or phrase that you repeat to yourself often.  I got this. You go girl. Make it happen. You be you. Find a way.  These are just a few examples of statements that you can carry within your heart and mind to help you maintain a positive attitude.