“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.”
Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Our response to this age-old question about positive thinking reflects our outlook and attitude toward life.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean our head is buried in the sand while we ignore unpleasant situations. Positive thinking simply means that we approach life’s challenges in a more positive and productive way. We believe the best is going to happen rather than the worst.
Just like with expressing gratitude, there are many benefits to thinking more optimistically. These include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
The theory is that having a positive outlook enables us to better cope with stressful situations, reducing the harmful health effects that stress has on our body. It’s also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live overall healthier lifestyles, are more physically active, eat healthier foods, and don’t smoke or drink in excess.
Become a Positive Thinker
We can train ourselves to be positive thinkers. Though the process is simple, it does take time and practice to create this new habit. Here are 6 ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
1. Identify areas to change. Identify areas of our life that we typically think negatively about, whether it’s work, our commute, our body, or a relationship. Start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
2. Check yourself. Periodically, we should stop and evaluate what we’re thinking. If our thoughts are mainly negative, find a way to put a positive spin on them.
3. Be open to humor. Smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday occurrences. When we can laugh at life, we feel less stressed and are less irritated and angry.
4. Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise positively affects mood and reduce stress while following a healthy diet fuels our mind and body. Learning techniques to manage stress is also highly beneficial.
5. Surround ourselves with positive people. Positive, supportive people lift us up, offering helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase our stress level and make us doubt our ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
6. Practice positive self-talk. We can start by implementing one simple rule: Only saying to ourselves what we would say to someone else. Be gentle and encouraging with ourselves. If a negative thought enters our mind, we should evaluate it rationally and reframe our thoughts and attitude to one that is more optimistic.
By putting these steps into action, soon, you will be living an amazingly positive life!