The Benefits of Positive Thinking
“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”
― Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
Experiencing some negativity in life is normal, expected, and completely beyond your control. You don’t put miles on a car without experiencing some bumps in the road.
What you do have control over, though, is how you react to those bumps. Do you give up easily when life throws you a curve ball, get upset about the situation, or blame others for what’s happening? Or do you roll with the punches?
Optimists cope better with life’s challenges, and research shows that “looking on the bright side” is about more than just feeling positive. It’s about being motivated and persistent. Even if there’s a negative outcome, optimists try to learn and grow from the experience. It’s the difference between feeling like a helpless observer and an active participant in your own life.
Once you learn to think positive, your brain will pump out feel-good endorphins and open your mind to the possibilities in life. Mounting evidence also shows a link between better health and a positive attitude. While it’s not clearly understood how or why this happens, studies suggest—to some extent—the mind has power over the immune system. What if your attitude could actually help you live longer?
Studies have shown that people are capable of training themselves to think positive. We provide a few tips on how to rewire your brain:
• On Monday, visualize your week being perfect. It doesn’t matter that perfection isn’t realistic, it matters that you’re in a place of positivity, thinking about what you want to accomplish. Build on that momentum.
• Write down positive experiences at the end of each day. Count your blessings. Happy people focus on what they do have rather than what they’re lacking.
• Avoid negative self-talk. (Instead of saying “I can’t” think “How can I?”)
• Find the good in the world and practice spinning negative thoughts into positive ones. Try not to pass the blame for your misfortune. Think: Yes, ok, whatever happened wasn’t ideal, but can I learn from this? Can it eventually help me grow? When you’re actively looking for the good in a person or situation, you’ll find it.
• Spend time with other positive people. It’s true that like attracts like and misery loves company. Don’t get pulled into the negativity.
• Meditate. In addition to increasing mindfulness and rejuvenating your brain, you can potentially decrease certain ailments. If your mind is “wired” for negative thinking, meditation is like a reset button so that you can learn to tune into positive frequencies.
• Take time for yourself. Focus on what makes you happy. Do more of what you love.
Be a source of positivity and optimism to those around you. Even if you don't have control over every circumstance in your life, you do have control over your attitude.