Did you know that positive thinking affects not only your mental health but also your physique?
25 experts detail the benefits of positive thinking and why you sihould be doaing it now.
Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
National Board Certified Counselor | Board Certified Coach | Licensed Professional Counselor
It is important to choose to think positive thoughts. Yes. It is a choice.
Many times, we are unknowingly making up stories to help us understand the world and what is going on around us. This is normal.
The brain likes to detect patterns and quickly make sense of our environment. The stories that we tell ourselves shape our view of the world.
As Anis Nin said, “We see the world as we are, not as it is.”
That is, we see the world through a very personal filter which is a combination of how we are wired, our upbringing and the way we choose to see a situation.
For example, you get to the office, you are in a good mood and say hello to everyone. Mary doesn’t respond.
How does that make you feel?
What story do you tell yourself to explain her behavior?
Well, the story that you probably tell yourself automatically without even realizing it can change depending on several variables.
Is Mary your friend? If so, my guess is that you will give her the benefit of the doubt and maybe even say hello again.
Do you like Mary? If not, that may change the story you tell yourself.
Is Mary your boss? Well, that too can change the story you tell.
Did you and Mary have a conflict during a project at work? That too can change the story you tell yourself.
So many people are on autopilot and don’t stop to realize they are the ones thinking these thoughts which may or may not be accurate interpretations of the events.
Read related article: Building Strong Work Relationships
Automatic explanations can be harmful to us when we have not healed our past hurts, also known as triggers.
Perhaps you were bullied as a child and find yourself in what feels like a similar dynamic at work. The group at work are not your childhood bullies but you can start setting up a similar dynamic through your thoughts and perceptions of the interactions.
I recommend seeking professional help to help unravel your thoughts. A counselor is trained to ask the right questions that can help you unlock both clarity and healing.
Being positive can make your daily life more enjoyable and help you create a positive future.
Here are some steps to turning your internal dialogue into a friend rather than tolerating its 24/7 criticism:
#1. Notice your thoughts.
When you make a mistake, what do you say to yourself?
“I’m so stupid. I can’t believe I did that. I will probably get fired. How did I even get this job in the first place…?“
And so the downward spiral starts.
Instead, pivot your thoughts to something more helpful to yourself. It does take effort.
Try saying, “Ooops! That was a mistake. How can I move towards a solution? Is there someone who can help me? How have I solved problems in the past?”
This will turn you in the right direction of solving the problem rather than verbally beating yourself up.
Solving a problem can increase your self-confidence because problems happen no matter what.
Knowing that you have the skills and abilities to handle anything that comes your way will help you relax.
#2. Consciously replace your thoughts.
Give yourself credit for past successes. Try positive affirmations.
Many times, the advice is to affirm what you want in the present tense so, if you want to be successful, the advice is to say, “I am successful.”
If you don’t really believe this yet, it may be helpful to say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I was successful?“.
The reason the question may feel better is because your internal gatekeeper of truth can honestly answer that question with a yes.
If it hasn’t happened yet, you may find yourself arguing with the statement and reminding yourself of all the ways you are not successful.
If you ask the question, you won’t be as inclined to argue with yourself. Try out both techniques and see how they work for you.
#3. Make up stories that are helpful to you.
I’ve lived in countries where I really stood out and people would stare at me because they had not seen someone of my ethnicity before.
Initially, I didn’t speak the languages so it would have been easy to make up stories about how they were talking about me, and I could have gone to a dark place in my mind.
Instead, I chose to smile, whether or not people smiled back and told myself, positive things like, “I am sure they can’t help but stare at me. I would probably stare too because I stand out like a sore thumb.”
I would imagine that they liked my outfit or were talking about the great adventures I was having. I didn’t know what they were saying but I stuck to stories that made me feel positive.
#4. None of us really know what someone else is thinking.
Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Examine your worldview: Do you think people are overall nice or not?
No one can be as mean to us as we can be to ourselves because we are always in our head and we have plenty of material that we can use against ourselves.
Here are some benefits of positive thinking:
#1. More energy.
If you are never happy with what you do, that can drain your energy.
You may have to look for the positive but there is always some good in every situation. We often grow from less than ideal events so the growth is the positive result.
#2. Better health.
Stress-related diseases are on the upswing. Learning how to manage stress and think positively can help your health.
#3. A happier, day to day life.
When you make a decision to be positive, you will notice and appreciate the little things.
As Ben Franklin said, “Stay in the sunshine”.
Enjoy all the little details of life around you. The colors, textures, the architecture around you, the weather. There is always something to enjoy.
#4. Increased self-esteem.
When you focus on the positive, you have an internal cheerleader who helps you along your path.
#5. More willingness to take risks.
If you are more optimistic, you may be willing to take more calculated risks. Your internal conversation may sound like this:
“What is the worst thing that could happen?”
“I could fail.”
“I would learn how to do it differently for the next time.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“If I learn, that definitely sounds like a win to me. Let’s do this!”
Read related article: Overcoming Fear of Failure (Avoid these 3 Mistakes)
#6. A richer, more interesting life.
If you are always playing it safe, you may become stagnant and bored.
Safe yes but bored beyond belief. Being positive and taking steps towards your goals will enhance your life.
If you find yourself focusing on the same incident over and over, seek out professional help.
Learn how to tend your garden of thoughts.
You can focus on the beautiful rose, its colors, smell, texture or the thorns. As with the rose, every situation has both wanted and unwanted aspects.
For a happier life, I would recommend focusing on the wanted. Overall good health, sleep, exercise, and a meditation practice can contribute to a happier life as well.
Licensed Professional Counselor
In order to understand the benefits of positive thinking, it is instrumental to understand the limitations and consequences of negative thinking.
When we look at the world, ourselves and/or the future through a negative lens, we generate a negative outcome.
Often people wonder why that is the case. When we anticipate a negative outcome we engage the world in a way that perpetuates it.
For example, if you expect someone to have an unfavorable answer to a request, do you approach it with that expectation with a negative attitude and tone?
It’s more likely that the unfavorable answer is what you get.
What we put out into the world is what we receive.
If we approach someone or something with positive thoughts anticipating a favorable outcome, then its more likely that we get our desired outcome.
The benefits of positive thinking are positive outcomes.
But we have to be a realist in this as nothing happens “all the time” because in life there is no such thing as always or never. That is considered dichotomous thinking.
However, there is immense truth to the saying “positive thinking generates positive results”.
One of the biggest benefits of counseling is how positive thinking decreases anxiety and depression symptoms.
When people struggle with anxiety they have a fear-based thought process that results with avoidance or control.
Often one of the tasks to resolve anxiety is challenging the cognitive distortions with reality testing by challenging these negative fearful thoughts.
With depression, negative thinking is the core of the condition which results with a sense of hopelessness, helplessness and/or worthlessness.
In treatment the individuals’ negative thoughts about themselves, their world and their future are challenged by identifying patterns of their cognitive distortions: minimizing the positive, magnifying the negative, mind reading and personalization.
Most often we see individuals who mind read.
That means the person has a tendency to anticipate a negative response and engages them in a manner that perpetuates that response.
By actively challenging our negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts we begin the process of obtaining the life we desire full of joy, peace, and hope.
Not only do symptoms of anxiety, depression and health issues decrease but also we gain a whole new outlook on life and build healthier relationships.
There are also great health benefits from positive thinking as it increases the lifespan and decreases the onset of degenerative conditions.
So, when in doubt, try it out! Just ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen?
Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, Thought Leadership Leverage | Asst. Professor, Beacon College in Leesburg, Fla.
Over the past decade, volumes of research have been published on the benefits of positive thinking.
Physiologically, positive thoughts help to reduce the negative effects of stress.
When we are stressed out, our body suffers.
Our fight or flight system (our sympathetic nervous system) kicks in to deal with the stressor – whether it is physical or psychological – and this causes havoc on our bodies. When we are in this state for an extended period of time, our body starts to break down.
Positive thinking, however, can stop the negative effects that stress has on our body.
By focusing on the positive, we can literally relax our body.
In recent years, positive thinking has also been found to benefit our work.
In general, when people have a positive mindset, they are not only more productive in their work, but also significantly more satisfied.
Doctors are more accurate in their diagnoses when they have a positive mindset versus a negative or neutral mindset.
Thus, positive thinking can benefit us both physically and psychologically!
Angel M. Hoodye, MS, LPCS, CART
Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor | Certified Anger Resolution Therapist
There are so many benefits to positive thinking. Here are a few:
Positive thinking leads to positive experiences.
When you think positively your perspective of the world around you is also positive. You set the tone for the day and the world around you.
Even when something challenging comes your way you are more likely to have a positive attitude, which can turn a negative experience into a growth opportunity.
You really shine.
Positive thinking helps you to shine super bright. You glow on the inside and the outside.
It’s not that you won’t experience difficulties, it’s just that you will glow in spite of the negatively.
The positive attitude you have can catapult you into a new level of achievement and happiness. Positive thinking is kind of like a superpower that powers you up when the obstacles come your way.
You become contagious.
You, directly and indirectly, influence the world around you. Your positive thinking could be the very antidote someone else needs to improve their negative thinking.
Have you ever been around that happy person, they’re so happy they almost make you sick?
This could be you. Of course, don’t give a false sense of positivity but do share in your positive vibes.
Spread that goodness around. You being positive might be just what someone else needs to get out of the rut they have been stuck in for quite some time.
You are unstoppable.
A great benefit of being a positive thinker is you are more resilient. You can face the giants of your life with confidence and strength.
This positive attitude gives you the ability to overcome the challenges of life. Each one of us has a battle we are fighting, and when you are a positive thinker you have a great tool to propel you forward.
You have to wear shades.
Yes, your future trajectory is improved by having a positive attitude in life.
Think about it, where does negative thinking get you?
Of course, be realistic about what the situations and then look for solutions. Instead of focusing on negativity and problems, look for pathways. When you are a positive thinker, your future is so bright..
Sal Raichbach PsyD, CFSW, LP
Licensed Psychologist at Ambrosia Treatment Center
For people who struggle with mental health disorders like depression, optimism can seem out of reach.
But, it is very effective when used with other forms of treatment.
Positive thinking won’t replace medication or therapy, but it does support these methods.
Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy help individuals identify problems in their thought patterns.
Working with a therapist or counselor, they can practice effective strategies that guide them towards a solution. This type of thinking relies on positive, yet realistic solutions to achieve a better state of mind.
Coach | Speaker | Author
The benefits of positive thinking are many. Thoughts become your behaviors.
What you focus on, e.g., think about most, affects your disposition and in many ways influences the outcome.
Dr. Caroline Leaf described it well in her book, Who Switched Off My Brain. She indicates that the process begins with a thought.
You then develop an emotion around that thought. Finally, the emotion leads toward behavior or action.
If you want to change your behavior and emotions, it begins with a positive thought.
You must learn to cancel the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Positive thinking is a powerful preventive measure against sour emotions or behaviors you may want to change.
Your thoughts fuel your future. Thoughts are like seeds.
The thoughts you have, if dwelled upon, can manifest in your life in both good and bad ways. By focusing on thoughts, you are fertilizing, watering and caring for them so that they grow into an eventual harvest.
Why would you want to labor and tend to a crop of useless thorns, i.e. negative thoughts?
Positive thoughts generate positive energy the can actually be contagious.
Imagine yourself as a transmitter emanating a signal at a specific frequency. If you are emitting a positive frequency based on your thoughts, you will most likely attract similar energy from others, while repelling most (not all) negative energy.
Positive thoughts create other positive thoughts, and they continue to multiply, build momentum and help you solve, achieve and overcome obstacles you at first thought you might not be able.
Thoughts are powerful. Positive thoughts have both a psychological and physical effect on the human body.
Studies tell us that the brain generates energy similar to electrical currents based on our thoughts. The good and bad kind.
Those pulses, in turn, will result in literally making the body sick or healing it. The brain is a supercomputer capable of achieving feats man has yet to fully discover.
Positive thoughts can uplift a person in a sullen state. They can also help the body heal itself by reducing the level of stress negative thoughts create and “medicating” itself as a by-product of positive thinking.
Positive thinking can act a shield that guards and protects you to prevent you from easily succumbing to a foul mood, attitude or disposition.
While thoughts alone do not prevent all attacks, positive thoughts do go a long way towards helping you face the everyday challenges life throws at you.
Image having a mindset that no matter what you face in life, you opt to look for the good, the purpose, the reason to make a positive impact or difference from the trials you face. That is positive thinking in one of its highest forms.
Developing a habit of positive thinking is a strategic weapon in your arsenal to wage battle and win!
I’ve shared many stories, and approaches on how to live a full and more peaceful life, even while dealing with challenges, in my book, Battle Endurance – How You Can Be Someone Who Never Quits and Gives Everything You Have To Give.
A book which motivational speaker Les Brown calls “instructive, informative, and inspiring … a guide to live your life victoriously.”
If searching for a tool to help deal with life stress in their lives, my book is just that – a guide and roadmap one can leverage based on their unique experience and at their own pace.
I wrote it with the idea that readers can replace the challenges I’ve included with their own and be able to see themselves working through conflict, obstacles and difficulties, limiting the negative self-talk, one step, action, moment and battle at a time.
Licensed Marriage and family therapist | Yoga teacher | Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling
Positive thinking is very helpful for balanced mental health.
By thinking positively, it calms and appeases the inner critic.
People who are looking for support externally can benefit from constructing positive thoughts and an internal dialogue first.
Positive thinking establishes a nurturing and compassionate inner voice that can help a person through difficult life experiences and turmoil.
Positive thinking is an active and conscious choice.
If you focus on the negative and what is wrong, that is all one will see. If you focus on things that are going well, you will optimize your mind to see more good in life.
See the glass as half full because you’ll also attract more positive people in your life who think on the upbeat like you too!
Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Specialization in Trauma, Depression and Anxiety
I’ve spent about 13 years in mental health settings, primarily treating severe trauma and mental illness and the majority of the work is changing the perspective of the mind which while it can be biologically influenced is often shaped by life experiences.
Even psychosis is a break from life, otherwise called reality.
Through our life we receive messages from everyone, family, work, the media and somewhere we decide what they said was true and build a life on that.
A lot of times when we fall short of those expectations, the narrative we give ourselves is we can’t, we are not good enough, it’s too much, there is something wrong with me or sometimes its yelled to us by parents, spouses, bosses.
So many thoughts and opinions that limit us.
However, what if we changed the game and spoke differently to ourselves?
Our emotions and actions line up with what we think and that’s why positive thinking is so important.
You are molding your life into your own truth and away from limitations and negative experiences when you simply change the script.
Write it out loud, put those new statements on post its, I even tell clients to schedule it as reminders on their phone at random times. Surround yourself with a new story.
Licensed Psychotherapist | Author Of “Let Go Of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food”
The beauty of positive thinking is that it enables us to capture the moment – its possibilities for pleasure and for productivity.
When we get caught up in negative thinking – the “what if’s” which are anxiety about the future, the “shoulds”, depressing, angering, self-blaming thoughts about the past, or labeling, categorizing ourselves and others critically – its impossible to fully enjoy our lives, as well as plan for a better future.
Focusing primarily on what’s positive affords us the greatest chance for taking advantage of our potential for both doing and feeling our very best.
Editor and Writer, e-Counseling.com | Life Coach
Winners psych themselves up for victory. Uptalk, positive thinking, increases a person’s focus on the goal they want to achieve.
Their brain and body network with each other with those mental messages and poise the person to succeed. The chemistry behind all that is about neuroplasticity, a process realized and explained in the early 1970s by neuroscientist Michael Merzenich.
In brief, when a person focuses on positive outcomes, they program their brain to expect and to produce positive results.
Optimism opens the mind to possibilities, allows a person to improve their physical, strategic, and emotional skills, and it fosters the willingness to go out of your comfort zone to try new ideas, new activities, and to think outside boxes.
A chemical reaction facilitates all that. A person can cause it to happen on purpose by thinking positively.
As many mental health professionals teach, even faking positivity will eventually put the mind into a more productive mode.
By the way, a whole foods diet supports neuroplasticity, so eat unadulterated whole grains, lentils, and fruits, etc. and stay away from highly processed commercial brands that hold chemicals which hijack neurological processes.
Happiness expert Shawn Achor teaches that even the simple act of smiling, let alone intentionally thinking upbeat thoughts, retrains human brains to seek out “the good things in life” including more possibilities than we’d previously imagined, to feel more energy than we’d felt prior to thinking upbeat thoughts, and even to succeed at increased levels of performance!
Let’s look at the other side of this idea.
Negativity feeds on itself, and then it runs into reality.
The results can be emotionally, perhaps physically, painful. The additional pain of knowing that you’ve brought failure on yourself with intentionally negative thinking can drive person into a downward spiral or enduring loop of negativity.
But you can come out of the self-imposed problem by using a sense of humor.
As Byron Katie teaches, “When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.” One reality is that people can succeed far more often than they might presently believe.
Here’s a thought that might jolt a pessimist out of their convoluted reverie: What does a pessimist say when they see a light at the end of the tunnel? “It’s the wrong tunnel.”
You can change the paradigm when you look for the good in any situation.
Yes, I’m aware of many horrific situations. And I’m aware of survivors who succeeded in overcoming them by being purposely positive and focused on an ever-better future.
When you choose to think positively, people come forward with solutions, kindness, and friendship.
Why? Because your positive point of view is appealing. You welcome life instead of rejecting it.
Watch what happens to you over time when you focus on upbeat ideas. The payoff is priceless.
PhD candidate at Cambridge University | Author, Solving Procrastination
One notable benefit of positive thinking is that it can help you be more productive, by reducing the likelihood that you will procrastinate in some situations.
This is because positive thinking can help you reduce your fear of failure, which often causes us to delay working on tasks that we need to work on.
In this context, positive thinking involves two main factors.
First, it involves believing that there are viable solutions to any problems that you encounter.
Second, it involves believing that you can successfully implement those solutions, despite any obstacles that you may encounter, in order to successfully solve your problems.
Based on this, one way to help yourself have a more positive frame of mind is to assess your situation, identify any problems that you are dealing with or that you might encounter, and think through them in order to find all the possible solutions that you can implement and figure out how you would implement those solutions in practice.
Author | Speaker | Lifestyle Coach
The benefits of positive thinking are immeasurable when it comes to living your best life.
The truth is, life is hard, and while it is precious and beautiful it can also be challenging in every area.
Working on a positive mindset can not only change your mood, and can impact those around you—lifting others up while you lift yourself higher.
The mind is powerful and it can work for us, or against us.
If we have a negative mindset we build a barrier to what is possible, we create low and negative energy and as a result, we attract the same into our lives.
On the contrary, when we have a positive mindset, we raise our level of expectation and create an energy that becomes infectious to others, we begin to see a possibility, the best in others and create better ways of living for ourselves and others.
There is a quote “what you think about, you bring about”.
A mantra to rehearse and practice to shift your mindset into a positive state. If we are thinking good thoughts, and choose empowering words, casting a vision of great things to come, we will take action that is aligned with that vision.
The mind will propel us into a place of opportunity and peace. At times, calming the mind and meditation can help us get to that place.
Negative thinking can impact our ability to progress, it diminishes all aspects of growth and keeps us stuck and in a place of stagnancy.
Many entrepreneurs and leaders attribute their success to a positive mindset in addition to the hard work and effort that goes into creating results.
Likewise, their experience is that of a positive one, they come from a place of gratitude and have an attitude that impacts others in a positive way.
Creating a positive mindset is a daily practice and one that we constantly need to be aware of until it becomes part of who we are.
Self-awareness and mindfulness are important areas to develop so that you can not only create this mindset but allow it to impact your life in the most profound way.
I have studied this and practiced this for two decades, as an entrepreneur, leader and mom—if I did not put effort into this area of my life, I would be reactive and caught in a stagnant place.
Looking at the bright side is not fluffy, or unrealistic, it is necessary to living your best most HIPP Life!
Creator and Managing Director, AMZ Consulting Company Limited
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.
Hope, a positive outlook and expectancy, and general positive belief have several benefits.
They improve your health and sense of well-being, enable you to make the best of every situation, give you power over your circumstances, encourage positive responses, improve your health and immune functions, keep things in proper perspective, and finally (my favorite) create possibilities where none existed before.
With the widespread practice of the principles of the law of attraction, people have a notion that all we have to do is think positively and things will happen for us, we will magically be able to manifest what we desire in life.
This encourages a blind and irrational positivity which says that we must not think or utter a negative thought.
From a psychological perspective, this is neither possible or reasonable.
It promotes polarizing (black and white thinking), and suppresses truth and reality. Consequently, this is a prime example of how not to do positive thinking.
It must be understood that positive thinking is not about shutting down any thought or idea that is remotely negative sounding and ignore reality.
Instead, it is thinking positively inspite of and in response to the negative possibilities that present themselves. This is why it is called positive thinking, it implies that it is in response to a negative.
In order to think more positively and live a more positive life, we must learn to think right.
Positive thinking is understanding that at any given moment positive alternatives exist for even the most negative situations.
First, be real with yourself, face all the possibilities of your specific situation, note the negative outcomes and potential negative reality.
Stay present with yourself and be aware of the feelings the negative prospect invokes in you. Then intentionally, consider the positive possibilities of outcomes.
This is an intentional practice that gets easier over time. When we think positively, our mind works the magic for us.
Founder and CEO, Nonstop 4the Top
Being positive is so important, it really helps in motivating you and picking yourself up in times of struggle, but it also gets you to see the aspects of life you should be grateful for and celebrate them.
By being positive, it creates momentum in your life to accomplish your goals and achieve your ultimate dreams.
It is important to always think outside the box and see where you can turn a negative situation into a positive one.
People are drawn to positivity.
The more positive you are, the more opportunities you will have available to you as well as the more ability you will have to inspire others to accomplish their goals and dreams!
Each day I post a positive quote of the day on my social media and also have a weekly topic. Many of my followers contact me and really appreciate the positivity and quotes. It helps them and inspires them.
All of us face many challenges and those challenges vary from health, finances, family, friends, living situations, jobs, career advancement etc.
It is what we do with those challenges and how we embrace them and turn them into something positive to fuel us to accomplish our next goal, achieve a dream or even to just lift your yourself or others up is what is important.
So be positive today and really focus on gratitude and you will see your attitude turn around immensely and experience the benefits that go with that on your life’s journey.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Registered Yoga Teacher | Owner/Founder, Yours Chewly Nutrition, LLC
Positive thinking brings a sense of inner wisdom and gentle control over your life that negativity fails to grow and nurture.
Negativity is like a blindfold that you place over your own eyes.
You have the ability to remove it at any point, but doing so can sometimes be scary—especially if the darkness offers a sense of comfort and security.
However, when you think positively, your mind is freely open to opportunities, relationships, and experiences. Removing the blindfold invites an array of lights, colors, and sights to your life.
These things have always been present in your life, but the blindfold was preventing you from seeing them!
One thing I always tell my clients is, “Think about a few of your favorite people that you interact with on a daily basis. What do you like about them? What makes you enjoy spending time around them?”
To this day, I’ve never had someone tell me that they enjoy spending time around a friend, family member, or co-worker because of their negative attitude.
In fact, I’d be willing to guess that people with overly negative mindsets may not even like being around their own thoughts and actions!
Even after a short interaction with someone, you can tell the quality of his or her thoughts through a combination of word choices, body language, the tone of voice, eye contact, etc.
By starting to become a more positive thinker, not only will your relationship with yourself improve, but your relationships with others will also shift.
Once you start conveying the positive energy you seek in your life and continually offering that to others, you’ll soon find more positivity and kindness in many of your own relationships.
Lastly, and most importantly, removing the “blindfold” of negativity will vastly improve your relationship with yourself.
By choosing to take it off and step into a positive frame of mind, you’ll start to connect with your sense of intuition that holds your gifts, talents, awesome ideas, and ability to present your best self to life.
Personal Crisis Manager / Consultant | CEO, AnswerMan Specialty Services LLC
Positive thinking has many benefits, especially in my life of work.
As a Personal Crisis Manager, I deal with people that are going through some extreme difficulties and are facing potentially devastating outcomes such as incarceration, divorce, etc.
I teach my clients that being able to change their perspectives and think positively can impact their outcomes.
Not everything will always come out as we want, but if we look closely to what choices and actions led us to that place in life, we will realize they often came out how we needed.
Co-Founder, Class: PR
I have three positive thinking rules that I live by:
#1. Remember that nothing lasts, everything good or bad will change.
Whatever difficulty you are facing the law of nature is that it cannot stay the same, you just have to hold tight and wait for the change.
Yes, you must do everything in your power to encourage those changes, (in my case it’s been chasing solicitors, making sure everything is set in the office and being there through all my children’s emotional turmoil), but be patient, hold your nerve and improvements will come.
#2. See the bigger picture
This is where you need to have real confidence in your decisions.
If you haven’t thought things through properly or don’t have a clear plan, waiting through difficult periods can be painful.
You become filled with self-doubt, anxiety and you won’t be able to make clear decisions. But if you’ve got a clear goal, something that needs to be achieved that will bring benefit, then have confidence in that.
Don’t waiver from the path to your goal during difficult periods, keep focused on that end result.
#3. Appreciate the small things
When we can really take pride, see value or just be thankful for the small things in our lives then it is easier to wait for the bigger stuff to sort itself out.
I try to be as present as much as possible in the moment and look at what I have now and appreciate that. And yes some days that is really difficult but every day is a new day and a new opportunity.
Award-winning Author and Speaker, You Can’t Ruin My Day
Although my Dad was a very negative person, he taught me a lot about positive thinking.
I always did the opposite of what he did because I saw how his negativity held him back from getting enjoyment out of life, and that wasn’t the way I wanted to live my life.
For example, we hardly ever went anywhere because we “might” get stuck in traffic. When we ate out, it would only be in one restaurant because the food “might” not be as good somewhere else. In a parking lot, he would park as far away from where we were going, so that there would be less cars around that “might” scratch or dent his.
Growing up, I was angry about this. But several years before he died, I realized what a great gift he gave me.
With reverse psychology, I saw how rich positive thinking could be. How it often opened doors, kept worry at bay, and freed me from the fear of new adventures.
Patrick Pace Ryan II, BUS, OTC, PN2, TRX L1
Master Personal Trainer, Aware Online Coaching
You create a state of true synergy with yourself.
Through consistent practice, positive thinking can often bring any individual into alignment with their true self.
Creativity is bolstered and amplified.
Many things that were once seen as tiresome and mundane obstacles are transformed into curiosity provoking challenges through conscious and continuous positive thought.
I like to think that many of the free-flowing child-like elements of thought that once came with ease are brought right back to the forefront when manifesting positive thinking. Literally, anything becomes possible.
It shapes your surroundings.
Our lens of focus begins to shift for the better as we integrate positive thinking into our daily lives.
Our daily commute to work becomes more pleasant. We notice more beautiful subtleties around us rather than focusing on our daily inconveniences.
Interactions with our friends, co-workers and even strangers are elevated. Thus, filtering in and filtering out the people you desire to be around based on your true expression of positivity.
You begin to radiate a much different frequency to those around you which draws in what you deserve and filters out what you don’t.
Your alone time shifts.
Your use of free time is forever changed for the better.
You may notice your hobbies even beginning to shift to things you have desired engaging in but were long reluctant to try.
I have seen many people shift their use of free time from countless nights eating out and hanging at the bar to weekly yoga classes, hiking outdoors and riding their bikes/running outside.
Their alone time or time away from work refuels them in such a way that perpetuates their positive interactions in the workplace.
Your shift in thought becomes a constant in your life and is reflected in many, if not all, of your daily actions. It then bleeds over into the lives of everyone you engage with, from a conversation at the water cooler to a phone call with a friend, and begins to spread like wildfire. It becomes contagious.
Creator, GiRLiFE Empowerment
I truly believe that everything we experience comes down to perception.
When we are able to put a positive spin on the way that we see things, we are ultimately increasing the possibility of a desired outcome.
It’s important that will believe that everything is working for us and not happening to us.
With this kind of mental fitness at play, we co-create with the circumstances of our life and use them to positively impact moment to moment experience.
There is an ongoing inner dialogue that we have with ourselves in every second of the day. When we can use this dialogue to uplift, inspire and empower us, the possibilities become endless.
Owner, Training Canines, LLC
While many say that everything happens for a reason, you really need to believe it.
I do, and that is what keeps me being able to deal with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
Stop and take a look at the journey life has brought you.
When I think back of “things gone wrong”, it was all how I perceived them at that time. Were they really wrong, or just part of an overall picture.
Every event in our lives has an effect on us, and it is all based on our view and reaction.
I feel people literally can put themselves in the victim mode, just on how they react. While often we can not control what happens or a given situation, we do control our reaction.
The saying the glass is half full, or half empty really holds true.
Next time something doesn’t go how you planned, stop and look at how it plays into what is to come ahead. Sometimes you don’t know the answer until years later.
Founder, Airo Health
Positive thinking makes us smile.
The challenges in our day become easier and we find it easier to become resolute, have determination, and pursue a goal.
The world is full of challenges – most of us probably start our day with one, getting out of bed.
Now we can dread waking up, which just makes us anxious and even sad about it.
Or we can wake up with resentment towards life, which just causes anger, hate, and ultimately a lot of stress — you see, waking up itself was just something you had to do but our response to it completely changes the emotions we feel while getting on with the rest of the day.
Stress is a unique thing. It compounds with each little incident that makes us have a negative reaction.
Sue Allen Clayton
Founder, Serene Solopreneur
My research has shown me that positive thinking, particularly using guided meditation, leads to less pain and a better recovery.
My belief is that, given we’re thinking about something already, we might as well choose to ruminate on a positive outcome.
Thinking about a positive outcome also makes us aware of negative or scary beliefs (such as worrying about infection) and create more productive positive beliefs.
Positive thinking absolutely helps one to stay afloat, especially when there is no logical reason to believe that things are going to work out.
Without a doubt, being focused on one’s internal worth and believing that the universe has enough wisdom to bring you to the right place, is a source of tremendous strength.
However, no matter what motivational speakers tell you (I am one), life is NOT algorithmic.
Words have power when they are connected to something on the inside.
There is a tendency toward parrot-like repetition of other people’s positive-sounding cliches (mostly to sound smart and confident in the world of social media), and that can potentially be harmful.
First and foremost, one has to use one’s own senses, and one’s own brain.
Genuine positivity has nothing to do with hashtags and projecting confidence on social media while you are dying on the inside. That is not positivity, that is foolishness.
We are all under pressure to project a lot of things for career purposes – but that is a big reason why so many people are internally unhappy behind the glitter and the broad smile.
Genuine positivity is being able to see light when surrounded by darkness. Genuine positivity doesn’t exist without humility and wisdom.
In my experience, by thinking positive it relieves one of unnecessary stress.
If one thinks negative, your worries and problems can seem worse than what they really are.
Therefore, small issues become larger and cause stress.
By thinking positive, when you find yourself in a situation that needs some thought of how to solve it, you have more chance of doing so.
One should always remember that no matter how bad things in your life may be, there are thousands of others far worse off than you are.
Licensed Psychologist | Medical and Clinical Sport Psychology | Author of “The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology”
The importance of positive thinking cannot be overstated. One reason is the “self-fulfilling prophesy.“
The self-fulfilling prophecy is the tendency of all individuals to automatically become who and what they think they are or deserve. This process takes the unconscious beliefs the person holds about themselves and makes it a reality.
For example, I once had a patient that had no girlfriend because the thought he was basically a schlemiel, but after only changing his belief of who he was at the unconscious level, he began to date and established a relationship.
A football team who had previously lost 22 games in a row, finished with a winning season only because they began to think about themselves differently and believe that they could be successful.
The self-fulfilling prophecy operates all the time, without our awareness, so it is vitally important to give it the direction you wish through positive beliefs and expectation of success. Negative thinking will just as reliably create results that no one wants.
Positive thinking and expecting desirable results can impact our physiology and feelings, thereby influencing the outcome. For example, a golfer preparing to tee off who expects problems, maybe even seeing the bad things that could happen in their mind, will create anxiety, negatively change their physiological state and for this reason create a shot beneath their ability.
On the other hand, a golfer expecting success will be comfortable, possibly even in their Ideal Performance State, and more likely to execute what they wish.
Another reason to think positively is to consider the goal you wish to achieve in the most effective manner. For example, a person who wishes to lose weight would want to see them self at their ideal weight, ideal body shape, imagining significant social support and appreciation for their achievement.
This makes maximum use of the self-fulfilling prophecy but also includes factors that reinforce consistent, desirable behavior and make positive thinking more powerful.
The alternative to positive thinking is negative thinking or non-committal thinking where some situation is feared or where a person leaves it to fate, as opposed to positive directional thinking.
Negative thinking will cause a person to fall out of their Ideal Performance State and reliably create results less than that which the person is capable.
This information is discussed more completely in my book “The Parents Manual of Sport Psychology” where I describe the Ideal Performance State and how to get there. One part of the discussion is thinking positive, why and the most effective way to do it.
Although the book is written in the context of parents guiding their children to become more effective in applying them self in sports, the same information can be used to help anyone be better at anything.
I consider it one of the most important books for a person to own. Because it can be used to make anybody better at anything. 100% of parents and 100% of coaches who have read it have said they thought every parent and coach should read it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I develop a positive thinking mindset?
Developing a positive thinking mindset is a gradual process that involves consistently practicing certain habits and behaviors. Here are a few strategies to help you get started:
• Cultivate gratitude: Start by focusing on the good things in your life. Keep a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re grateful for every day. This practice will help you appreciate the positive aspects of your life and shift your mindset.
• Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you become aware of your thoughts and emotions. Engage in activities like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to enhance your ability to stay present and cultivate positive thoughts.
Reframe negative thoughts: When you catch yourself thinking negatively, try to reframe it into a positive or neutral thought. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” say, “I can try my best.”
• Surround yourself with positivity: Spend time with positive people who uplift and encourage you. Avoid toxic environments and relationships that drain your energy.
• Set realistic goals: Break your goals into smaller, manageable steps, and celebrate your achievements along the way. This will keep you motivated and help you maintain a positive mindset.
How does positive thinking impact my mental health?
Positive thinking significantly impacts mental health by helping you manage stress, increase resilience, and improve overall well-being. Here’s how:
• Reduces stress: Positive thinking helps you manage stress more effectively by enabling you to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
• Boosts self-esteem: Focusing on your strengths and accomplishments can enhance your self-esteem and increase your self-confidence.
• Improves coping skills: Positive thinking enables you to develop better coping strategies to handle life’s challenges, making you more resilient in the face of adversity.
• Enhances emotional well-being: A positive mindset promotes feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment, contributing to better emotional well-being.
• Promotes healthier habits: Positive thinkers are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise, balanced diets, and getting enough sleep, further supporting mental health.
How does positive thinking impact my relationships?
Positive thinking can profoundly impact your relationships in several ways:
• Improved communication: Positive thinkers tend to be more open and effective in their communication, allowing for stronger connections with others.
• Greater empathy: A positive mindset helps you become more empathetic and understanding of other’s emotions and needs, fostering deeper and more meaningful relationships.
• Increased support: Positivity attracts positivity. Maintaining a positive outlook makes you more likely to offer and receive support from friends, family, and colleagues.
• Conflict resolution: Positive thinking can help you approach conflicts with a solution-focused mindset, making it easier to resolve disagreements and maintain harmony in your relationships.
• Enhanced teamwork: A positive attitude encourages cooperation and collaboration in professional and personal settings, leading to more successful outcomes and stronger bonds among team members.
Can positive thinking be learned or is it just a personality trait?
Positive thinking can indeed be learned, even though certain personality traits may predispose some individuals to have a more positive outlook naturally. However, with practice and commitment, anyone can develop a positive mindset.
Just like any other skill, cultivating positivity requires consistent effort, and by adopting certain habits and strategies, you can train your mind to focus on the positive aspects of life, regardless of your personality type.
How do you stay positive in difficult times?
Staying positive during difficult times can be challenging, but there are several techniques that can help you maintain a positive mindset even in the face of adversity:
• Acceptance: Accept that you cannot control everything in life, and focus on the things you can change or influence. By doing so, you’ll conserve energy for what truly matters.
• Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or support groups who can lend a listening ear or offer guidance. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help alleviate stress and provide comfort.
• Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and recognize that everyone faces challenges. Instead of being self-critical, treat yourself with compassion and understanding.
• Focus on the present: Avoid dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future. Stay grounded in the present moment, and try to make the most of it.
• Look for the silver lining: Search for any positive aspects or potential growth opportunities within your situation. This perspective can help you see challenges as stepping stones rather than setbacks.
Can positive thinking be harmful in any way?
In some cases, excessive positive thinking can lead to potential harm:
• Ignoring problems: Overemphasizing positivity may cause you to overlook or dismiss serious issues that require attention, leading to a lack of problem-solving or unhealthy coping mechanisms.
• Unrealistic expectations: Being overly optimistic can result in unrealistic expectations for yourself or others, eventually leading to disappointment and frustration.
• Suppressing emotions: Maintaining constant positivity might encourage the suppression of negative emotions, which can be harmful in the long run. It’s crucial to acknowledge and process all emotions, both positive and negative, in a healthy manner.
To avoid these potential pitfalls, adopt a balanced approach that combines positive thinking with realism and emotional awareness. This will allow you to benefit from the advantages of positivity while staying grounded and addressing life’s challenges effectively.
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