I’m a great believer in the power of positive thinking. So, what is the definition of “positive thinking”? According to Merriam-Webster, it is……a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behavior.
It’s hard to think positively all the time, especially in today’s world of chaos, war, and Covid. It’s exactly at these tough times when we need it the most. Thinking positively about yourself colors your perspective on the outside world. It can’t help but overflow outward.
It doesn’t mean you won’t face some dark and hard times. You will. We all do. It just means it won’t be quite as dark, quite as hard as it could be. Staying positive is hard work. I work on it every day. The benefits are well worth it. That doesn’t mean you ignore reality or make light of problems. It simply means you approach the good and the bad in life with the expectation that things will go well.
What are the benefits of thinking positively? (There really are no downsides to staying upbeat.)
Some physical benefits may include:
- Longer life span
- Lower chance of having a heart attack
- Better physical health
- Greater resistance to illness such as the common cold
- Lower blood pressure
- Better stress management
- Better pain tolerance
- The mental benefits may include:
- More creativity
- Greater problem-solving skill
- Clearer thinking
- Better mood
- Better coping skills
- Less depression
This all sounds great. My own personal experience is it does help in a lot of those things. I think mileage may vary as everyone is wired differently.
Ok, we get that it’s very good for you to think positively but how do we get started? What do we do? HOW do we do it?
Well for one, smile more! Sounds simple right? It isn’t. Trust me on that one! They say that even if you put a fake smile on your lips while doing difficult things helps. Find the humor in things.
Put a more positive spin on bad situations. This is one area I’m always working on. I get frustrated because physically I can’t do some things I used to do with ease when I was younger. Now I struggle. When I find myself getting frustrated I smile (there’s that fake smile again) and say to myself, “well at least I can still do this, might be slower at it, or need help with it but eventually it does get done!”
Focus on your strengths. Each day for a week, think about one of your personal strengths, like kindness, organization, discipline, or creativity. Write down how you plan to use that strength in new ways that day. Then, act on it. People in a study who did that boosted their happiness and lowered their symptoms of depression at the end of the week. Six months later, those benefits were still going strong.
With practice, you can add more positive thoughts to your life and enjoy the benefits that come with optimism.
These are just a very few things you can practice. In later posts, I’ll go into more detail about some other things you can do to practice positive thinking but I think this is a good start.
Do you do anything to practice positivity? Let me know!