Do you know any critics of positive thinking? Have you heard the argument that positive thinking is just a way of hiding from reality?
The question of whether or not positive thinking has any measurable benefits has interested science for a number of years. For the most part, studies are focused on identifying possible physical benefits.
As researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health, they have come to some interesting conclusions. Their results show that positive thinking benefits include:
* Decreased negative stress
* Greater resistance to catching the common cold
* A sense of well-being and improved health
* Reduced risk of coronary artery disease
* Easier breathing if you have certain lung diseases
* Better coping skills in difficult situations
Positive thinking people are HAPPIER
Pessimists are more inwardly focused and have more depression, anxiety and other mental health problems in general. Positive people have a greater capacity for love, joy and warmth that brings happiness into their lives, and also into the lives of their families and everyone else around them. This increased capacity for love means that they are loved more in return because they are more outwardly focused, kinder and more considerate to others.
Positive thinking people are HEALTHIER
It’s still somewhat unclear to researchers why people who practice positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. Hello, who wants less stress?
Positive thinking people are MORE SUCCESSFUL
To put it another way, successful people tend to think positively. Optimists are happier and more productive in their jobs, get promoted quicker and earn more than pessimists. These people set higher goals, persist at them longer, and achieve more of them.
Turning negative thinking into positive thinking
Self-talk has a huge influence on the overall direction of our thoughts. Negative self-talk is an easy habit to slip into, especially if you are surrounded by negative people. So, the first step toward a more positive mindset is to change the tone of our self-talk.
Like any other bad habit, before we can change it we need to become more consciously aware that we are doing it. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate the tone of your thinking and self-talk. If you find that they have been negative, work on finding ways to put a positive spin on them. Make a game out of it.
Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. If it’s not worth saying out loud, it’s probably not worthy of saying to yourself.
Here are some examples of typical negative self-talk and how you might put a more positive spin on these internal (or external) conversations.
|Negative self-talk||Positive spin|
|I’ve never done it before.||It’s an opportunity to learn something.|
|It’s too complicated.||I’ll tackle it from a different angle.|
|I don’t have the resources.||Necessity is the mother of invention.|
|There’s not enough time.||Let’s re-evaluate some priorities.|
|There’s no way it will work.||I can learn to make it work.|
|It’s too radical a change.||Let’s take a chance.|
|No one communicates with me.||I will start the conversation.|
|I’m not getting any better at this.||I want to give it another chance.|
Becoming an optimist
If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice and focus, you will automatically move away from self-criticism and toward self-acceptance. You will likely find yourself feeling less critical of the world around you as well.
Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. As your state of mind becomes increasingly more optimistic, you will be able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.
So, what do you think? Can positive thinking really improve your life? Well, let’s see; less stress, happier disposition, better health, and greater success – sounds pretty conclusive to me. How about you?
Is positive thinking something that you believe in?
Do you have some tips for maintaining a positive outlook?
The lines are open!