Positive thinking is more than just a state-of-mind or about thinking positively. It's bigger than that. The benefits of positive thinking promote better health not only mentally but also emotionally and can affect how you view and respond to the world around you.
Despite what you hear people say, there’s a lot more to positive thinking than just looking at the glass as half-full instead of half empty! It can be a real state of mind. Positive thinking strategies can help cover the way you look at your life and the way you look on to the future. The power of positive thinking can help you figure out the best way to deal with any situation the world throws your way.
It’s definitely not just woo-woo, either – science has proven that positive thinking not only has emotional benefits but medical benefits too.
A 2003 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin revealed negative thinking caused patients to have a weaker response to the flu vaccine. But test subjects with positive thoughts had better immune responses, meaning that they were less likely to fall ill – and when they did catch a cold or flu, they had less severe symptoms.
In the article 'Power of Positive Thinking May Have a Health Benefit, Study Says', published by The New York Times, studies show that positive thinking can also help towards decreased stress levels, fewer incidences of depression, a longer lifespan, improved coping skills, less risk of heart-related death–and a better sense of overall well-being.
If this all sounds good to you, below we look at several effective strategies you can adopt to help get you on the path of positive thinking and to live a more healthier life.
Positive Thinking Strategies
1. MeditationContrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t just something to do at the end of a yoga class. Though sometimes it might be. The practice actually has been proven to have a major effect on levels of happiness. A 2008 study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that participants who took part in one-hour sessions of "loving-kindness meditation" each week reported improvements in their daily experiences of positive emotions and interactions with others. Loving-kindness meditation involves quiet sitting, deep breathing and a focus on thoughts of caring and warmth for yourself and others. Positive thoughts!
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are also great ways to promote a better mood and keep you working towards achieving a constant state of optimism. So why not give it a go? Daily or weekly meditation can become part of an overall healthy lifestyle that leads to more positive thoughts about your life. All you need to do is set aside time during your week, perhaps before breakfast, to focus on positive thoughts.
2. Imagining Your Best Future SelfPositive thinking is more than just the here and now. There’s evidence that focusing on the future and on the ways that you want to realize your best future self can make a strong impact on your self-esteem levels.
During a 2013 study published in the Journal of Genetic Psychology, researchers found that school-age children who pictured themselves in the future as happy and doing work they liked showed greater gains in self-esteem than the control group.
If you’re not sure how to get things started, visualizing exactly what you want to eventually happen or writing a regular journal entry detailing how you see your future are great ways to start thinking positively about the future.
Whatever method works for the way that you work best, go with it!
Encourage yourself as you strive to reach your personal goals, and never run yourself down for your efforts. As Robert F. Kennedy once said;
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.So give it a go, imagine your best future self and dare to pursue your dreams.
3. Banish the NegativeAn excellent way to embrace the power of positive thinking is to become more conscious of your own thoughts and feelings. You’ll have to make an effort to tell yourself firmly to stop letting negative thoughts get through the cracks. Switch off any internal criticisms you may have going on and get back to embracing your positive thoughts about yourself and the best parts of your current and future life.
The negativity trap is super easy to fall into and you may find yourself complaining about everything from the weather to the inconvenience of being born in the first place. Not a good habit to get into. Instead, put a positive spin on everything you encounter in your day-to-day life, including the stormy weather and the neighbor that stops to talk when you’re running late for school or work.
Learn to accept that mistakes and bad luck can and will happen from time to time. It’s something we all must face. Remember, you have a choice. When mistakes or "bad luck" happens you can either choose to think either positive or negative about it.
Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.The reality is many things are out of your control. Therefore it's important to come to terms with the fact that there’s no changing the unchangeable. In the areas of your life that can be changed, take small steps to adjust how you think about them.
— Zig Ziglar
For instance, you might find yourself always thinking negatively about your job, friends or relationships. When these thoughts creep in, focus on approaching problem areas in your life in a positive manner. With time, you’ll find your attitude shift and the world around you change.
4. Reconsider Your Inner CircleYou may have had the same group of friends for years. If this is the case, chances are, some may be doing more harm than good in your life. It’s true that you are ultimately responsible for your own feelings. Friends who are toxic can be damaging to your self-esteem. Or, hold you back from reaching your full potential.
You can decide how the words of others will affect you. But, there’s no sense in keeping friends with someone who is more interested in cutting you down than building you up. Make it a must to be around optimistic people. Others who care about you. Who see the world the way you do. And will make you want to revel in your achievements alongside your friends.
5. Celebrate AccomplishmentsDon’t let small successes pass you by without taking note. Take the time at the end of each day to reflect on achievements. And don't be afraid of giving yourself an inner pep talk.Start your day in the same way by focusing on positive things. Starting out with optimism should rub off not only on you but, also on those around you too.
Feeling overwhelmed by negativity? Take a sheet of paper and make a list of all of the things you have achieved. Regardless of how big or small. Keep the list around to add to. Use it, from time to time to reflect on all the good things. Achievements you've accomplished so far in your life. Don’t be shy about building yourself up. There’s definitely no shame in taking the time to give yourself a confidence boost on a regular basis.
See also: Inspirational Women Who Changed the World with Their Words.
These strategies may sound easy to apply to your life. But, changing your way of thinking does take time and practice. Optimism isn’t something you can suddenly develop overnight. Rather you’ll likely find your frequent negative will be replaced with more uplifting, positive thoughts over time.