What is positive thinking?
Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that focuses on the good and anticipates happiness, health and success. Essentially, positive thinking is training yourself to adopt an abundance mindset, cultivate gratitude and focus on the good in any given situation.
“Keep my words positive. Words become my behaviours.
Keep my behaviours positive. Behaviours become my habits. Keep my habits positive. Habits become my values. Keep my values positive. Values become my destiny.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Your thoughts affect your actions. Your actions, in turn, translate into whether or not you succeed, as well as influence the quality of your personal relationships and how you view the world at large. The power of positive thinking can’t be underestimated.
Why is it important?
Studies have shown that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and wellbeing. The positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a vital part of effective stress management and effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don't despair — you can learn positive thinking skills.
So how do we achieve it?
Studies have shown that people who smiled (or even fake-smiled) while doing a stressful task felt more positive afterwards than those who wore a neutral expression. You’ll benefit more if the smile is genuine, though. So find the humour in situations and spend time with people or things that make you laugh.
Reframe your situation
When something bad happens that’s out of your control, instead of getting upset, try to appreciate the good aspects of the situation. For example, instead of stressing about a traffic jam, recall how convenient it is to have a car. Use the time that you’re stuck behind the wheel to listen to music or a podcast that you enjoy.
Keep a gratitude journal
When you sit down each day or week to write down the things that you are thankful for, you are forced to pay attention to the good in your life. Think in detail about a bright vision for your future - career, relationships, health, hobbies - and write it down. When you imagine your life going well in the future, research suggests, you’ll be happier in the now.
Focus on your strengths
Each day for a week, think about one of your personal strengths. Write down how you plan to use that strength in new ways that day. Then, act on it.
Keeping your mind positive is a series of actions that you take every day. It doesn’t always come easily, but experiencing the power of positive thinking in your life is worth it. Add more positive thoughts to your life and enjoy the benefits that come with optimism!
“In order to carry a positive action, we must develop here a positive vision.” – Dalai Lama