The power of positive thinking and why you should try it

Is your glass half-full or half-empty? How you answer this question about positive thinking says a lot about yourself and the way you view the world. If you’re ready to walk on the brighter side of life, all you need to do is change your attitude. Here’s how to do it.

Learning to look on the bright side

Is your glass half-full or half-empty? How you answer this question about positive thinking says a lot about yourself and the way you view the world. If you’re ready to walk on the brighter side of life, all you need to do is change your attitude. Here’s how to do it.

What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking is a fancy term for optimism: the tendency to believe, expect, or hope that things will be okay. An optimist always looks for the best in any situation and expects great things from their life. When something bad happens, an optimist sees the silver lining. They can’t help but see the bright side of things.

Check out how to recognise and correct negative thinking >>

The benefits of looking on the bright side

Having a positive outlook on life not only makes it much more enjoyable, but it also boosts your mental and physical health. Research has shown that optimists live longer than pessimists, and really, it’s no surprise — with all that positive energy flowing through them, it’s no wonder that they’re in better shape.

Some of the perks of positive thinking include:

  • Longer lifespan
  • Reduced chance of depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Stronger immune system
  • Better psychological wellbeing
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping mechanism

How to think positive

Are you ready to make positive thinking a way of life? The good news is, positive thinking is a skill that can be learnt. Becoming an optimist comes down to the way you talk to yourself. “Self talk” is that endless stream of thoughts that run through your head every day. If you want to be a positive thinker, you need to learn to be kinder to yourself.

1

Be a spin doctor

Many people are experts at putting themselves down, and if you’re one of them, that has to change. It’s time to practise positive self talk, and here’s the golden rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Rather than beating yourself up about everything, be gentle and encouraging. Most of all, when negative thoughts enter your mind, put a positive twist on them. For example, if you’re going through a change, don’t think, “this is too hard” or “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Instead, think “this is a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone” or “this is going to be challenging, but it will make me a stronger person.”

2

Surround yourself with positive people

Negativity is contagious, so distance yourself from people who stress you out and suck the energy out of you. They’re toxic and will only bring you down. Spend time with people who are happy, supportive and helpful, and who understand that you are trying to change your way of thinking. It’s also a great idea to hang out with people who you admire, such as a mentor. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so be with people who make you happy!

Check out how to boost your self confidence in four easy steps >>

3

Don’t dwell

If you lose your job, get kicked out of your rental home, or have a fight with a partner, don’t dwell on the experience. Instead, analyse it and figure out what good can come of it. Ask yourself: What did I learn from this? How can I avoid making the same mistake? What can I do to make it better? If you figure out that you did something wrong, forgive yourself and go about fixing the situation. If something happens that’s out of your control, get some perspective and learn to not blame yourself.

4

Identify problem areas

If you’re really keen on becoming more optimistic, identify the areas in your life that you tend to think negatively about. Does your job bore you? Is your relationship making you unhappy? Whatever it is that’s making you less-than-thrilled, focus on that one area and try approaching it in a positive way. Once you’ve sorted it out, you can move on to the next area. Baby steps!

5

Follow a healthy lifestyle

A healthy body leads to a healthy, happy mind. To improve your mood and reduce stress levels, exercise three to four times a week. To give your body the fuel it needs to “vibrate at a high frequency“, load up on nutrient-rich foods.

6

And finally…

Laugh and smile as much as you can! Humour fuels happiness and a smile can brighten up someone else’s day. Try it!

More positive thinking

7 Steps to a positive body image
Personal mantras are the key to a new you
A girl’s guide to starting over

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