Whatever your ambition or current situation, you can improve your life with positive thinking. Positive thinking is an important skill to develop to help you manage your stress levels and improve your overall health. Negative self-talk can reduce your ability to think your way out of difficult situations and can hold back your personal development.
How positive thinking can improve your health
The difference between an optimistic and pessimistic outlook on life can affect the choices available to you. These differing personality traits have also been shown to affect your health and wellbeing.
Stress management is an essential part of improving your overall health. Since positive thinking can help reduce stress levels, using positive self-talk can help keep you healthy.
People who have an optimistic outlook on life generally make healthier lifestyle choices. People who think positive usually follow a healthy diet, drink less alcohol and don’t smoke.
The benefits of positive thinking include:
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of stress
- Better physical and psychological well-being
- Better at coping during stressful times
- Greater resistance to common colds
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased life span
These combined effects of positive thinking can help you live longer and healthier.
Click one of the books below to discover the best ideas for developing positive thinking.
Negative thinking vs positive thinking
What is negative thinking?
People who think in negative self-talk often find situations more stressful and are unable to develop useful solutions to confronting a problem.
The following types of thinking indicate negative self-talk:
- Focusing on the few bad things which happen while filtering out the positive ones
- Blaming yourself for bad things happening or the actions of others
- Assuming that the worst is going to happen
Categorising everything as either good or bad.
Believing that if something does not turn out perfect, it is a complete failure.
The Dangers of Negative thinking
Negative thinking is the dwelling on emotions such as fear, stress or anger. When you experience these emotions your body is naturally programmed to react in a specific way.
Our natural response to negative emotions has evolved into the ‘fight or flight’ reaction. ‘Fight or flight’ is a beneficial response to extreme situations. The development of ‘fight or flight’ has helped the human race to avoid being devoured by predators and natural disasters.
When we experience ‘fight or flight’ we shut out all other thought processes except for those that will help us to escape and survive. You may become compelled to run from, shout at or attack an enemy that has bad intentions toward you.
This thinking process has its obvious benefits in times of danger, but it will limit your ability to produce creative thoughts during non-confrontational times. It is for this reason that people who are consumed by negative thinking do not find it easy to function.
Negative emotions prevent you from seeing the options available in the world around you. Your vision becomes limited and your aspirations do not develop healthily. When you begin to think about a negative thought, you will become paralysed in the ability to think about anything else.
What is positive thinking?
Positive thinking is a method used by people to help manage difficult situations and overcome barriers in their lives. Positive thinking does not mean that you ignore unpleasant events and pretend that they are not there.
Remaining positive throughout stressful situations can help you find a solution to overcoming a particular problem.
How positive thinking affects you
Positive emotions have been shown to affect the brain in ways that can improve your outlook to life.
Experiments which compare people who have been exposed to positive imagery preform better in creative thinking tests than people exposed to neutral or negative images.
The people exposed to negative images saw less possibilities available when asked to think creatively. Negative thinking limits your ability to imagine ways to improve your situation and expand your life choices.
Positive thinking broadens your sense of possibilities. You can imagine more options open to you and decide to explore new ideas. For this reason, people who think positively can expand their skill set, discover opportunities and make choices to improve their lives.
How to improve your life with positive thinking
Positive thinking is a term which many people relate to showing an upbeat attitude and appearing generally happy. Positive thinking can actually go deeper than portraying a cheerful disposition. Thinking positive thoughts can actually add value to your life and improve your skills for increased opportunities.
Psychologists have found that the art of positive thinking can improve all aspects of your life. The impact of positive thinking is believed to improve your health, relationships, skills and performance at work.
Read this study on positive thinking by Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina.
By developing a habit of positive thinking, you can enjoy the benefits that it can bring. Positive thinking allows you to develop social skills, athletic skills and broaden your ability to think through problems.
When you think positive you are more attractive as an employee, will develop longer lasting relationships and feel more satisfied with the achievements within your own life.
Turning negative thinking into positive thinking
With practice, you cat transform the habit of negative thinking into a habit of positive thinking.
Improving your ability to think positive is learning how to change the way that you think. You are changing the habit of a lifetime which means that this is not an easy task.
You can use the following tips to improve the way that you think:
Learn positive self-talk
When talking with yourself be encouraging and gentle. Don’t say anything to yourself which you would not say to anyone else. If you find a negative thought entering your mind, find a way to rationally respond to it. Over power the negative thought with affirming the points which are good about yourself.
Find areas in your life which you need to improve.
You can start by focusing on small areas that you wish to change. This means identifying areas in life which usually cause you to think in a negative way. Once you know where you want to make improvements, you can begin to work on approaching these subjects in a more positive way.
Keep a sense of humour
Laughter can help reduce your stress levels. If you are able to find a way to laugh at a situation, it can reduce the negative impact of it.
Find a positive social group
Surrounding yourself by people with a positive outlook on life can help you to stay positive. Positive friends can provide support and advice to help you keep in a good frame of mind. If you have a lot of negative people around you, it can increase your levels of stress.
Negative people will only reinforce your doubts and increase your perception of a negative outlook.
Be aware of your thinking process.
Keep assessing your current state of mind throughout the day. If you notice that you have begun to think in a negative way, try to approach the same thought in a positive way.
Exercise has been proven to improve your mood and reduce stress. A healthy diet and regular exercise can improve your ability to think positive.
Transforming negative self-talk into positive thinking
If you think: This is something that i have no experience with…
Change it to: This is a great opportunity to learn a new skill…
If you think: This is far too complicated for me to attempt…
Change it to: Maybe there is a new way of approaching this problem…
If you think: I am not currently in a position to undertake this…
Change it to: Necessity is the mother of invention…
If you think: I am too lazy to do this
Change it to: This may not fit into my current schedule, but there may be a way to reorganise my tasks…
If you think: This will never work..
Change it to: I will try and find a way to make this work…
If you think: I don’t feel comfortable making such a radical change..
Change it to: I may take a chance on this and see how it works out..
If you think: Nobody is wants to communicate with me…
Change it to: I will make the effort to begin communication…
If you think: I will never get any better at this…
Change it to: If I persevere and try again I may get it right…
Creating an optimistic outlook
It may be difficult to transform your thinking from pessimistic to optimistic. It is a big task so do not expect radical changes in a short time.
Begin by practicing to talk to yourself in a positive way. When talking to yourself, refrain from self-criticism and practice more self-acceptance.
Once you have transformed your way of thinking about yourself into a positive process of self-affirmation, you can begin to change the bigger problems in your life.
Optimistic thinking can offer you the ability to deal with any difficult situations that come your way clearly and in a constructive manner. By remaining positive, you can reduce stress, improve your health and find more options available to you.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter