Positive thinking is an effective mental strategy to mitigate the unpleasant impacts of stress on your physical and emotional health. Studies indicate that where you fall on a scale between total optimism and complete pessimism correlates strongly to a number of other key facets of your life. In fact, effective stress management has been proven to be closely associated with a number of tangible benefits to your health. This kind of positive mindset involves much more than simply ignoring the more difficult aspects of daily challenges or willfully refusing to acknowledge when life is unpleasant. Instead, reconsider your definition of positive thinking and understand that it involves engaging with these unpleasant moments in a more productive manner. Insist on what you have the power to impact and trying to make the best happen, rather than allowing your dread of the worst that could transpire exhaust your capacity to think about the scenario at hand.
Fortunately, even for those of us who may currently be more comfortable seeing the proverbial glass as half empty rather than half full, many positive habits can be learned.
Talk to Yourself
Self-talk is an excellent way to build the right positive mental reflexes to appropriately respond to stressful situations as they arise. This constant stream of consciousness fills your head throughout the day, so take control of its tone and leverage it to your benefit. Some self-talk is based in reason and other aspects may be born from misunderstanding, fear, or nervousness. Be cognizant of your self-talk and whenever you notice the way in which you are thinking to yourself is less supportive or empowering than how you might encourage a loved one or friend in a situation similar to yours, make a change.
As technology and modern society become more deeply intertwined, it can be easy to observe that work and personal life are increasingly one and the same. The decreasing ability for many people to compartmentalize the various stressors in their lives may well compound individual issues and magnify what would otherwise be a small problem into an intimidatingly large source of unhappiness. As such, it is crucial to make time to clear your mind and focus on your own inner peace. The explosion in popularity of meditation and activities like yoga that is currently been happening parallel to the aforementioned tangling of work and personal life is probably not purely coincidental across the board. Habits like meditation teach valuable stress management skills like active breathing and staying present the moment, alleviating the unnecessary weight of worrying about difficulties that may or may not be coming down the line.
Feed Off Others
There is a relatively popular saying, which is that we are “the sum of the people with which we surround ourselves.” Such an adage is inherently problematic to a certain extent, and it is fair to acknowledge that. Not everyone is as easily influenced by their peers as others. However, humans are absolutely social creatures. As a result, we can very much metaphorically feed off the level of enthusiasm, energy, and different outlooks of the people with whom we spend time. Surround yourself with positive people you can trust and with whom you would be comfortable speaking when you find your negative thinking difficult to disrupt. A great conversation with the right person can very much put your problems into much better perspective.
Refuse to Play the Victim
One of the most important life skills to master is the ability to clearly, confidently, and comfortably recognize what you can and cannot control. This allows you to appropriately take responsibility for your own actions, while enabling your to avoid worrying about things which are not worth your concern since you cannot affect the outcome one way or another. You may be surprised at times with just how much you have the power to change. Always refuse to just let things happen to you. Asset-based thinking means approaching every situation focused on what you can improve and then spending your energy on doing exactly that, rather than expending it on worrying needlessly about what you cannot impact. Although victimhood is a comfy mindset since it absolves you of hard work, it simply is not the most productive or positive way to go about your life. Recognize your own potential and spring into action.
Don’t Forget to Smile
Something as simple as smiling can make a huge difference in your day-to-day activities! It is well documented that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown, but beyond that simple fact, it also has the potential to influence the way in which others interact with you. Even if the smile does not exactly reflect your current emotional state, the positive way in which others respond to your apparent happiness is very likely to turn your day around. Before you know it, that smile will be sincere!
Positivity Is Powerful
Modern research has linked positive thinking and the associated decreased stress levels to a number of incredible health benefits. These include increased life span, lower rates of depression, reduced risk from cardiovascular disease, a greater resistance to illness like the common cold, and better coping skills during hardship. Embrace a better lifestyle by taking the first steps to change the way in which you think about your life. One day, you are sure to be positively ecstatic that you did.