I wish I had known the benefits of positive thinking a long time ago, or even known that there was such a thing. I’d always thought that whatever went through your mind had to be the truth and there wasn’t much you could do to change it..
So growing up, I wasn’t a very positive person. Good things never happened to me, and always seemed to happen to everything else. I wasn’t lucky and I came to accept that things just weren’t going to happen for me.
In High School I always felt different from everyone, and never felt like I belonged. So I didn’t try. I stayed at a job I didn’t like because I felt it was all I was worth and I couldn’t do any better.
It was after I found out that I had anxiety that a lot of things made sense and I began to reassess the way I looked at things.
In particular, the negative thoughts that I was thinking, or even the negative thoughts that I thought everyone else was thinking.
The negative thoughts were exhausting and draining.
When I began to look at things in a more positive light, I noticed a huge improvement.
My anxiety lessened and I was able to gain more control over it, not letting it control me. I had more confidence to leave the job that had made me feel stifled and miserable and I was happier and my overall health was better.
So what is positive thinking?
Positive thinking starts with self-talk and the kinds of things you tell yourself. They can be positive or negative. Some of it comes from reason or logic. But some can come from a lack of understanding, not enough information or from insecurities. In my case, anxiety.
Positive thinking means you look at things in a more positive and productive way, instead of assuming the worst. Don’t think that the worst things will happen. Think that the best things will.
The way you see the world is more likely to be pessimistic if you have negative thoughts running through your head. If your thoughts are more positive you are more optimistic.
Positive thinkers cope better with life. Rather than dwelling on the things that go wrong or the things they can’t change, they think of ways around it. Another plan of attack, asking for help or whatever it takes. Pessimists might assume everything is out of their control and nothing they do can change it, so they don’t bother.
We limit our lives immensely if we give our negative thoughts too much power. It becomes our inner voice and the way we view everything. We learn to believe it, and think that’s all we are worth. Like we can’t do or be any better.
Why bother trying, right? You’re just going to fail anyway.
Already with that mindset, you have set yourself up for failure. Even if you do try, you probably won’t give it your all.
In life, we have to fight for what we want. A negative attitude has already sucked all that away.
Finding the positivity more often can make a huge difference to your life.
There are many benefits of positive thinking. They include
Lower rates of stress
Lower rates of depression
Increased life span
Better immune system
Better general well being
So how can you find the power of positivity and reap the benefits of positive thinking?
Identify your negative thinking
Identifying your negative thinking is a great first step. If you find yourself fixated on all the bad things that happen, all the good things go unnoticed. Don’t feel as though just because something isn’t perfect that you have somehow failed. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Practice positive self -talk
Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be encouraging and push yourself, but don’t let those harmful thoughts enter. You can do it.
Understand that bad things happen
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that something has gone wrong, so now everything will. Brush it off, and keep going. Tomorrow is a new day to start again.
Surround yourself with positive people
Negative people can increase your stress levels and can make you feel bad about yourself, which is likely to have you adding to your own negative self-talk. How often does someone else’s negative views of you become the way you see yourself because you start to see it as the truth?
Try and see the positives, even when you are surrounded by negativity
It can be hard to see the good in things when you think everything is bad. Even something small can make a difference. When you focus on those good things you will begin to notice there is more than you thought, and those negatives start to fade a little because you are giving them less power to grow.
Substitute negative thoughts for positive ones
If a negative thought crops into your mind, follow it up with a positive one. Try not to let the negative thought fester in your mind for long.
Start by focusing on a small area
If you find negative thoughts cropping into your mind more often when it comes to a certain area of your life, focus on that first and think of what you can do to change it or make it better.
Let yourself laugh
Even if you don’t feel like it. Think of something funny, watch a comedy or whatever gives you a giggle. Laughter is a great mood booster and helps eliminate stresses. And it’s much easier to be positive when we aren’t as stressed.
Start the day on a positive note
When you wake up in the morning, think of at least five things you are grateful for.
Make a list of happy thoughts
Make a huge list of anything that makes you happy, or makes you smile. Maybe fond memories, fun things you like to do, or even the people who make life enjoyable.
Positive thinking can help with stress management, create happiness and relaxation and can improve your overall health.
When you become more aware of your negative thoughts and feelings, and spend a few days trying to turn them around, they will intrude on your mind less and less often. You should be able to concentrate more and more on what you want to do, without being stressed and at the mercy of your emotions. It should make you more productive and energetic.
When those negative thoughts are piling up and you feel like there’s no point to anything, think about all the things that are good in your life. The things you are grateful for. The things that make life worth living.
Some examples of negative thinking and how to turn it into positives
I’ve never done it before – Great! A chance to try something new.
It’s too hard – I’ll just have to keep trying, or try to see if another way works better.
I can’t do any better than this – I’ll keep practising and I’ll get there.
No one calls or wants to make plans with me – I’ll give them a call and organise something for when they’re not busy.
I can’t be bothered – It’s important, so I’ll reorganise a few things and get it done.
If we give our negative thoughts too much power, we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives.
We might never go after that job we wanted, and stay at one that makes us miserable.
We might never try anything new, because we don’t feel like we can.
We don’t take risks and get out of our comfort zones because it wouldn’t work anyway.
Those dreams that you once had become further and further away.
You watch others fulfilling their dreams and wonder why everything good happens to everyone else.
We need to get over that mindset that tells us that we are unimportant, or weak, or just not good enough.
It’s not easy. But nothing worth doing ever is.
Take it one step at a time and you will get there.
You can do it!
Have you reaped the benefits of positive thinking? How do you find the power of positivity?