No doubt, we are living in challenging times. In recent months, even those “glass half full” optimists are struggling to stay positive. Although it’s easy to get caught up in all the negativity of the news and what’s going on in the world, staying positive can do more than just put you in a better mood. It turns out the benefits of positive thinking can actually have a profound impact on your health. Studies have shown that those with positive attitudes have higher energy levels, fewer colds/infections, lower rates of depression and live longer, just to name a few! In fact, a recent study found that those who were optimistic had a significantly lower risk of dying from several major causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, infection, respiratory diseases, and cancer (breast, ovarian, lung, and colorectal). But how do you stay positive when there is so much negativity around you? Like anything else worthwhile in life, positive thinking takes practice. But the more you practice, the easier and more effortless it becomes. Here are some tips on how to become a more positive thinker:
Start the day on a positive note: When you wake up, tell yourself it’s going to be a great day (or any other positive affirmation), listen to a happy and positive song/playlist to help set the tone for the day, and jot down a list of things you’re grateful for.
Focus on the good: Try to find the positive in every situation, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Although it may be a cliché, every cloud has a silver lining. It’s your job as a positive thinker to find it!
Be mindful: It’s hard to stay positive when you’re worried about the future. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present. By focusing your attention on the present moment, you learn to appreciate the here and now rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Spend time with positive people: Positivity (and negativity) are contagious. Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good.
Spread Kindness: Doing something kind for someone else, volunteering or even just giving someone a simple compliment can all help boost your mood.
Take care of YOU: Self-care not only helps our physical health but also just makes us feel better and increases our overall well-being. So, eat right, exercise, get a good night’s sleep and take your vitamins!
(1) Benefits of Thinking Positively, and How to Do It. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-think-positive
(2) Corliss, J. (2020, September 24). Staying positive during difficult times. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/staying-positive-during-difficult-times-2020100121047?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BF20201012-PosPsych&utm_id=2485607&dlv-emuid=b2a70e8a-c696-49cc-8ad3-3b29d8a0579e&dlv-mlid=2485607
(3) Kim, E. S., Hagan, K. A., Grodstein, F., DeMeo, D. L., De Vivo, I., & Kubzansky, L. D. (2017, January 04). Optimism and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/185/1/21/2631298