The Powerful Effects of Positive Thinking - Six Powerful Ways to Go from Glass Half Empty to Glass Half Full

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The Powerful Effects of Positive Thinking - Six Powerful Ways to Go from Glass Half Empty to Glass Half Full

By Autumn Grey

Experts have been promoting the virtues of positive thinking for many years with regards to increased longevity, better health, and even lower rates of depression, but can positive thinking really be as powerful as they say or is it just modern-day fluff? Turns out that, yes, thinking positively as a whole can actually influence your health according to leading medical experts. 

Fundamentally, positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good in a situation rather than dwelling on the negative. For instance, instead of sitting in traffic and dwelling on how awful it may be, positive thinking redirects the negatives of sitting in traffic into the positives, such as having more time with your thoughts or just getting the chance to chill out listening to your favorite music, podcast or audiobook. According to the Mayo Clinic, research has shown that redirecting your negative thinking can not only help reduce stress and increase happiness, but also improve your physical health by becoming more resistant to illnesses and reducing the risk factors of cancer, stroke, infections and respiratory conditions.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But if you're a lifelong glass if half-empty kind of person, this can all seem extremely daunting. Don’t fret just yet! It may take some time but even the most negative person can slowly change their line of thinking if given enough practice and patience. 

If you’re struggling to think positively, here are several steps you can take to help shift your mindset:

 

  1. Identify Negative Thought Patterns: The first step in training your brain into thinking more positively is to become aware of your negative thoughts. It's important to pay attention to the times when you are thinking negatively and try to identify the triggers that lead to those thoughts. 
  2. Challenge Those Negative Thoughts: Once you’ve identified those pesky negative thoughts, challenge them! Ask yourself if they’re really true or if there is another, more positive way to look at the situation. Going back to the traffic example - are you really stuck in traffic or is traffic stuck with you kind of thinking? Once you've channeled your inner Rorschach (Watchmen fans, anyone?), then you can begin to slowly upend the downwards thinking you've been trapped with.  
  3. Focus on the Positive: It seems almost disgustingly simple advice, but instead of dwelling on the negative of a situation, trying to locate even one single positive can mean a monumental leap forward in learning how to think more optimistically. Look for the silver lining, as they say, and try to find something to be grateful for.
  4. Practice Gratitude (Even If It Seems Difficult): One of the best ways to cultivate a positive mindset is to practice gratitude daily. Taking time each day to think about the things you are grateful for can really help foster a more positive attitude, even if it seems monumental trying to come up with things to feel grateful for. Sometimes it can be the people in our lives, sometimes it can even be past memories or experiences, but finding something, anything at all, to jot down and say "I'm really grateful for this" really can improve your mindset over the long term.
  5. Surround Yourself with Positivity: Surrounding yourself with positive people and things can help cultivate a more optimistic mindset. Spend time with friends who uplift you, listen to positive music, or watch uplifting movies or TV shows - whatever helps improve your mood will help your overall frame of mind.
  6. Practice Resiliency: According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, studies have shown that resiliency, or the way we adapt to stressful and/or negative situations and losses can have a profound impact on our overall outlook on life. Being able to accept change, for starters, was a key component of building resiliency, as well as cultivating and maintaining good relationships with friends and family and taking action against problems as they cropped up and not burying your head in the sand, hoping they’d go away.

 

Overall, the effects of positive thinking can be profound. The research alone speaks volumes to the fact that people who think positively are less likely to experience negative health effects and are more likely to have better relationships. It can be difficult to see the bright side in many situations, however if you’re endeavoring to think more positively, give the above steps a try and, with a little practice, you too can begin to alter your negative thinking into a more positive future.

 

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