Positive thinking helps manage stress and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk using the following examples.
Is your glass half empty or half full? The answer to this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your view of:
– the life,
– your attitude towards yourself
– the tendency to optimism or pessimism
But above all, it can affect your health!
Indeed, some studies show that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that usually accompanies optimism is a key component of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with numerous health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don’t despair. You can learn positive thinking skills.
- 1 Understanding positive thinking and dialogue with oneself
- 2 The health benefits of positive thinking
- 3 Identifying Negative Thoughts: These Self-Sanitizing Strategies
- 4 Focus on positive thinking: how to do it
- 5 Practice positive thinking every day
Understanding positive thinking and dialogue with oneself
Positive thinking doesn’t mean keeping your head in the sand and ignoring life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking simply means that you approach unpleasant situations in a more positive and productive way. You think the best will happen, not the worst.
Positive thinking often begins with a dialogue with oneself. The inner dialogue is an uninterrupted stream of unspoken thoughts going through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Part of your inner dialogue comes from logic and reason. Others may come from misconceptions that you create from lack of information.
If the thoughts going through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is probably more pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re probably an optimist, that is, someone who practices positive thinking.
The health benefits of positive thinking
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Some of the health benefits that positive thinking can bring include:
– Increased lifespan
– Lower rates of depression
– Lower distress levels
– Greater resistance to cold
– Improved psychological and physical well-being
– Improved cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
– A better ability to adapt to difficulties and periods of stress
It is unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive attitude allows you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful effects of stress on your health. It is also believed that positive and optimistic people tend to have a healthier lifestyle: they are more physically active, follow a healthier diet and do not smoke or drink alcohol in excess.
Identifying Negative Thoughts: These Self-Sanitizing Strategies
Not sure if your speech is positive or negative? Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:
You amplify the negative aspects of a situation and you filter out all the positive aspects. For example, you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were praised for doing a quick and thorough job. That night, you just focus on your plan to do even more tasks and you forget about the compliments you received.
When something bad happens, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that a night out with friends is canceled and you assume the change in plans is because no one wanted to be near you.
You automatically anticipate the worst. You spill your morning coffee and automatically think the rest of your day will be a disaster.
You only see things for good or for bad. There is no middle ground. You think you have to be perfect or you’re a total failure.
Focus on positive thinking: how to do it
You can learn to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts. The process is simple, but it takes time and practice. You are creating a new habit, after all.
Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:
– Identify areas for change
If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, start by identifying the areas of your life that you usually think about negatively. Whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship. You can start by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
– Check yourself
Periodically throughout the day, stop and assess what you are thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mostly negative, try to find a way to give them a positive spin.
– Be open to humor
Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially in difficult times. Look for humor in everyday events. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
– Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes most days of the week. You can also break up into 10-minute increments throughout the day. Exercise can have a positive effect on mood and reduce stress. Eat a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.
– Surround yourself with positive people
Make sure the people in your life are positive people. That they support you and that you can count on to give you useful advice and feedback. Negative people can raise your stress levels and make you doubt your ability to handle stress in a healthy way.
– Practice a positive inner dialogue.
Start by following a simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought crosses your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations about what’s good about you. Think about the things you are grateful for in your life.
Practice positive thinking every day
If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, your self-talk will eventually contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You might also become less critical of the world around you. When your mindset is generally optimistic, you are better able to handle daily stress in a more constructive way. This ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.