Power of Positive Thinking

Photo credit: Bethany Carlson

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Positive thinking is an energy source that is not tangible, but its benefits cannot be denied. It has the power to transform lives. Great achievements and successes throughout history can be directly attributed to the power of positive thinking.

Here are three compelling reasons to adopt positive thinking practices:

  1. Positive thinking and attitudes are contagious and favorably impact your surroundings We’ve all had that grumpy, pessimistic co-worker or friend that seems to carry a storm cloud of negative energy with him or her every day. Being around someone like that will often bring you down as well. Similarly, positive thinking is also contagious but in a good way. If you look at things with a positive attitude, you create a more upbeat aura. You carry around “good weather” with you. Don’t you owe it to your loved ones to think positively?
  2. Positive thinking helps you solve your problems We all have problems from time to time. The magnitude of the problem or issue is often what we make of it. Positive thinking practiced often will enable you to become more solution oriented. Instead of wasting energy in the form of disempowering negative thoughts and attitude, positive thinking keeps your mind flexible and open to creative solutions. In fact, what might be an unpleasant problem to one person would be a fun challenge to a positive thinker.
  3. Positive thinking correlates to a happier, healthier life People who have positive attitudes are generally happier in life and have better stress coping strategies. It is important to realize that happy people do not have everything. However, they tend to make the most of what they have in their lives. This does not mean you need to stop striving for whatever goal you wish to achieve. It just means that you must learn think positively and appreciate and enjoy what you have while you are in pursuit of your goals. In addition, positive thinking also has physiological benefits as well. In one study by Suzanne Segerstrom, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Kentucky, positive thinking was shown to support subjects’ immune systems in stressful situations.

Despite the myriad benefits that positive thinking provides, some people will tell you that positive thinking is overrated and is nothing more that pop psychology. Here are two frequently espoused myths and why we (and why you should also) reject them.

  • Myth #1: Positive thinking doesn’t change reality It DOES. Often, reality is a matter of perception, meaning it is not absolute. Two examples are being fired from a job and having someone dump you. Surely, someone experiencing either of these events would be stressed out and/or sad. It is healthy and normal to experience frustration, stress, and sadness. However, allow yourself only a set period time to indulge yourself in these emotions. Limit your self-wallowing response and be prepared to respond to the negative event. With positive thinking and action, you can turn an otherwise negative event into something positive (e.g. getting a more rewarding job; finding someone that gives you a greater sense of fulfillment in a relationship that you didn’t even think existed).
  • Myth #2: Positive thinking won’t get the job done It is true that positive thinking ALONE will not accomplish everything, but without the right attitude and a belief that an obstacle can be overcome or a problem solved, then unsuccessful initial efforts may resulting in quitting. For instance, achieving a long-term goal such as sculpting a healthy physique can be derailed without positive thinking. There may be setbacks during the process, or results might be slow in arriving. Positive thinking will bolster your determination and allow you to continue to exert the necessary effort to achieve your desired result. Think of positive thinking as the fuel that powers the car called perseverance.

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