Power of Positive thinking

Power of Positive thinking

According to Deepak Chopra (2022) positive thinking not only contributes to positive affect, happiness and success, but it can enhance brain power and reduce the effects of negative stress on the immune system.  Granted, in our current socio-econmic climate thinking positively can be quite the challenge, but it is not impossible. I guess you can call me an optimist.

Let us talk about how you can make positive thinking an everyday practice.

What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking does not mean you lose sight of realism or what may be practical in any given situation. Positive thinking is simply the mental filter you use to process information, make decisions and assess everyday life matters. It’s thinking of the best outcomes in a given situation rather than the worst.

The first step toward positive thinking begins with assessing your internal dialogue. That is, the self-talk you engage in every day. Mindfulness is important at this stage, where it is important that you center your awareness on the present moment, that is maintaining a present focus, not a future focus or past focus, which can be easier said than done. The next is to challenge any negative thinking or counter it with a positive or practical thought. If you are truly being practical, you may not have a thought, you simply may not know. To assist with this process it’s important to know the difference between negative thinking and positive thinking.

Negative thinking

  • filtering out and skipping all the positive possible scenarios in a situation.
  • blaming yourself for the negative things you encounter
  • Anticipating the worst or relying on the “worse case scenario”
  • Thinking of all the what if’s and should’s
  • Over-exaggerating the circumstances of the situation
  • Making negative assumptions in the absence of information
  • Seeing things as black and white and never grey, or maintaining an all-or-nothing stance

These thinking patterns are also referred to as cognitive distortions, which can increase symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Switch to positive thinking

Turning negative thinking into positive thinking can be challenging, especially if it is not your usual pattern of thinking. But like most habits, it can easily be achieved through practice and time.

Here are a few strategies to aid in promoting positive thinking which are based on principles that are rooted in positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy.

  1. Identification: The first step is identifying or becoming aware of your negative thinking patterns. Awareness is key to targeting the pattern of thinking shaping your mental filter and influencing your outlook.
  2. Evaluation: A lot of the thinking that you do occurs almost subconsciously, or as a reflex reaction to information received. Mindfulness strategies are key at this stage, where you are encouraged to maintain a present focus, by grounding yourself in the moment – stopping to reflect on the information you have, choosing not to add to the story, taking a deep breath, and inserting hopeful optimism, which can be in the form of a mantra, “everything will be good,” or, “let go and let God.”
  3. Laugh: Finding humor in everyday nuances not only shifts your perspective, but your overall mood. Take a moment and give yourself time to laugh and smile throughout the day.
  4. Have positive company: One of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with positive people, or individuals who focus more on positive or healthy aspects of life rather than the negative.

Some researchers have found links between positive thinking and the following health benefits…

  • Increased life span
  • Lowe rates of depression/anxiety/suicide
  • Better resistance to illnesses
  • Better coping with stress
  • Better heart health
  • And much more…

Wrap up

The power of positive thinking extends beyond science. It is considered one of the most enriching lifestyles that we have yet to fully explore.  Consider practicing the above strategies to see if the power of positivity will work best for you!

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