Can you learn how to think positive? You have probably heard a thing or two about the benefits of positive thinking. Research suggests that positive thinkers have better stress coping skills, stronger immunity, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. While it is not a health panacea, taking an optimistic view rather than ruminating on negative thoughts can benefit your overall mental well-being.
Here are four things you can do to think positive:
1. Avoid Negative Self-Talk
Self-talk involves the things you mentally tell yourself. Think of this as the inner voice inside your mind that analyzes how you perform and interact with the world around you. If your self-talk centers on negative thoughts, your self-esteem can suffer. When you start thinking critical thoughts about yourself, take a moment to pause and assess.
Elizabeth Scott, About.com’s stress management expert, has some great tips on how to turn negative self-talk into positive self-talk. She advises readers to start by noticing their thought patterns and then focus on changing these into more positive ones.
2. Try Humor
It can be tough to stay optimistic when there is little humor or lightheartedness in your life. Even when you are facing challenges, it is important to remain open to laughter and fun.
3. Cultivate Optimism
Learning to think positively is like strengthening a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it will become. Researchers believe that your explanatory style, or how you explain events, is linked to whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.
Optimists tend to have a positive explanatory style. If you attribute good things that happen to your skill and effort, then you are probably an optimist. Pessimists, on the other hand, usually have a negative attributional style. If you credit these good events to outside forces, then you likely have a more pessimistic way of thinking.
The same principles hold true for how you explain negative events. Optimists tend to view bad or unfortunate events as isolated incidents that are outside of their control while pessimists see such things as more common and often blame themselves.
Finally, do not be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family. When you start engaging in negative thinking, call a friend or family member who you can count on to offer positive encouragement and feedback. Remember that to think positively, you need to nurture yourself. Investing energy in things you enjoy and surrounding yourself with optimistic people are just two ways that you can encourage positive thinking in your life.
You are who you are.