How can positive thinking improve your life?
Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of thinker? The answer you choose can make a difference in the quality and length of your life.
Seeing the glass as half-full means you tend to have a more positive outlook, and positive thinking can enable you to live a better life than average. That’s because a sunny outlook can improve your life in many small ways.
For example, being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that a difficult period will eventually end can help get you through a rough day, week or year.
Here are some other ways positive thinking can improve your life.
It Can Reduce Stress
When you’re in a stressful situation, your gut reaction can be one of either optimism or pessimism. By definition, if you’re optimistic, you have hope and confidence about the successful outcome of the situation, whereas if you’re pessimistic, you have a tendency to believe that the worst will happen.
Worrying is a form of negative thinking. That kind of thinking and lack of hope can lead to unnecessary stress. And the more you worry, the more stress you place on yourself. Switching your attitude and eliminating negative thoughts can minimize stress. If you can feel confident that things will be fine and if you can feel more positive about a situation, then you will feel less stress.
“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it.” – Dalai Lama
It Can Decrease Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Similarly, positive thinking can lower signs of anxiety and depression. When you feel anxious, you feel worried, nervous, or uneasy and when you feel depressed, you have feelings of dejection, sadness, or despondency.
Turning off the negative thoughts going through your head and replacing them with positive talk can leave you feeling safe and less worried.
“Don’t worry, be happy.” – Bobby McFerrin
It Can Boost Your Immune System
Thinking positively not only offers you a mental boost it also gives you physical benefits as well. Researchers have shown that happiness can boost your immune system.
If you’re in a stressful situation, thinking optimistically can boost the cell-mediated immune response in your body, whereas thinking pessimistically can weaken your immune system.
“The most powerful force to maintaining a good immune system is the power of positive thinking and not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily drained emotionally by worries and fears.” – Frederick Lenz
It Can Prolong Your Life
Negative emotions are natural, but if prolonged, your risk for developing disease can increase.
Looking at the effects of negative thoughts on your immune system again, you can see that a weakened immune system can raise your susceptibility to contracting an infection which can lead to illness.
Also, a study in the Women’s Health Initiative showed a link between optimism and health. Optimistic people tend to engage in positive health behaviors such as staying active, avoiding smoking and following their medical advice. Living this way can lead to a lower mortality rate.
“I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.” – Voltaire
It Can Attract Other Positive Thinkers
No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer for too long. If you’re typically a happy and optimistic person, others with a similar disposition can find that attractive.
And keeping Negative Nellies out of your life can help prevent others from bringing you down.
“Like a magnet, we draw in what we constantly think about. If you’re always thinking positive, happy, joyful thoughts, you’re going to be a positive, happy, joyful person, and you will attract other happy, upbeat, positive people.” – Unknown
Although thinking positively has benefits, it’s also important to avoid venturing into toxic positivity. Being intentional about positive thinking is not about pretending that everything is ok when it isn’t.
I heard a pastor at our church say something that has really stuck with me: It’s ok to not be ok. So while we’re shifting our thoughts and not focusing on the negative, we still want to acknowledge our challenges, pains, and disappointments.
So now that you know some of the ways positive thinking can improve your life, do you see the glass as half-full or half-empty? Or, do you at least understand how changing the way you see things could benefit you in multiple ways?
Let me know in the comments.