Is your glass half empty or half full? How you answer this eternal question can reflect your outlook on life, how you feel about yourself, and even affect your health. And if you’re prone to pessimism, don’t despair—positive thinking skills can be learned.
WHAT IS POSITIVE THINKING
Positive thinking does not mean that you smile all the time, looking at the world through rose-colored glasses and ignoring difficult life situations. Positive thinking is the ability to resist discouragement and see the good in any situation. In other words, this is an optimistic view of things, the ability to see troubles from a positive point of view, sincerely believing that everything is for the best.
An optimist is a person who practices positive thinking, consciously or by will. Optimism or pessimism is formed from the beliefs that have shaped your personality, but with a certain persistence, you can consciously rebuild yourself to positive thinking.
BENEFITS OF POSITIVE THINKING
“The impact of positive thinking on mental and physical health is one of the most popular topics in psychological research. Scientists still do not understand what is primary and what is secondary, but it has been proven that optimistic thoughts are much more useful than dull ones,” explains an expert. “According to the basic theory, positive thinking helps you cope with difficult situations more successfully, reducing the harmful effects of stress on health.”
Among the advantages of positive thinking, experts name the following wellness bonuses:
- improvement of psychological and physical well-being;
- increase in life expectancy;
- resistance to diseases, in particular, colds;
- strengthening the cardiovascular system;
- increased pain threshold;
- resilience in overcoming stress and difficulties;
- unleashing creativity and clear thinking;
- good mood and reduced risk of depression.
It is also believed that positive and optimistic people feel better about themselves and therefore are prone to a healthy lifestyle: they like physical activity, adhere to proper nutrition, do not smoke and drink little.
WHERE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS COME FROM AND HOW TO FIGHT THEM
How to develop positive thinking: 7 rules of incorrigible optimists
The habit of negative thinking, as a rule, is formed in childhood, when parents teach the child to fear the consequences of their actions or use threats for educational purposes. “It is difficult to get rid of pessimistic attitudes, because they have grown and strengthened in your subconscious over the years, but it is still possible if you try,” the psychologist promises.
According to experts, the thoughts that make it difficult to look at life with optimism depend on the formats used by the brain to assess the situation.
Filtration. You exaggerate the negative aspects and weed out the positive ones. For example, you had a great day at work: you completed tasks ahead of time and received a compliment for doing everything quickly and thoroughly. However, instead of rejoicing from the bottom of your heart and pampering yourself with something pleasant, you are only concerned with how to complete even more tasks the next day so that the authorities do not think that you have relaxed from praise.
Personalization. When something bad happens, you blame yourself. For example, a new acquaintance asks to reschedule a date because of bad weather or illness, and you think it’s because he didn’t really like you.
Catastrophization. You always anticipate the worst. Let’s say they ordered a latte at a coffee shop, and they served you an Americano and, in addition, spilled it while they carried it. “Everything,” automatically flashes through your head. “A day down the drain.”
Polarization. You divide things into black and white, good and bad – shades of gray and averages do not exist for you. Therefore, it seems to you that there is one meaning in life – to be perfect, which you definitely cannot cope with.
If among the mentioned settings you have identified those that regularly spoil your mood, try changing the approach to the perception of events. The rules of positive thinking below will help you work on yourself.
HOW TO LEARN OPTIMISM AND DEVELOP POSITIVE THINKING
With a tendency to a negative worldview, becoming an optimist overnight will not work. The process is simple, but it takes time and practice – eventually, you form a new habit, having mastered which you will be less critical of yourself and the world around you.
Psychologist’s advice: practice positive thinking skills daily. Here are a few rules that optimists follow.
1. Identify sources of negativity. What does it respond to in the soul with hostility – work, relationships, communication with relatives? Having identified the irritant, try to look at it from a different angle, trying to find the positive aspects and focusing on the positive details. So, gradually, analyze all the depressing aspects of your life.
2. Learn to accept and rethink situations. When something bad happens that is beyond your control, instead of getting upset, try to find the positive side of what happened. For example, instead of worrying about a traffic jam you’re stuck in, use the time to listen to a podcast, learn a rhyme (a great memory exercise), or repeat irregular verbs.
3. Be kind to yourself. Start simple: don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. If a self-critical thought comes to mind, determine the reason why it arose and, as a deadly (for her) trump card, list everything that is good in you, including skills, achievements and beauty.
4. Stick to a healthy lifestyle. Try to exercise every day, at least 10-15 minutes. Exercise, running, walking, dancing to your favorite music invigorate and relieve stress. Make a menu of high-quality fresh seasonal products – the mood directly depends on what you eat and how your digestive tract copes with it.
5. Smile and surround yourself with positivity. Laugh, joke, look for humor in everyday events, especially in difficult times. Make sure you have fun and kind people around you that you can rely on. Avoid toxic “vampires” in friendships and relationships.
6. Imagine a better future. Visualize in detail your bright future – love, family, career, home, health, hobbies. Write down or draw your dreams. When you imagine that your life is going well, you will be happier in the present.
7. Think about what you are grateful for in your life. Better yet, keep a Gratitude Diary, regularly writing down in it what you are grateful for. So you learn to focus on the good, not letting the positive slip through unnoticed. “Besides,” says the psychologist. “Research has shown that keeping such diaries helps to overcome insomnia. So sound sleep is another bonus of positive thinking, and maybe the most important one.”