It's so much easier than it sounds, but staying positive is the most useful tool in one's self talk arsenal. It's more important than self-esteem and motivation combined. For while self-esteem and motivation ebb and flow according to the last report your wrote and the subsequent reaction or the way your pants fit that morning, working on staying positive through the ups and downs of life can actually enhance your immune system, give you more relationships that last, keep you away from addictive behavior, and lengthen your life.
Many insights into the power of positive thinking have been explored, and many wonderful books have been written on the topic. One of the most inspiring to me though was an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) with an elderly woman who had outlived most of her own doctors and was still going strong well past the hundred year mark. She claimed it wasn't healthy food or even exercise that brought her such vigor and longevity, but truly, a positive outlook on life and an ability to be emotionally and psychologically resilient, to "roll with the punches." Optimists tend to recover more quickly from emotional difficulties and setbacks, and to get to work more quickly on finding a solution for their problems.
A great website addressing this can be found by clicking this link: http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/sunday-citizen/43-sunday-citizen-opinion-editorial/8390-optimism-can-extend-your-life.html
Thinking with positivity means that you actually believe things will improve and that your life will turn out all right. It doesn't mean you think the world is a fantasy Utopian paradise with flowers blooming around every bend and Bambi's mother coming back to life after being shot by that hunter. Optimists are very much realists; they know things are difficult, but they choose to feel things will be okay if they hang on and think and work toward a solution. Optimists know that for all the darkness in the world there is an equal if not more abundant amount of beauty, and they choose to observe, relish and appreciate that beauty as often as they can.
Edited by Alison Stanton