Positive Thinking Day is on Sept. 13, but it should be celebrated everyday. While it is difficult to constantly be optimistic when life is throwing you curve balls, thinking positively is truly beneficial. No—positive thinking is not about denying the bad things in life. It is about embracing the good and seeing you can get past any hardship.
According to Mayo Clinic, positive thinking helps with stress management and your overall health. Such benefits include increased life span, decreased rates of depression, lower levels of distress, better common cold resistance, improved psychological and physical health, reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills during stress and hard times. Mayo acknowledges the correlation between positive thinking and health benefits is unclear, but theorizes a positive outlook allows better coping skills, which decreases harmful effects from stress.
How can you become more optimistic?
1) Stop negative self talk.
It's important to stop negative self talk, AKA those thoughts running through your head all day. Don’t let your brain overwhelm you with unnecessary stress, like made up scenarios and what-ifs. Try meditation to be able to recognize self talk and become more aware of it.
2) Surround yourself with positive people.
The people you choose to form relationships with, whether it's friends or significant others, can have a big impact on your life and the way you feel. Are your relationships making you feel down? Then maybe it's time to reevaluate who you are spending the most time with.
Embrace humor! When we laugh, endorphins rush through our bodies, giving us greater feelings of happiness.
4) Be open to different feelings you experience.
It is okay to indulge and feel sad sometimes. You don’t want to bottle up your feelings; that’s unhealthy. But if day-to-day you incorporate a more optimistic way of thinking, hopefully those negative thoughts can become fewer and fewer.
Editing Note: This content was peer reviewed for spelling and grammar by the Being HER Team.Read more in Being HER
1) Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 13, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950
2) Exercise Mediates the Association Between Positive Affect and 5-Year Mortality in Patients with Ischemic Heart Disease. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Retrieved September 13, 2016. http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/6/5/559.full