Positive thinking helps you cope with stress in a healthy manner, lowers heart disease risk and assists recovery after illness. Altering your mindset takes time, so check in regularly. Pay attention to situations which spark negative thoughts and look for positive alternatives that could work better.
1. Focus on the positive
Positive thinking is a mental and emotional state that encourages optimistic thoughts, expectations of happiness and success, while dispelling negative emotions. Additionally, positive thinking may also be described as having an “attitude of gratitude”.
Positive people tend to experience better physical health, such as fewer heart attacks and reduced risk of dementia. Furthermore, those who adopt positive attitudes are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices and invest in their wellbeing – helping increase immunity and resilience.
Change can take time and practice. To get started, identify areas of your life where negative thoughts emerge. Start small by focusing on just one area to modify your mindset in that regard.
If you find yourself becoming overly anxious, try cognitive reappraisal; studies have demonstrated its efficacy at decreasing intrusive negative thinking and anxiety. Unfortunately, certain forms of positive thinking such as setting unrealistically high standards for happiness or dwelling on past events (Gruber, Johnson, Oveis & Keltner 2008) have been linked with reduced wellbeing; thus use this strategy sparingly and only in situations within your control.
2. Reframe your thoughts
Reframing can be an effective tool to combat negative thinking patterns that lead to stress and anxiety, helping alleviate their impact on you. Psychotherapists employ it for clients but you can also practice this technique on yourself with patience; you’ll soon see results over time.
Examples of distorted thoughts include anticipating disaster (when one setback causes you to assume all day will be bad) or black-and-white thinking (where everything can only ever be seen as either good or bad). Reframing involves learning how to recognize these types of thinking patterns before challenging them with more accurate, realist perspectives.
For instance, if your initial thoughts include something along the lines of: “He didn’t greet me when he entered. He must hate me,” try reframing them by looking at what actually occurred and possible causes (he may have had a rough day or just be shy). Seeking outside advice may help, too – get different perspectives from loved ones so as to more objectively assess your situation while relieving stress levels – studies even show smiling can lower both heart rate and blood pressure when stressed!
3. Become an optimist
Optimism goes beyond simply thinking positive thoughts – it involves altering how we think and act. To become an optimist, start each day with positive affirmations and focus on controlling what’s within your control.
Find the things that impede you from reaching your goals and alter your daily routine accordingly. For example, if too much time is being spent on social media or drinking too much alcohol is interfering with reaching your objectives, eliminate these habits from your life so as to focus on achieving what matters.
Instead of dwelling on negative situations or errors, try learning from them so you can avoid repeating them. Confronting negativity may be difficult at times, but pushing past resistance is crucial if you want to establish optimism as part of your routine. Just like any new skill requires motivation and practice to become natural; but once done it can make life more resilient while improving relationships more thoroughly than ever. You could even avoid health complications that come from pessimism – make sure to consult a physician if any persistent anxiety or depression persists.
4. Block negative thoughts
Negative thoughts can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing; when they become an everyday part of your internal dialogue they can become detrimental. Negative thinking can give rise to uncomfortable and stressful emotions such as anger, fear or anxiety which in turn interfere with clear thinking and making good decisions.
Avoiding negative thinking requires being aware of its patterns when they arise and devising effective ways to break up these destructive cycles by finding strategies to counter them and replace the harmful thoughts with something more beneficial.
If you find yourself dwelling on an embarrassing mistake you made in class or not achieving the goals that were set for yourself that day instead of acknowledging and appreciating any positive feedback from your supervisor, stop what you’re doing and redirect your thoughts.
If your negative thinking is holding you back from reaching your full potential, seek assistance from a mental health professional. A therapist can assess your current thoughts patterns and assist in creating healthier ones automatically.
5. Change your vocabulary
Your vocabulary can be an incredibly powerful force in shaping your experiences and emotions. Your body constantly relays sensations to your brain, and language plays an integral part in translating those sensations to meaningful thoughts and emotions. If your regular language choices include disempowering words that you use frequently, this could affect both how experiences unfold as well as emotions you experience. To increase self-empowerment, try changing up how you speak by replacing disempowering words with more positive alternatives.
Your vocabulary can grow by reading popular media and practicing vocabulary builders like mnemonics. Additionally, there are daily word of the day feeds available online and via apps to subscribe to; focus on adding just a handful of new words each week so as not to overload yourself!
Change your language by substituting disempowering metaphors with more empowering ones, for instance by saying instead of “I feel as if the world is on my shoulders”, “I feel a sense of pride in my work”. This change will help reframe your experience and develop a more positive outlook on it all.