Many people are daunted by life’s challenges and stresses; they become consumed by negative thoughts making their outlook on life pessimistic. This can be avoided by practicing positive thinking, and in doing so, you will become optimistic. Researchers continue to study the effects of an optimistic outlook on physical and mental health. Processing a negative and/or positive mindset derives from logic and reason; it can also be a result of consistent self-motivation or constant self-deprecation. Whether your thinking is positive or negative, it is important to identify if these thoughts are misconceptions, criticisms, or false information. Common forms of negative thinking are:
Filtering – magnifying negative aspects and downgrading or excluding positive ones. Example: You are having a great day at work, but you overlook one minor detail. You are thorough with your remaining duties and are complemented for your performance, but you focus only on that minor oversight and forget about the highlights of your day.
Personalizing – when something bad happens, you automatically blame yourself. You believe there is a direct link between yourself and the reasoning for plans being cancelled. Or, if a project goes wrong, you assume it is your fault.
Catastrophizing – immediately thinking of the worst possible outcome. Coffee spills on your shirt, stuck in a traffic jam, and long lines at the grocery store may be stressors that make you feel like it is the end of the world.
Polarizing – Setting narrow boundaries and strictly viewing situations as good or bad, and black or white, with no middle ground. Some people who polarize believe that they must be perfect at all times, otherwise they are a failure.
Maintaining strong positive thinking will take some time and practice. You will first need to identify situations that typically invite negative thoughts. Topics may consist of: work, relationships, or a daily commute.
Begin to monitor your thoughts and evaluate them. Welcome humor, and allow yourself to laugh — especially through the tough times. Be gentle, encourage yourself, and evaluate rationally, instead of negatively. Abiding to a healthy lifestyle, through proper diet and exercise, will also contribute toward positive thinking. It is important to surround yourself around positive people who are supportive and are willing to provide feedback. Negative people can raise stress levels and promote doubt.
Common negative expressions that can be improved with positive responses are:
Negative: I have never done it before.
Positive: It is an opportunity to learn something new.
Negative: It is way too complicated.
Positive: I will tackle it from another angle.
Negative: There is no way it will work.
Positive: I can try to make it work.
Negative: I am not going to get any better at this.
Positive: I will give it another try.
Supplying yourself with positive thoughts can enhance health by building a greater resistance towards the common cold, lowering rates of depression, improving psychological well-being, and strengthening coping skills during hardships.
It is believed that optimistic people tend to live healthier lives, because they are physically active, follow a healthy diet, and do not smoke or drink excessively. This discipline may better benefit such individuals when stress on the body is reduced at a higher rate.
Optimism is a choice, and advocating positive everyday thinking will promote an improved attitude. Once you start seeing things optimistically, both you and those around you can enjoy an emotional boost. Start small, and one day at a time, your thoughts will become less critical and begin to better your feelings for the world around you.The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.