Are you tired of constantly feeling down on yourself and lost in your thoughts? Like no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get ahead in life?
If so, you should try positive thinking.
Now, before you go ridiculing me for making it sound that simple, trust me, I know it’s not always that easy. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, positive thoughts are just simply hard to come by.
Positive thinking sounds super useful and easy on the surface. (Most of us would prefer to be positive rather than negative.) But, positive thinking has also become a soft and fluffy term that is easy to dismiss.
In the real world, it rarely carries the same weight as words like “effort” “attitude” “work ethic” or “persistence.” Despite being just as powerful as any of these words, it’s often one that we dismiss every time we hear it.
But what if positive thinking wasn’t the soft and fluffy term we often associate it to be? What if there were real benefits to thinking positive thoughts?
Research has and continues to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or constantly having an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create value in your life. Not only can they impact your mental health, but they can also positively impact your physical health as well. Even more so, they can help you build skills that last much longer than a smile does.
The impact of positive thinking on your work, your health, and your life is being studied by people who are much smarter than me. I am just proof of how effective this research actually is.
See, life hasn’t always been easy for me and I haven’t always been as happy as I am today. In fact, there was a 5 year stretch of my life where I was severely depressed and found it difficult just to wake up in the morning.
That’s when I started prioritizing positive thinking. It was the one thing I knew I had control over, and while it was incredibly challenging at first, it has probably had the greatest impact on building my confidence, boosting my health, and improving life – more than the medications, therapist visits, and any other “fix” I tried.
What Positive Thoughts Do to Your Brain
Every thought releases some type of chemical. When positive thoughts are generated, when you’re feeling happy, or optimistic, cortisol decreases and the brain produces serotonin (known as the “feel-good” chemical of the brain), creating a feeling of well-being.
When serotonin levels are normal, one feels happy, calmer, less anxious, more focused, and more emotionally stable. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward system and pleasure center.
Needless to say, when you think positive thoughts, actual chemicals are released in your body that makes you feel happier for longer periods of time.
The benefits of positive thoughts don’t stop after just a few short minutes either. When prioritized in the morning, they set the pace for the rest of the day, and even the rest of your life. In fact, the biggest benefit that positive thoughts provide is an enhanced ability to build and develop skills that you can use later in life.
How to Increase Positive Thinking In Your Life
So what can you do to increase positive thinking in your life? How can you increase the number of positive thoughts that you think about on a daily basis?
Well, anything that makes you feel good and brings joy to your life will do the trick. You know what brings the most joy to you. Maybe it’s walking for a half-hour per day, going out and hanging with friends, or just some time to yourself to rest and relax. However that may look, just do more of the things you love.
With that being said, here are useful tips for you to consider…
1. Write In A Gratitude Journal
I can’t tell you how beneficial a gratitude journal has been in helping me to create a positive state of mind. Not only is it free, but it’s incredibly easy to use.
For me, I start every morning with writing down 5 things I am most grateful for in life. This could be from the day prior, weeks prior, or just in my life as a whole.
In doing this, I am putting positive thoughts at the front of my mind as I get my day started. Over the years of doing this, I have noticed that it takes a lot more to negatively impact my mood. I am just naturally a happier person (at least I like to think I am), and a large part of this is because I prioritize positive thoughts at the beginning of my day by using a gratitude journal.
2. Play More
Here’s the scoop… life is meant to be enjoyed. Schedule some time to play and have fun in your life. We schedule meetings, calls, events, and other obligations into our daily calendars … but very rarely do we intentionally schedule time to treat ourselves and have fun.
Think about this for a moment. When was the last time you blocked out an hour on your calendar just to do something you find fun and enjoyable? When was the last time you intentionally carved out time to have fun? Sure, you may do something fun, but I am talking about blocking out a specific timeframe in which you can’t be interrupted.
We don’t do it enough. When we do something fun, we are still “on-call” and allow other obligations to steal our attention. The purpose of playing more is to devote your undivided attention to having fun without allowing anything to interrupt you from doing so.
Give yourself a reason to smile and enjoy the benefits of positive emotion. Schedule time for play and adventure so that you can experience contentment and joy, and explore and build new skills.
3. Be Mindful Of Your Thoughts
Just be aware of your thoughts. When a negative thought comes to mind, gently push it to the side and do your best to replace it with a more positive and uplifting thought.
If you need help changing your thoughts, try meditating. Research shows that people who meditate daily tend to display more positive emotions than those who do not. Also, people who meditate also build valuable long–term skills. For example, people who meditate daily display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.
Guys, if you don’t meditate for the sole fact that you don’t think it’s “manly,” then you’re mistaken. It takes more strength to admit your weaknesses and get your life back on track than it does to hold onto your emotions and bottle them up.
Before You Go
No, contrary to what you may believe, positive thinking isn’t just a soft and fluffy “feel-good” term. Positive thinking is much more than just a feeling… it’s a way of life.
Finding ways to build happiness and positive emotions into your life — whether it is through practicing mindfulness, writing in a gratitude journal, learning to have fun again, or anything else — provides more than just a momentary decrease in stress and a few smiles. It provides you with long-term benefits that will positively impact your life.
Try these tips for yourself and see how positive thinking builds your confidence, boosts your health, and improves your life.