Positive thinkers are a rarity in today’s world. It is hard to find someone who has not been affected by negativity, and as a result are negative themselves. So, are you a positive thinker? Or are you just pretending to be happy so people won’t notice your true feelings? If you want to learn how positive thinking can help your life, keep reading!
This article will discuss what it means to think positively, some benefits of being a positive thinker, and how you can start doing it yourself.
What is positive thinking?
Positive thinking is the act of looking on the bright side of life. It entails focusing on what you are grateful for, rather than what has gone wrong in your life. With this mindset, you are sure to feel better and be more content with yourself.
Positive thinkers are not naïve–they know that bad things happen to good people all the time–but they also understand how those bad times can make them stronger or bring about something positive in their lives. Most importantly, negative thoughts are put aside so a person can focus on being happier!
The term “positive thinker” may sound like an oxymoron these days when most people are struggling just to get by day-to-day without succumbing to negativity… But you can be the exception!
Why positive thinking is important
Positive thinking is important because it can change how you see yourself and others perceive you. A negative thinker will often be a victim, projecting their negativity onto other people.
Positive thinkers are more self-confident and less likely to have low self-esteem or think they’re not good enough for anything. They may also be happier with themselves overall since they know how to take care of themselves instead of blaming circumstances out of their control for why things don’t always work out.
What does positive thinking do to your brain?
Okay, now stay with me for a second as we get a little nerdy with science.
Neuroscientists have found that what you think about can actually change the structure of your brain. Thinking positively is a great way to keep your dopamine levels up and make yourself happier on a day-to-day basis!
There are other hormones involved like serotonin and oxytocin. Simply thinking positively can release these hormones that will help you feel better about yourself, know what your goals are, and keep you motivated to achieve them!
This is not just some placebo effect–it’s the real deal. You have the power of positive thinking and can control what happens on a neurological level which can have a big impact on your life… so why wouldn’t you want to think as positively as possible?
Are you a positive or negative thinker
You may wonder if you are a positive or negative thinker. There are a few signs to look for:
- Do you see the positives in every situation or do you tend to dwell on mistakes?
- Are your thoughts focused on what could go wrong, as opposed to how things are going really well?
Being positive is not just helpful for people, but it also leads to a happier life and better health.
What does this mean?
Positive thinkers see the good in everything that happens while negative thinkers focus on the bad side of every situation.
So do you have a pattern for how you think?
Find out below.
Positive thinking quiz
In the series of questions below, answer each of them with complete honesty. After you complete the short positivity test you will be given a positivity score with a brief description of what that means.
This simple check will help you become more positive and you’ll find even more tips in this article.
Positive thinking improves your self-esteem
Self-esteem is perhaps the biggest component of creating and maintaining positivity both publicly and privately.
For us to be healthy body, mind, and spirit we must have self-esteem. To be grounded with a solid sense of self, we are able to make appropriate decisions and even take risks that lead to a fulfilling, productive life. Our love lives, jobs, family relationships, and, most importantly, our internal sense of well-being can all be ruined by low self-esteem. Strong, stable self-esteem, on the other hand, helps with problem-solving skills and the assertiveness required to achieve what psychologist Abraham Maslow called “self-actualization” – the urge to reach one’s full potential, a good sense of self-worth.
Self-esteem ≠ Self-confidence
An individual can have plenty of confidence and still have low self-esteem. Developing confidence is a worthwhile pursuit, but it is not nearly as important as cultivating your self-esteem. You are an amazing person – believe it!
Introvert Or Extrovert
Being an introvert or an extrovert has no bearing on your self-esteem. In fact, it is important that we have both introverts and extroverts in society to have a healthy balance of unique points of view. Both personalities provide a continual flow of creativity, innovation, compassion, and service.
How can positivity affect your life and work
Another area contributing to your positivity score is how you spend your time and how you feel about how you spend your time. Most of us spend a considerable amount of time working. It is extremely important that we find joy in what we do.
Finding joy in what we do has a couple of different connotations. Either we can develop a greater appreciation for what we are contributing to our workplace or the impact our work has on the planet – individuals, communities, environment, or what have you. Or we can change what we do. According to research, there are specific ways for people to be happier at work on a daily basis. Here are some suggestions:
- Make an effort to do work that is important to you. Examine resources that are in line with your ideals and can help you, the company, or something bigger. Seek out job opportunities that will enable you to learn and develop.
- Get into the flow of things. You’ll feel an optimistic and satisfying state of mind called “flow” when you’re truly engaged in your work. Your excitement and energy will not only boost your efficiency but will also help you persevere when faced with challenges at work.
- Take a break whenever you feel the need. Allowing yourself time to relax from job-related tasks can help you re-energize so you can deal with adversity at work gracefully. Over time, your ability to rebound and learn from setbacks, mistakes, and workplace conflict will strengthen you.
- Don’t be afraid to seek assistance. Respect, integrity, and civility should be shown to your coworkers. If they’re in need, show compassion, and express gratitude when they support you.
If you’re in a leadership position, consider these ideas:
- Share your thoughts with the rest of the team. When people realize what motivates their work, they have a stronger sense of intent. Be open and honest with your employees about your choices, and share your larger vision with them.
- People should be praised for their efforts. Encourage an inclusive culture in which people are valued and held responsible for their work. It’s vital not only to recognize big achievements but also to thank people for the hard work they put in every day.
- Encourage social interaction. The whole team profits as colleagues are able to get to know one another. While not all will become friends, providing opportunities for coworkers to develop strong social bonds will significantly improve workplace satisfaction.
What impact does your relationships have on positive thinking
How positive you are is greatly dependent upon your relationships. How you are treated and how you treat others.
Many psychologists agree that the attachment style we establish as children is the basis of our adult relationships. The studies of child development show that, in most cases, children acquire a specific attachment style during the first year of life, which is also influenced by their parents’ personalities and parenting styles.
A parent who is emotionally accessible and attentive, for example, would most likely provide a consistent source of warmth and comfort to their child. Whereas a child whose protection needs and need for warmth and responsiveness are not met will most likely have had an emotionally dismissive or unavailable parent.
The formation of an attachment relationship with a caregiver is a critical stage in a child’s development because it has a significant impact on their emotional development and the wellbeing of their future relationships.
Four basic attachment types were observed, based on the hypotheses of a number of psychologists, including John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth: Secure, Anxious-Ambivalent, Fearful-Avoidant, and Dismissive-Avoidant are the four personality types.
- Individuals with a secure attachment style, according to studies, are at ease forming tight emotional bonds. They have no qualms about relying on others or making others rely on them, and they are unconcerned about being abandoned or rejected.
- Individuals with an anxious-ambivalent relationship style are often afraid of being rejected or discarded, so they would stick to a partner in most situations.
- People who are fearful-avoidant, on the other hand, are extremely concerned about being rejected or abandoned and will respond by withdrawing from others.
- The dismissive-avoidant attachment style refers to people who are not afraid of being discarded or rejected, and who have no desire to form close relationships with others.
There are two additional attachment types – Dependent and Codependent – that have been added to the four previously described. These two personality types, in addition to having a childhood foundation, can lead to dysfunctional relationships.
- Individuals with a dependent relationship style rely on their spouses for all of their needs. In most situations, they choose to play a submissive role in their relationships, choosing to delegate all decisions, even those that affect their own lives, to their partner.
- Codependents are partners who need their needs to be met. They are also attracted to people who have addictions or other problems in order to “save” them. Unfortunately, as noble as their complete selflessness can be, people with a codependent relationship style often become resentful as their own needs for affection and support go unmet.
Your health and mental well-being
It may come as no surprise that how we feel physically affects, in many cases, how positive we are. If we enjoy a healthful life we can easily take for granted our blessings and we should be keen on having positive thoughts because of our good fortune. If we neglect to express gratitude for our health we run the risk of becoming negative whenever we may suffer an ailment.
In the course of my career, I have met many individuals that in spite of poor health they have maintained a positive outlook on life and the future. It has been extremely rewarding for me to have worked with such magnificent people and has given me a greater appreciation for health.
Mental Health Even More Important
Beyond our physical health is how we are doing mentally and emotionally. Conditions of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders; as well as PTSD, panic attacks, and addiction can gravely inhibit how we view and feel about life and the world.
The final three questions if you took the time to complete the positivity quiz are red flags and should not be viewed lightly:
- I lost trust in humanity and myself, and began expecting the worst of others and of situations in the last couple of months?
- I frequently felt fear, guilt, shame, or blamed myself or others for things in the last couple of months?
- I became reckless or took unnecessary risks in the last couple of months?
I care deeply for all people. If you answered yes to any of the above questions I want you to know that I am concerned for you and also want you to know that you are important and valuable. You are amazing!
That said, I am not a therapist or counselor and the information on TPC should not be considered psychological advice. TPC does not give medical advice diagnosis or treatment. TPC is for educational purposes only. If you have serious problems, please seek professional help.
Real-life examples of positive thinkers
You may know of positive thinkers that have influenced your life. Here are a few examples of positive thinkers that have had an impact on the world.
- Abraham Lincoln, arguably one of the most famous presidents in U.S history is an example of a positive thinker. In his inaugural address, he said “we shall not fail; we shall not falter; and we shall not be defeated” That statement has become associated with him for life because it’s so optimistic. He continued on to say that “no circumstance can shake the American spirit.”
- Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader who led protests against racial segregation, was also considered a very positive person by many people close to him including Malcolm X. One quote attributed to him is “I refuse to accept despair as my lot in life”. His speeches were often filled with hope and optimism about America’s future which helped inspired many to pursue positive change.
- Mahatma Gandhi, a political and spiritual leader who led India to independence said “I will not allow fear to rule me.” His dedication and absolute determination is what helped him succeed.
- Oprah Winfrey, an American media mogul and philanthropist has also been considered a positive thinker for her complete refusal of self-pity or victimhood. She says that she was born believing that she can do anything.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist and poet and known as one of the most influential writers in America, was also considered a positive thinker. One quote attributed to him is “A person who has good thoughts cannot be unhappy.”
- Nelson Mandela, former president and anti-apartheid revolutionary said “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it”. He taught himself to think positively and never to be afraid of anything.
- John Lennon, a music legend who encouraged people to “imagine” a better world without war is also considered an example of someone with positive thoughts as he was able to imagine the future that many others could not see. He said, “The dream we sold in ’67 came true for me and for the world.”
- Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust and wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning” said that he was able to see the kindness of others which helped him stay positive.
- Mother Teresa, an Albanian nun who became globally known as Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta while spreading Christianity through charity work in India stated that people should always think positively because “life is an opportunity, life is a challenge, and if you don’t live it in positive ways then what’s the point?”
Positive thoughts are often the difference between a life of happiness and one filled with sadness for those who take their lives into their own hands by embracing optimism instead of dwelling on past mistakes or imagining negative outcomes that may never happen. Being optimistic about the future has truly helped change the world!
Effects of negative thinking on the brain
Having a single negative thought can be harmful, even if it seems harmless to you. Negative self-talk will affect your mood and the way you see yourself in a negative light or as someone who is unable to accomplish certain tasks.
Research has shown that people with depression are more negative than those without it and this includes imagining how others might be feeling about them when they really don’t know what others are thinking. This leads to increased anxiety which then increases stress levels in the body and ultimately creates depressive symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, isolation etc.
Another study found that children who were pessimistic tended not only to have low scores on measures of academic achievement but also exhibited less motivation after setbacks.
Negative thoughts can cause us to see the world as a terrible place where bad things happen without any hope of change which is why it’s important to be conscious about how our self-talk affects our mood and actions in order for us not to get caught up with negative thinking.
One way you can avoid this is by talking back to your negative thoughts using positive counterarguments that are based on facts or evidence from past experiences so that you don’t let yourself fall into an endless cycle of negativity. For example, if one has been feeling sad lately then they might need time alone but when reminiscing over their day they found something pleasing such as eating dinner with friends may help them feel better.
Negative self talk
Negative self-talk is when we are negative about ourselves. This includes telling yourself that you’re not good enough, successful enough or pretty enough and this leads to increased anxiety which then increases stress levels in the body and ultimately creates depressive symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, isolation, etc.
Some examples of negative thoughts would be statements like these:
- “I’m never going to get better.”
- “No one likes me!”
- “What’s wrong with me?”
The words that come out of your mouth can have a big impact on how you feel about yourself so it’s important to train our brains to only say positive things instead if we want to put up obstacles for negativity from entering our minds.
What negative self-speak does is it makes us believe that we are inadequate and no one wants to be around those who constantly put themselves down which can lead to isolation, a lack of friendships and the inability to find happiness in life.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean being unrealistically optimistic but rather taking an approach where you expect good things from yourself and others while keeping focused on solutions instead of obstacles so you stay motivated enough for long lasting change.
Being positive can be an important stepping stone to becoming a more confident and resilient person.
10 Tips To Turn Negativity Into Positivity
If you notice yourself being negative then it’s important to make a change because negativity will only bring you down. How do you turn the tide and become more positive?
Tip #1: Keep track of your thoughts so that when they start going into negative territory, stop them in their tracks by telling them that these are not beneficial words and that you want to think more positively.
Tip #2: Journal your thoughts and feelings because it can help bring awareness to certain emotions or events which may be causing negative thinking patterns, leading to a better understanding of what needs to change in order for you to live life with less negativity
Tip #3: Being mindful about the words you speak and offer a compliment to yourself or another person every day.
Tip #4: Try meditating, it can help you become more grounded and present in the moment so that you are less likely to have negative thoughts invade your mind which will then make it easier for you to think positive. Meditation does not need any special equipment but if possible try to find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed by outside noise.
Tip #5: Think of the best thing that happened to you in your day and create a positive affirmation about it so that when negative thoughts come rushing back into your mind they get lost among all the good things happening right now.
Tip #6: Take care of your body by eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep so that you don’t feel weighed down with stress.
Tip #7: Surround yourself with a positive environment such as listening to uplifting music or spending time in nature where you can find peace of mind.
Tip #8: If negative thoughts are preventing you from sleeping then try to think of a happy memory instead or try to fall asleep by saying positive affirmations such as “I am enough”.
Tip #9: Practice gratitude because it will help you find the good when your mind is telling you there’s no hope. How can we be grateful for what has happened if we’re always dwelling on the negatives in life?
Tip #10: Among good coping skills is if you’re feeling down then try to think of something that will make you smile, such as a favorite song or TV show. It may seem like an effort but it’s worth the time and energy if this is what it takes for your mind to stop thinking negatively about life.
Steps on how to think positive
The previous tips are great for shifting from negativity. Now let’s look at the specific steps to train your mind to think positive:
Step 1: Identify Areas to Change. This will involve identifying what’s been causing negative thinking patterns and then deciding how to turn it around so we are focused on solutions instead of obstacles and how to stop ourselves from being pessimistic when this happens.
Step 2: Self-Evaluate. What is your answer to the question “why am I thinking negatively?” This will help you identify how deep this process goes and how long it’s been taking place.
Step 3: Develop a Good Sense of Humor. This is important because laughter can help people feel better and it’s been shown that how we view the world changes when we laugh.
Step 4: Surround Yourself With Other Positive People. In order to think positively, you need to be around other people who are happy. You won’t find a lot of happiness at the bottom of a bottle or in an online forum where people post how much they hate their life and others. Socialize with those who have goals for themselves and how they want to live their lives.
Step 5: Try to Live a Healthy Lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, this includes eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep so that you’re not weighed down with stress.
Step 6: Avoid Being Critical of Yourself. Don’t be critical of yourself and your mistakes. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes, including you. Focus on how to correct the mistake in an effective way instead of dwelling on it; and continue to make progress, knowing that is the true measure of success.
You are amazing!