Are you one of those people who are constantly negative? Do you find it hard to stay optimistic? If so, you're not alone. It's human nature to be pessimistic at times, but if negativity becomes your default attitude, it can harm your physical and mental health. So, if you’re wondering how to think positive thoughts, you’re in the right place. We're going to discuss ways to stay positive and improve your overall well-being.

What Is Optimism?

Positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It's about looking for the silver lining and maintaining a hopeful attitude, even when things get tough. A person who thinks positively anticipates happiness, health, and success and believes they can overcome any obstacle and difficulty.

Positive thinking doesn't mean turning a blind eye to life's less positive moments. Positive thinking means approaching these difficult times with a more optimistic perspective, looking for the best outcome rather than immediately assuming the worst will happen.

Why Is Positive Thinking Important?

When you're positive, you tend to be happier and more content with life. Practicing positive thinking can also have tangible benefits in your daily life, such as improved relationships and better decision-making skills.

Health Benefits of Positive Thinking

Committing to thinking more positively can improve your mental and physical health, boost your mood and confidence, and make your life more enjoyable. Many scientific studies have proven the power of positive thinking to improve overall health, with researchers continuing to study the link between positive thinking and optimum well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, some benefits linked to positive thinking include:

  • Increased life span and resistance to illness

  • Lower rates of depression

  • Lower levels of distress and pain

  • Better psychological and physical well-being

  • Better cardiovascular health

  • Reduced risk of death from cancer, respiratory conditions, and infections

  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

How to Practice Positive Thinking

You could accurately consider positive thinking a habit you can develop. Some people are naturally better at it, while others are inclined toward pessimism. Whichever way your default attitude leans, positive thinking is a habit you can develop with practice.

1. Engage in Positive Self-Talk

Positive thinking usually begins with self-talk, the flow of thoughts that go through your head without being spoken aloud. Self-talk can be optimistic or pessimistic, logical, or emotional. Perhaps you are wondering how to change your thoughts from negative to positive. You can develop a habit of positive self-talk by adhering to a simple rule: Don't say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend or loved one. Be as accepting, understanding, gentle, and encouraging with yourself as you would be with someone you hold dear. 

2. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is an important aspect of positive self-talk that deserves its own entry on our list. It's easy to dwell on the negative things in life. We all have stressors and problems that can seem insurmountable at times. But if we take a step back and think about the things we're thankful for, it can help us to maintain a positive attitude. Make it a habit to remind yourself of what you are grateful for daily. You could keep a gratitude journal and update it each evening before bed. For example, you might be thankful for your family, your health, your job, or your home. Or maybe you're grateful for more minor things, like a sunny day or a good cup of coffee. Whatever it is, taking a moment to appreciate the good can help to chase away the bad.

3. Identify Areas for Improvement

While practicing positive self-talk and being more conscious of all you're thankful for, you will naturally encounter plenty of negative thoughts. When negative thoughts inevitably pop into your head, examine them from a logical perspective. When we have negative thoughts, our brains may be telling us something is wrong - but instead of beating yourself up, brainstorm ways to improve or build yourself up by reminding yourself of your positive attributes. And if you evaluate the negative thought and conclude it's illogical or not serving you and your happiness, try reframing it in a more positive light.

4. Spend Time with Positive People

It's no secret that the people we surround ourselves with profoundly influence our lives. Our relationships can impact everything from our physical health to our mental well-being. When you are around optimistic people, their good attitude can rub off on you. Being around positive people can help you to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Optimistic people tend to be more fun to be around and can help you enjoy life more. They may also help you to stay motivated when times are tough. Nothing can derail your efforts to develop a more positive outlook like Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers, so make an effort to spend time with positive people.

5. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Your physical health and your attitude are closely connected. Taking care of your physical health can help you have a positive attitude. When you feel good physically, you're more likely to feel good mentally and emotionally. When you're physically healthy, you have more energy and stamina. You're able to think more clearly and make better decisions. You're also better able to cope with stress and handle difficult situations. Taking care of your physical health is an integral part of taking care of your overall well-being. You can improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your energy level by making healthy choices. These benefits can all contribute to a positive attitude.

6. Remember to Laugh

For those trying to maintain a positive attitude, laughter can be a valuable tool. Laughter has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and even improve immune function. When we laugh, our bodies release endorphins, which have natural mood-elevating properties. Laughter also helps to distract us from negative thoughts and worry, and learning to laugh when life tries to break us down can build resilience. And remember, laughter is contagious, so if you're feeling down, try spending time with friends or family who can make you laugh. You'll soon find that your outlook on life is much sunnier when you take the time to chuckle every day.

7. Treat Your Self

It's essential to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. When you make time for self-care, you're investing in your overall health and well-being. And while it may seem like a luxury, treating yourself to some self-care can actually help promote a positive mindset. When you take care of yourself, you're sending the message that you're worth taking care of, helping boost your self-esteem and confidence. Plus, taking care of yourself can help reduce stress and anxiety. When you make time for self-care, you're investing in your future health and happiness. So go ahead and book that massage, take a relaxing bath, or treat yourself to a new book or outfit. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

8. Develop Morning & Evening Routines

When it comes to developing a positive mindset, routines can be critical. By taking the time to establish a morning and evening routine, you can help set the tone for your day and promote a sense of calm and well-being. Start by taking some deep breaths and setting your intention for the day ahead in the morning. Then, take some time to stretch or do some light exercises to get your body moving. After that, you can enjoy a healthy breakfast and spend time planning your day. In the evening, wind down with a relaxing activity like reading or taking a bath. Then, write down three things you are grateful for from the day. Finally, spend a few minutes visualizing your ideal life and what you want to manifest in the coming days. By taking just a few minutes each day to focus on your mind, body, and spirit, you can help create a positive mindset that will lead to lasting success.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can help us become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings and positively impact our mental and physical well-being. For example, it can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. It can also improve our focus, memory, and sleep quality. In addition, mindfulness has been linked to several physical health benefits, including lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. By practicing mindfulness regularly, we can learn to be more present and focus on the positive aspects of our lives, promoting a more positive mindset and helping us to lead happier and healthier lives. You can practice mindfulness by taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing and noticing any physical sensations or thoughts that arise without judgment. Or, try a guided meditation or yoga class to help increase your mindfulness skills.

10. Avoid Negative Language

Our words have power. The language we use can affect our mood and how we think about ourselves and others. Negative language, such as gossiping or complaining, can lead to a negative mindset. On the other hand, using positive language can help to promote a positive mindset. When we focus on positive words and affirming statements, it can help us to see the good in ourselves and others. It can also allow us to feel more optimistic about the future. So next time you're tempted to gossip or complain, take a moment to consider the impact of your words.

11. Be Curious

Being curious has many benefits. It can help promote a positive mindset, increase knowledge and understanding, and provide a sense of satisfaction. We are more likely to explore new ideas and concepts when we are curious. We are also more likely to be open-minded and receptive to new information. Additionally, curiosity can lead to greater creativity and problem-solving ability. So if you want to improve your mind, start by being more curious. Ask questions, seek out new experiences, and never stop learning.

12. Seek Out New Experiences

Why don't you take your curiosity further and actively seek out new, exciting experiences? A dream trip is an excellent way to discover novel sights and experiences. But while packing your bags and jetting off to an unknown destination can be reinvigorating, new experiences don't have to be limited to physical travel. Trying something new - whether it's a new recipe, learning a new skill, or exploring a different part of your city - can also promote a positive mindset. Why? Because when we step out of our comfort zones, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and ways of thinking. We also give ourselves a chance to learn and grow. So next time you're feeling negative or bored, try something new. It may just be the change you need.

Curious about new experiences you could pursue? The College of Health Care Professions has a broad range of career-oriented healthcare education programs that provide the skills and knowledge you need for various entry-level positions in the field. We even offer a Wellbeing Program to help you maintain your positive outlook on life.