The power of positive thinking (and how to do it)

How often do you get told to think positively? Sometimes this can be easier said than done. But taking simple steps to change your outlook on life and become a ‘glass half full’ kind of person can do great things for your wellbeing. The good news is, research has shown negative thinking is a habit we are able to break if we put some work into it.

Positive and negative thoughts are contagious

Have you ever been around someone who’s in a bad mood and found it makes you grumpy? Or find yourself getting excited when someone else is? Even if they don’t outright tell you how they’re feeling, we can often pick up on it through body language and facial expressions. What would your rather do, broadcast positivity or negativity to those around you?

Of course it also works the other way. If you find yourself surrounded by pessimists, they may end up changing the way you think. You can either try and help them to look on the bright side of things, flat out ignore their pessimism, or try surrounding yourself with people who are more optimistic.

Small changes turn into habits

Beginning to think in a positive way can start from something as little as thinking of something to be thankful for every day when you get out of bed.

You can also start actively turning negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, if you’ve been in a tough situation that has made you think negatively, make effort to sort that situation and know that once you come through it you will be a stronger person.

Smile a little more (not in a creepy way!). If this means you need to spend a bit more time with your friends, do something you enjoy, or make sure you take some time out for yourself if you’re getting stressed, find ways to make it happen.

Try not to compare yourself to others – ‘She’s thinner’, ‘She’s got more money than I do’ etc. are destructive thoughts, and can lead you to miss the fact that these people often have their own struggles that you might not be able to see. Picture perfect lives are hard to come by, but wouldn’t it be great if you were always happy with yourself and what you’ve got? That’s the power of positive thinking.

Figure out what works for you, it may help to write your action plan down. You may not be able to change the way you think overnight, but being consciously aware of making small changes on a day to day basis will eventually turn into habits you don’t even think about. As they say, practice makes perfect.

Look to the future

Saying thinks like, ‘I’ll never be able to do that’ can also bring you down. It’s important to look ahead to the future. If you’re unhappy with an aspect of your life, you have the power to change things. If you don’t think you can do it on your own, don’t be afraid to ask friends, family members or professional people for help. Remember, it’s your life and you’re in control of where you’re heading.

If you are really feeling down and feel like you need some help to become more positive, talk to your GP or visit www.depression.org.nz or www.thelowdown.co.nz.

Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – photostock

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