Have you ever been asked if you “see a glass as half-full, or half-empty?” For years people have used this question to determine whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. When asked this question, you may have rolled your eyes thinking that there is no merit to such silly, high-spirited thoughts. However, researchers are finding that positive thoughts can do far more than just raise spirits. In fact, positive thinking may actually improve your health and extend life.
Thinking positive for a healthier you
The brain is a marvelous organ that influences so many things in the body. Research continues to find and explore the depths of positive thinking and optimism on health. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking may improve the following:
- Extend life span.
- Decrease risk of depression.
- Decrease overall stress.
- Improve the immune system.
- Increase resistance to the common cold.
- Improve psychological and physical well-being.
- Decrease risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
- Enhance cardiovascular health.
- Provide improved coping skills during stressful times and hardships.
- Improve quality of life.
Scientists are unclear why positive thinking has such constructive effects on health. However, the leading theory is that positive thinking improves the ability to cope with stress, which in return reduces the harmful effects of stress on the body. Other studies show that individuals, who are overall optimistic, tend to live healthier lifestyles compared to those who are negative thinkers.
Learning positive thinking skills
If you are a natural pessimist don’t worry, learning positive thinking skills is easy. It is important to remember that positive thinkers do not bury their problems or everyday stressors. Positive thinking means approaching unpleasant situations in a more positive and productive way.
Typically positive thinking initiates with self-talk. If the thoughts that run through your head are negative, your outlook on life will most likely be pessimistic. However, if your thoughts are positive, it can change your perspective to be optimistic and productive. Reframing the situation or negative dialogue can greatly improve your positive outlook.
Here are a few strategies to increase your positive outlook on life:
- Start a gratitude journal.
- Recognize a positive event each day.
- Appreciate the events that happen, journal it, or share it with someone.
- List and reflect on one of your strengths, and how you used it.
- Practice small acts of kindness daily. Recognize and appreciate acts of kindness.
- Set attainable goals and note your progress.
- Write down or reflect on a minor stress. List positive ways to reevaluate the situation.
- Practice mindfulness. Focus on the present, rather than dwell on the past or future.
It is encouraged that in order to live a more positive, calm, and satisfied life, every individual should learn at least three of these eight skills to use and practice on a daily basis.
Improving your mind and health requires a holistic approach tailored to your needs. If you feel that your overall demeanor is pessimistic and you would like to practice positive thinking and mindfulness, consider a consult with an alternative medicine trusts, who can assist you.