Is it true that positive thinking has power? Without a doubt. What we send out into the Universe comes back to us, and we attract what we focus on.
Consider a rose. If you concentrate on its natural beauty, it is a bright and colourful flower in bloom, full of life and natural mystic; yet, if you pay more attention to its thorns you become deterred by the risk of handling it, the rose becomes destructive and something to be feared. In a similar spirit, our perspective influences how we perceive life.
Having a positive outlook and being optimistic influences how we perceive the world around us. Our cognitive processes can either help us to build resilience to life’s stressors or they can allow us to succumb to them.
There are many advantages to harnessing the power of positive thought. They benefit us in both physical and mental forms, and they help us live more balanced lives.
Psychological Benefits of Positive Thinking
Gaining mental clarity
We can think clearly and concisely when we have mental clarity. This gives us the flexibility to analyse and process experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It helps us organise our ideas, making life more manageable.
Better stress management
Stress management refers to how we deal with stress, whether it is in a constructive or negative way. We can re-frame our approach to stress by learning to effectively manage it when we establish a positive outlook on our lives and its challenges.
Life is very unpredictable, but by increasing our resilience, we can bounce back when things go wrong. Positive thinking allows us to re-frame the impact of any challenges we experience and focus on them from a unique perspective, allowing us to find the inner power to overcome them, and therefore increasing our resilience.
Higher self-esteem and confidence
We improve our ability to recognise our skills, qualities, and assets as individuals when we choose a positive outlook toward ourselves. As we tear down any negative opinions we have of ourselves and focus on the beautiful uniqueness of our beings, we gain more self-esteem and confidence.
Deepened sense of self-awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to examine ourselves, our ideas, feelings, and behaviours on a more in-depth level. Looking in from the outside. When we allow our minds to recognise our own inner beauty and begin to analyse our thoughts and behaviours without the baggage of emotions, we experience a greater level of self-awareness and we learn more about ourselves.
Physiological Benefits of Positive Thinking
According to research, having a higher level of positive thinking and more optimism in our lives can help increase our resistance to diseases and illnesses. Segerstrom and Miller conducted a scientific investigation that found that acute stress generated by negative thinking can have a harmful influence on the immune system.
Healthy lifestyle choices
When we begin to care for our minds, we are more likely to care for our bodies. We may become more willing to look after ourselves in other ways, such as exercising and eating nutritionally.
Reduced levels of toxic stress
Our stress can become toxic if not constructively managed. Toxic stress causes the stress response to be activated for an extended period. The body does not fully recuperate from this, which results in emotional and psychological anguish.
When we are exposed to toxic stress, we are more likely to develop mental health issues and have poor levels of wellbeing. Positive thinking supplies mental clarity, which allows us to re-frame our stress and improve our emotional and psychological well-being.
Longer life expectancy
We are at our healthiest when our immunity is strong, and we have less toxic stress in our existence. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people who were more optimistic lived longer and had a better probability of living to be 85 years old.
Positive Impacts on Our Lives
Greater satisfaction with our lives
When we are positive about ourselves and our lives, it allows us to see the beauty that is all around us. “Even when the sky is cloudy, the sun is shining just on the other side of the clouds”. When we’re positive, we give ourselves permission to feel more satisfied with life.
Feelings of contentment and happiness
Focusing on the positive aspects of life allows us to feel more whole as individuals, allowing higher feelings of contentment and happiness as we get back what we put out. When we think positive, things are more positive!
Helps us to positively work towards our goals
With a positive outlook, we can free ourselves from the restraints of negative mental energy. We spend less time worrying about aspects of life which then allows us to hone our energy into our dreams, goals, and aspirations.
Heightened sense of connection with others
When we see others in a good light and accept them with an open heart, we feel more connected to them on a deeper level. If we go around judging people and situations adversely, they will always feel like a threat to us, and we will feel compelled to avoid them. Maintaining a positive mental attitude allows us to see other people on an equal footing with ourselves and to form more meaningful interactions with them.
So, how can we become more positive human-beings?
We all have the innate ability to check in with our thought processes and focus more on positive thoughts and aspects of life, while letting negative thoughts pass through. How can we achieve this? Through daily exercises that promote feelings of positivity in our lives.
As humans, we all have an internal monologue. That is the internal vocalisation of our own voice, which expresses how we feel and think about ourselves and the world around us. Our own voices can be harsh at times. It tries to take apart every small detail about ourselves and the good things in our lives and this often leads us to adopt a negative viewpoint.
We feel better about ourselves and the world around us when we change our internal monologue to be more optimistic. Each of us has our own set of self-limiting ideas that we let to define us, and if left unchecked, they may wreak havoc. Changing our narratives about ourselves and the world around us leads to increased self-esteem and an ability to focus on the good in ourselves.
Begin by observing how you think about yourself, being aware of your own ideas, and paying attention to how you speak about yourself. Are you a good person or a bad person? If you find yourself being too harsh on yourself, consider switching things up. As thoughts come up, challenge them. Instead of thinking “I’m a failure”, consider an alternative way of looking at it, “I’m giving it my best, and that’s enough.”
Daily mantras and affirmations
Mantras are groups of words that we repeat regularly and often. They’re used to instil messages in our minds and keep us focused. There are many ancient Sanskrit mantras, such as the world-famous “om”, but we can also make our own that reflect our specific ideas and beliefs.
You can write your mantras down and display them throughout your home or office. You can meditate on them by saying them aloud or silently to yourself. They can include anything you want to focus on, including things that are personal to you and variables that have to do with mind, body, and soul. “I am deserving, confident, and sufficient” are a few examples of directions to take with your own personal mantras.
Journalling is the practise of writing down our daily thoughts, emotions, and events. Journals can be written on paper in a notebook or dedicated journal. You can illustrate them with images too. If you don’t want to use a physical notebook you can type them into a computer, or smart phone. It is a terrific method to break down our thoughts and obtain a better understanding of how we see ourselves and the world around us. It can be done on a daily or weekly basis. A focus on positive aspects of our days is maintained in a positivity journalling practise, stressing what we are grateful for and what went well.
Gratitude lists, ideas, aims, and ambitions — all that makes you feel good – might all be included in the journalling practise. It is a fantastic way to show and remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in our lives. It instils in us the skill of seeing things in a positive perspective and adjusts our emphasis over time. By journalling, we are retraining our brains to see the brighter side of life.
A healthy body and a healthy mind are intricately bound. The mind and body are in synergy, and we must take care of both to attain more optimistic thought processes. To do so, we must make sure we receive adequate sleep; a fatigued mind is more vulnerable to the effects of unpleasant ideas and situations.
A nutritious diet supplies the energy our bodies and minds require to function. The brain accounts for only 2% of our total body mass yet consumes 20% of the energy we consume! Exercise releases endorphins, which help us manage stress and feel successful and empowered – movement is medicine for the mind and body.
Practising super position
In quantum mechanics there is a concept called superposition. This is explained and talk about by Dr Caroline Leaf. Superposition is the state in which particles exist before collapsing in a specific direction. This concept also exists in our minds when dealing with negative situations.
When an event in our lives, such as a phone call, makes us feel a certain way, our thoughts and memories associated with the event build up in our minds. We then have to choose how we deal with that thought. For example, if we have a negative thought, we can either choose to deal with it positively or negatively.
Practising the pause between events and our reaction to them is a wonderful approach to develop this skill. This skill is achieved with practise and commitment and will not always come overnight, but when learned it is a valuable tool to use to further your journey.
Acknowledging emotions and re-framing our thoughts
When we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, we acknowledge them. When our emotions arise, we can begin to name them and acknowledge them. When we are happy and enlightened, or sad and angry, it is critical to be able to name and confirm these feelings by expressing them and allowing ourselves to feel them freely.
We can re-frame our thoughts by putting a positive spin on them. This aids us in gaining a better understanding of them. Rather than saying to yourself, “I’m so useless since I didn’t accomplish the task I started today,” consider whether there was a reason the task was not completed. Looking at the circumstances around an incident might help us re-frame it. For example, “I didn’t finish the task today because I didn’t sleep very well last night and am quite tired. I tried my hardest to accomplish it and I can always attempt to do it tomorrow.”
Re-framing is an excellent technique to increase our level of positivity, but it takes time and practise. If it does not happen right away, keep trying and you will get there.
The Importance of Realistic Expectations
When it comes to positive thinking, it is vital to keep reasonable expectations in mind, as too much of anything may be harmful. We all can access and use the power of positive thinking, and with practise and self-awareness, we can all transform the way we think and perceive the world. It is also vital to remember that being happy and optimistic all the time is an unrealistic ideal for anyone!
Understanding that there is a duality inside our emotional worlds is an essential part of creating a positive mental attitude and viewpoint. We must be realistic and acknowledge that unpleasant emotions are an important part of our lives and a normal element of being human. We must keep our attention on feeling and letting feelings pass.
A flower requires both sunlight and rainfall to reach its full potential. Growth would be impossible without one or the other. Denial of the more unpleasant emotions we feel, and the more negative aspects of our unique human experiences, restricts our progress as individuals, just as it does with humans.
How long will it take to master the power of positive thinking?
The truth is that harnessing the power of positive thinking is a continuous process that matures and solidifies with practise and effort over time. There is no quick fix, and it will take time to master the talent. The ability to think more positively is a skill that we develop through time and that becomes more solid with practise and effort. Even the most enlightened individuals in the world have bad days; it is only their ability to navigate their emotions and thinking processes that keeps these bad days from becoming overwhelming.
Positive thinking has the potential to change our lives for the better. Having a more positive viewpoint has many psychological, physiological, and social advantages. We can cultivate a more cheerful attitude on life in a variety of ways. To get a more optimistic view in our lives, we must set realistic expectations for ourselves. Another key expectation is to recognise that we cannot be happy all the time and that we must respect our emotional journey, or else poisonous optimism can be harmful to our psyche as humans.
Allowing oneself to feel emotions, confirming and understanding that they are natural, processing them by naming them and gaining a better knowledge of why these feelings are present, and allowing them to pass naturally are all important steps. The process of thinking more positively and harnessing the power of positive thinking is a long-term one that requires time and practise to develop. We all have the intrinsic ability to control our thoughts and emotions, and with time and effort, we can all harness the power of positive thinking and experience its advantages in our daily lives.