There are many things we don’t have control over, which can cause all kinds of disruptions in our lives. However, one thing we do have control over is our thoughts. By having a positive outlook and allowing our life to be filled with reaffirming affirmations about our capability, we can literally live a longer, happier life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can increase lifespan, lower rates of depression, boost our immune system, enhance our psychological and emotional wellbeing, foster coping skills for stressful situations and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The theory behind positive thinking affecting our health is that people who think more positively have a tendency to react better under stress, exercise more and are less likely to turn to drugs, alcohol and other destructive behaviors.
Just because you have a positive attitude it doesn’t mean that life is going to always be a box of chocolates. Everyone experiences hardships and adversity, but it’s how you approach the situation that matters.
Here is an example of two people approaching the same situation but with different perspectives.
Joan and Jessie are both up for the same promotion at work. Both are qualified and have worked at the company for about the same amount of time. They are individually meeting with the head of the department for an interview and evaluation for the promotion. Joan’s interview is first, followed by Jessie’s. Joan wakes up late the day of the interview and is frantic to get ready. She barely makes it out the door when it begins to rain making her commute longer than expected. The whole way to work she is mad at the traffic, the rain and herself. As she continues her drive to work she knows that she will fail because the day has already started off badly. Not believing in her ability to pull it together, Joan falls apart in the interview and blames her outburst on the traffic and weather.
Jessie wakes up on the same day. She looked at the weather ahead of time and knew it might rain. Her clothes were set out ready to go and she left 20 minutes earlier to compensate for the rain. Jessie listened to relaxing music on her drive while she visualized herself calm and confident in the interview. Jessie internally praised herself for her hard work and told herself she was deserving of this promotion.
Both Jessie and Joan experienced the pressure of a job interview, both had to deal with traffic and rain, and both had to deal with the outcome of the situation. Clearly Jessie was able to handle the situation better with a positive attitude and planning.
Thinking positively is a learned, practiced skill and it starts with your language. Replace negative self-talk with a positive affirmation. For example, if you say to yourself, “I can’t do this,” replace this thought with,”I haven’t learned how to do this yet, but I’m willing to learn.” Another example would be, “I’m so fat, and I can’t believe I’ve let myself gain 10 pounds.” Instead of being negative about your weight, change your thought process to, “I appreciate my body and I’m looking forward to the health benefits of exercising more and eating a balanced diet.”
There are lots of books and courses to help you with positive thoughts and positive affirmations. I encourage you to find what is right for you and enjoy the benefits of seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty.