The Power of a Positive Mindset

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By Haley Droste, MSW, LCSW – May 22, 2024 –

Everyone knows someone with a “glass half-empty” attitude about life. It seems like a dark cloud just follows them around, and it can be exhausting to spend too much time with them.

We also know people who are just the opposite; they always see the “silver lining” and fill the people around them with hope. Being positive or negative is not just a personality trait; it’s a way of thinking. Our brain is a muscle that can always learn new tricks. Training your brain to be more positive has many benefits – not just for the people around you – but also for you!

Even the most positive people have negative things happening in their lives. Being positive does not mean bad things won’t happen; it means you will be better equipped and more resilient when faced with adversity.

According to the Mayo Clinic, thinking positive is good for more than just your mental health. It also has physical health benefits, such as increased life span, decreased depression, and better coping skills during times of stress, which impacts cardiovascular health.

Knowing that thinking positive is good for you is one thing, but changing your way of thinking is something else completely. The first thing to do is just notice when you feel yourself sinking into negative thoughts. Noticing the behavior is the first step to correcting it. If you feel yourself consistently blaming others for things that go wrong, catastrophizing events, or expecting perfection from yourself or those around you, you could be following a negative line of thinking. Once you notice yourself doing these things, calling yourself out on the thought process (or asking someone to help you notice them) is the first step.

Practicing positive self-talk can be beneficial for this change as well. We tend to be our own worst critic. You can improve your self-talk by identifying your own strengths. Focusing on individual strengths can be a challenge if the practice is not familiar to you, but it is also very rewarding when your brain starts to learn how to focus on the positive. Try using daily positive affirmations to help rewire the thoughts you have about yourself.

The company you keep can also be a factor when it comes to your outlook on life. Surrounding yourself with people who think positively allows you to be more comfortable thinking this way as well. You also want to be sure that the people around you are supportive of you and your goals. Being with people who put down your ideas or view things in a more negative light can have an impact on your thought process and your self-esteem.

The power of positive thinking is limitless. There are many areas of our lives that can improve by consistently and purposefully focusing on the good around us. Practice leads to progress. The more you start integrating these skills into your day-to-day, the easier it will be to have a more positive attitude and reap the benefits of positive thinking.