My friends and family know that I am a glass half-full person, and that I try to maintain a positive attitude as much as possible.   Every day when I wake up, I make a conscious effort to put forth my best effort to make this day the best that it can be.  I have motivational pictures and sayings posted in my cubicle to keep my head in that positive place throughout the day.  I have a great library of inspirational and motivational books at home that I read bits and pieces from often.  Positive thinking brings me peace of mind, and the ability to handle the ups and downs of a busy life.

There are other benefits to positive thinking, actual health benefits!  Researchers have found that positive thinking enables an individual to cope better with stressful situations, which in turn reduces the harmful effects of stress on your body, resulting in better health!

Benefits of positive thinking are shown to include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

There’s an additional benefit to adopting a positive thought process.   The bulk of what determines a person’s level of happiness is thoughts and behaviors, so by learning to modify your thoughts and behaviors, you will learn to be a happier person.

By now you might be wondering, “Where do I begin?  How can I become more optimistic and enjoy these benefits?”  Positive thinking often starts with self-talk.

Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day.  These thoughts can be positive or negative.  Hopefully the majority of your self-talk is positive, but if not, don’t despair.  Positive thinking and positive self talk can be taught.  The best way to approach this is to periodically throughout the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking.    If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.   You can also follow one simple rule:  Be nice to yourself!  Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else!  With practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance.

Other ways to cultivate a positive attitude:

  • Surround  yourself with happy people.

Being around happy people builds up your own sense of contentment.  And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you!  Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you and that you’re glad they’re part of your life.   When you share your positive mood and positive experience, both you and those around you enjoy an emotional boost.

  • Express gratitude.

Gratitude is HUGE in my life.  It’s more than saying “thank you”.  Gratitude is a sense of being thankful for life, every day, and finding the joy in the present moment.  It’s as easy as identifying one thing that enriches your life.  Hopefully you can come up with many more than one, but that’s where you start.  If you make a commitment to practice gratitude every day, your life will be enriched.

  • Find your purpose.

People who meet a goal or fulfill a personal desire are happier than those who don’t have such aspirations.  Having a goal provides a sense of purpose, bolsters self-esteem, and brings people together.  Research shows that relationships provide the strongest meaning and purpose to your life, but other ways you can find your purpose include asking yourself some general questions.

What excites and energizes me?

What are my proudest achievements?

How do I want others to remember me?

  • Live in the moment.

 “Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

Take time to smell the flowers.  Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful.  That day may never come.   Take every opportunity to savor the small stuff, the pleasures of everyday life!    Breakfast in bed, a great cup of coffee, the feeling of sunshine on your face, a smile from a stranger, a visit with a loved one, a heartfelt laugh, the first snowfall…  Make up your own list, and review it often!

Don’t wait for happiness and contentment to come find you.  Persevere and practice these tips, and you will transform the way your mind thinks.   A positive thought process will help lead you to happiness and success!