“Look on the bright side” is an old cliche, but finding the positive in every situation can improve your life. Positive thinking has direct health benefits, like lower rates of depression, greater resistance to illnesses, and an overall happier psyche. Forming the habit of positive self-talk is key to improving your overall outlook on life and kicking those negative thoughts to the curb.
- Write down negative thoughts that reoccur throughout the day in a journal. Recognizing the negative thoughts that plague will help focus your efforts and greatly speed up the process of becoming a positive thinker.
- Speak positive affirmations to yourself throughout the day, but remember that you want to encourage, not lie to yourself. “I can exercise and feel better about myself–I know I can do it” is an example of positive self-talk. Don’t repeat things you know are completely false (for example, “I am thin” when you are 50 pounds overweight), which can have a reverse effect and further your negative thinking.
- Jot down a list of short-term goals, but don’t strive for perfection. Focus on simply accomplishing each task, and celebrate your efforts whether they are successful or not. Having goals fosters hope and gives purpose–two things that are important in living a positive and joyful life.
- Connect with positive people and avoid individuals who are negative. According to Psychology Today, encouraging and uplifting people in your life can act as “buffers against the damaging effects of disappointments and setbacks.”
- Volunteer in your community. When you spend too much time dwelling on your own problems, it is easy to become absorbed in stress and negativity. By helping other people, you can free your thoughts and feel good about contributing.
- Exercise regularly to stay physically and mentally fit. Exercising releases endorphin’s, which are your body’s way of relieving pain and making you feel relaxed. According to a study published in the journal “Psychosomatic Medicine” in 2000, exercising for 30 minutes three times a week is just as effective as taking prescription medication for depression.