What Is Positive Thinking?

man thoughtfulFor part one (the introduction) to the Power of Positive Thinking series, go here.

René Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.”

Are you thinking good thoughts? What and who you are begins with a thought. The mind is a powerful tool that can make or break your life and your success. You can use your mind to fuel success at nearly anything, change your life for the better and improve your relationships. But what exactly is positive thinking? Is it simply putting on a happy face or does it involve more than that?

Positive thinking is basically your mental attitude. It’s an attitude in which you always expect good results. In other words, it’s the process of creating thoughts that can transform energy into reality. A positive attitude looks for happiness, health and happy endings at every turn.

More and more people will tell you they got where they are because of their positive thinking lifestyle. In fact, a person who faces her life with a positive attitude will almost always be more successful in both her career and her personal relationships than the negative thinker.

Positive thinking isn’t the act of hiding from life’s tough or unpleasant situations. In fact, positive thinking means you approach those situations in a more productive and positive way, instead of with a negative attitude. You believe the best is going to happen. As we discussed in the introduction to this series, you are optimistic!

Negative people are worriers. They believe the worst will happen no matter what.

Positive thinking begins with self-talk: the mental conversations you have with yourself all the time.

Negative self-talk leads to a pessimistic outlook on life, while a positive outlook leaves you an optimist.

Positive thinking isn’t the idea that you see the world through rose-colored glasses by ignoring the negative things in life. Positive thinking means having a positive outlook, but you don’t ignore the bad things. It involves making the best out of a bad situation, or trying to see the best in others. When life hands you lemons…

Researcher and positive psychologist Martin Seligman said: “The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder.”

There are health benefits that come from positive thinking as well.

Some of them include:

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

Positive thinking is more than just smiling and avoiding bad situations. Positive thinking is how you see every situation in a positive way. It reduces the stress on your body that comes from negative thinking. An optimistic and positive attitude leads to healthier lifestyles, both physically and mentally.

Please come back next Monday for the conclusion to this short series, “Why Positive Thinking Works.”

2 Replies to “What Is Positive Thinking?”

  • Great post, Trish. Positive thinking can get to be a habit it you let it be. Doesn’t mean you have to be a Pollyanna, but you do have to give the positive side a chance.

  • Great series and perfect that it is on Mondays when it’s sometimes hard to feel upbeat about the week ahead. So much of life really is about attitude and that’s something you can control.

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