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woman laughing 6163885_sFor part one of this series (introduction), go here.

For part two, (what positive thinking is), go here.

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop a positive vision.” ~Dalai Lama

Last week we considered what positive thinking is, and briefly looked at how it affects your health. This week we’ll look at why positive thinking works the way it does.

Can positive thinking improve your life or is it just a pipe dream? Hey now, let’s not be negative!

Positive thinking is very effective at changing your life if you understand what it is and how it works.

Before you put on your rose-colored glasses, you need to realize positive thinking is more than just being a Pollyanna. Psychologists suggest that you focus on things like your belief in your abilities, which helps you come at challenges with a positive approach and make the best of bad situations.

Positive thinkers look at situations realistically while they look for ways to improve things and learn from their experiences.

A lot of research has found that positive thinkers cope differently in their lives than other people do. They are problem solvers who try to improve their lives. If a bad situation can’t be improved then they are more likely than pessimists to move on.

Optimists are more likely to engage in healthy habits that will protect them against disease. They are less likely to smoke, drink heavily or eat poorly. They exercise, sleep well and stick to rehab programs. Optimism is associated with better psychological health. Optimists are less depressed, have less anxiety and face difficult life situations with less distress. Positive thinking has a salutary effect on their bodies, leading to better decision-making and control over situations that optimists may find themselves in.

Positive thinking works by helping the body effectively change how you perceive bad situations in life. Teach your brain to think positively, and more than your thoughts will be affected. Your whole body will react to make you a happier person.

Thank you for reading through this article series. I hope it’s helped you make more favorable choices in how you think about things. Best of luck in all you do. You can do it!

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.”