page title icon The Science Behind Positive Thinking

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Have you ever considered the power of positive thinking? I’m a huge believer in focusing on the positive things in life. The best results occur with a strong mindset and an optimistic attitude. While this mindset comes mostly from my personal experiences, there is a science behind positive thinking. 

What Is Positive Thinking?

Before we dive into the science behind positive thinking, let’s first unpack the term. What exactly does it mean to think positively? Positive thinking is a mindset. It’s a way of thinking optimistically so you can approach any situation in a positive light. Rather than viewing a stressful or unpleasant situation negatively, positive thinking sheds light on the issue. It can also help increase productivity and change the way you live your life. 

Importance of a Positive Attitude

Have you ever met a negative person? You may notice a general change in your attitude as you spend more time around that person. Spending time around negativity can decrease your joy. You may begin feeling more depressed and show less interest in things you enjoy. However, research shows thinking positive thoughts can improve your mental and physical health. It may lower stress and give you a better outlook on life. When you combine a positive outlook on life with healthy meditation and wellness practices, you can improve your health and wellness and work toward success. 

The Science Behind Positive Thinking

There is a lot of research and thought on the health benefits of positive thinking. In fact, some studies show significant health benefits from thinking regular “happy thoughts.” 

Positive Attitude and the Brain

Did you know the brain releases chemicals when you think? Whether you think positive or negative thoughts, the brain releases chemicals that produce specific emotions. These neurotransmitters control the pleasure center in the brain. 

Happy thoughts live in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and travel throughout the body as the brain releases serotonin to make you feel calm and happy. The more you have a positive attitude, the more you will feel happy. 

positive thinking

Benefits of a Positive Attitude on Mental Health

To check your positive thinking, ask yourself if you see the glass as half full or half empty. Changing your outlook on life can have positive effects on your mental health. Thinking positively is essential to reducing stress and overcoming adversity in your life. 

While it’s impossible to avoid every difficult season in life, it is possible to change your outlook and make a positive shift. Choosing a positive attitude has many benefits for mental health. 

  • Helps you cope better in stressful situations
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Reduces pain in the body
  • Boosts longevity

Many people struggle with mental health because of how they view themselves. Perhaps they lack confidence in their workplace, or they’re dealing with chronic health issues.  Visualizing positive outcomes and repeating affirming mantras can encourage you to pursue a positive attitude (and positive change). The more you focus on the good things in your life, the less you will entertain negative thoughts.  

A Positive Attitude Affects Physical Health

A positive attitude doesn’t just impact mental health. It can also change your physical health. Focusing on the sun behind the clouds can increase your resilience when things get tough in your life. Since focusing on the positive can reduce your stress, practicing positivity can increase your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of a heart attack. 

Positive thinking can also increase immune function. Reducing stress on the body prevents the excessive release of the cortisol hormone which can lead to chronic health issues. Thinking positive thoughts can prevent frequent illness and encourage you to find new activities that boost your health and wellness. 

Positive Thinking Changes Relationships

If you find it challenging to keep a positive attitude in relationships, you are not alone. Many people struggle to live in harmony, which can create extra stress and anxiety. However, practicing positivity will increase communication skills which will strengthen your relationships. 

Optimism can lead to deeper communication and closeness in any relationship. Very few people want to build a relationship with a negative person. It’s hard to cultivate a healthy relationship in a sea of negativity. Learning to focus on the positive things can change your attitude and draw others closer to you, deepening your relationships.

positive thinking

Strategies For Cultivating a Positive Attitude

Now that we’ve explored the science behind a positive attitude let’s talk about how to cultivate a positive attitude. Practicing positivity will open up new opportunities for growth and give you the confidence you need for success. 

Mindfulness and Meditation

When people think about mindfulness and meditation, they often think they won’t have enough time. The truth is that meditation doesn’t require as much time as one may think. It’s also an essential part of cultivating a positive attitude. In order to cultivate positive thoughts, you must take time to practice. Mediation helps you do just that. 

Start the day with a few minutes of quiet reflection and practice having a silent mind. Focus on your breathing and commit to positive emotions for the day. 

Gratitude Practice

Practicing gratitude is another important part of cultivating a positive attitude. The more you talk about or write down the things that bring you joy, the more you will focus on those things. Try writing a “thank you” note to a friend or listing your blessings in a journal. You can even think about these things in your meditation practice. 

Positive Self-Talk

As I mentioned above, many people struggle with cultivating positivity because of how they view themselves. If this sounds like you, it’s possible to make a shift in your thinking. It just requires consistent practice. Start by practicing positive self-talk. Including affirmations is a great start. 

Think about your goals and why you want to reach them. Encourage yourself to reach your goals even when life gets tough. This practice reduces self-sabotage in your goals and encourages you to cultivate more positivity. 

Surrounding Yourself With Positive People

If you want to cultivate positivity, surrounding yourself with positive people will give you the boost you need to keep practicing. As we saw earlier, negative people can crush your spirit and increase anxiety in your life. The more you spend time with these people, the less you will want to focus on positive things. Instead, find your circle of positive people who will encourage you on your journey toward positivity. 

Engaging in Activities That Bring Joy

Everyone has hobbies or activities they enjoy doing. Whether with friends, family, or alone, engaging in activities that make you happy can increase your positivity. Anything that sparks your joy makes you laugh, and that releases endorphins that will help push you toward positive thinking. 

Challenges In Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Now that we’ve explored the science behind a positive attitude and how to cultivate a practice, there are a few other things to consider. Practicing positivity doesn’t mean you will never face tough times or feel tempted to think negative thoughts. Negative self-talk and negative people will show up in your life, and you may feel discouraged. When this happens, return to your practices of gratitude and meditation. While this may not eliminate the issue, it can help you focus on positivity. Don’t let negative people or situations keep you from choosing positivity. 

I hope this post was helpful and encourages you to pursue a life of positive thinking for your health and wellness. Positive thinking not only boosts your mental and physical health, but the benefits spill over into your workplace and relationships.

I have seen the best results in my life when my mindset is strong, and I have an optimistic attitude. While it’s not always easy to maintain a positive outlook, doing the practice as part of your daily life can increase your confidence and shine a light on your future. 

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