Great world leaders of the past and present and successful people from various walks of life have attested to the importance of positive thinking and the role it played in their own success stories. Many rags to riches stories have been attributed to the magical influence of positive thinking.
Positive thinking is considered the best gift you can give yourself. It ensures that you lead a stress-free life and help you realize your potential. Research and studies have proven time and again that you tend to achieve far more in life with a positive mindset.
However, the “glass half full” approach has its own naysayers. There are some cynics, thankfully a minority, who equate positive thinking to an unrealistic or head-in-the-clouds approach. Positive thinking to them is impractical, fanciful, feel-good, or merely daydreams.
Is that so? Is there any truth in this? Can positive thinking really make dreams come true?
This article delves deep into the topic and comes up with some definite answers. Here you will find why successful people swear by positive thinking.
What does science have to say about positive thinking?
Positive thinking or staying positive features at the top of every list featuring things you can or should do to improve the quality of your life but you have a hard time implementing. Others in this include learning from mistakes, changing your mindset, practicing gratitude, and letting go of things you cannot control. Easier said than done.
It is true that for a regular person with a normal mindset, switching to a positive mindset would be a monumental task. Before traveling on that path, it is natural to wonder whether it is worth the effort.
The debate about the benefits of positive thinking has been going on for a long time and this has led to numerous researches and studies.
Negative thinking puts you in a crisis mode. It blocks out the rest of the world and narrows down your focus to what you consider is the best option. Positive thinking does the exact opposite of this. It broadens your mind and brings into focus more possibilities.
By expanding your horizon, a positive mindset prompts you to attempt newer things and thus helps in developing new skills. On the other hand, negative thinking, by limiting your choices, dampens your progress in life.
Often positive thinking is referred to as the soft, warm, and fuzzy feeling and is easily dismissed as a desirable attribute but too difficult to adopt. It is much more than being happy or having an upbeat attitude.
Every action and thought leads to the release of chemicals or hormones in the body. It has been proven scientifically that a positive mindset releases the happy hormone serotonin in the brain. The level of cortisol, the stress hormone decreases. The level of the feel-good hormone dopamine increases.
All these chemical activities in the body help in raising cognitive ability, creative thinking, and faster processing of information. It widens the attention span and adopts an inclusive approach. It enables your ability to think and enhances your problem-solving capabilities.
And all these are the recipes for success. When your brain is working at an optimum level, you will be more productive and making the right decisions. It is only a matter of time for you to succeed in your pursuits. All you need is perseverance to stay on track.
Negative thinking prevents you from considering more options, thus narrowing down your chance of success. It releases stress hormones and brings down the level of happy hormones.
The verdict is plain and simple. The benefits of a positive attitude are neither delusion nor illusion. It is a fact beyond all doubt.
The benefits of positive thinking
If we try to list the advantages of having a positive mind, it would take forever to draw up the list. It would be too long.
Here are the best among all the benefits that positive thinking can do for you.
1. Improved mental health
Mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression are directly linked to negative thinking and there is less likelihood of positive thinkers or optimists falling prey to them. However, it needs to be emphasized that serious psychological concerns such as depression cannot be healed with positive thoughts. Developing an optimistic mindset acts as a preventive in such cases.
Positive thinking helps us see the bright side of things. When your approach to life is positive and optimistic, the way you perceive and deal with daily events will be constructive. This ensures positive emotions and in turn a healthy and happy mind.
Whether you are an optimistic or pessimistic person is not set in stone; all is not lost if you fall into the wrong group. With belief, desire, and effort, you can change your mindset. Meditation and gratitude are the two of the best tools available to achieve this.
2. Improved physical health
The undeniable connection of mind and body leads to the health of the one affecting the other. And it works both ways. Even as poor mental health has a direct impact on your bodily health, it is also possible to use the connection to improve physical health by enhancing your mental health. A positive outlook is the best cure not just for anxiety and depression, it has proved its efficacy in keeping illnesses at bay and in the event of falling sick, speeding up the recovery process.
Positive thinkers enjoy overall better health and are known to live longer. Their immune systems are fighting fit and in excellent shape. This means they are less susceptible to common illnesses like the common cold, skin infections, and digestive disorders. As thinking positively reduces stress and anxiety levels, it offers good protection from heart diseases.
3. Reduced stress levels
In our daily life, it is virtually impossible to avoid stressful situations. However, how these affect us depends on how we perceive and deal with such situations. Positive thinking acts as a filter for such emotions. When we encounter events that trigger stress and anxiety, equipped with positive thinking, the impact of such negative events is reduced to a minimum.
Positive thinking gives us an optimistic approach and mental strength to overcome stress-inducing situations in life. It is the best coping mechanism we can hope for against stress and anxiety.
4. Improved relations
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.” – Mary Lou Retton
It is no mystery that people tend to gravitate towards others who are positive, optimistic, and happy. The fundamental reason for this is that it is our basic instinct. Happiness is considered highly contagious. Researches have proved that a person’s happiness depends on the company they keep.
All these lead to one outcome – better social life. Positive thinkers attract more people and tend to have more friends. The infectious nature of the mindset makes others positive and happy too if they are not already so. This circle keeps getting bigger and wider and so does the relationships and social life.
5. Better chance of success
As discussed earlier, positive thinking expands our mindset and allows us to see and try more choices. It encourages you to keep going even in the event of initial setbacks. Patience, persistence, perseverance, and determination are all direct consequences and effects of positive thinking. And all these are the vital components for success.
Optimists are less likely to abandon their goals when faced with roadblocks and hurdles in their path. They are more likely to have a hopeful attitude about their future and pursue and realize their dreams.
How to cultivate positive thinking?
With the benefits piling up for positive thinking, let us look at ways to cultivate the mindset.
- Meditation: This helps to stop the negative self-talk and remove negativity from your mind.
- Practice Gratitude: This offers an instant boost of positivity.
- Company you keep: Spending more time with positive people rubs off their attitude on you.
- Affirmations: These simple positive statements can change your outlook in no time.
- Mindfulness Exercises: It is important to focus on the present moment to get the best out of life.
- Help others: It benefits both the giver and the receiver.
- Healthy lifestyle: Healthy body translates to a healthy mind.
- Humor: Laughter is the best medicine.
- Self-motivation: Pat yourself on the back because you deserve it. Here are 20 positive things to say about yourself.
- See failures as learning experiences: After all, you are human and to err is human.
You may also want to look at our article on how to attract positive energy from the universe or our step-by-step guide to changing negative thoughts to positive ones.
Positive thinking doesn’t mean ignoring the hard facts of life. Blind optimism can be as harmful as negative emotions, if not even more. It can make you overestimate your abilities and raise your hopes sky-high only to fail you ultimately. When you take on more than you can handle, it would naturally lead to disappointment, stress, and anxiety.
Maybe this is what the cynics see when they pronounce their disapproval. Even the best of things has a good side and a bad one. All you need to do is to embrace the good to get the best out of it. This rule applies to positive thinking as well.