5 ways to think more positively (2023)

You've probably heard a thing or two about it by nowBenefits of positive thinking. Research suggests that positive thinkers have better stress management skills, stronger immunity, and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

While it's not a panacea for health, adopting an optimistic outlook instead of dwelling on negative thoughts can benefit your overall mental well-being. Fortunately, there are things you can do to learn to think more positively.

How to be more positive

Benefits of positive thinking

Being a positive thinker can have a number of important health benefits. In one study, researchers found that people with a more optimistic attitude had a lower risk of dying from a range of serious diseases, including:

  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • Infection
  • heart disease
  • lung cancer
  • Ovarian carcinoma
  • diseases of the respiratory tract
  • stroke

Studies have also shown that optimists are both physically and mentally healthier than their more pessimistic counterparts. For example, research has shown that more positive thinking is linked to improved immunity,increased stress resistance,and lower depression rates.

How to think more positively

So what can you do about itBecome a more positive thinker? A few common strategies include learning how to recognize negative thoughts and replacing those thoughts with more positive ones. Although it may take time, you may find that positive thinking becomes more natural.

What is positive thinking?

Avoid negative self-talk

Self-talk involves the things you mentally say to yourself. Think of it as the inner voice in your head analyzing how you behave and how you interact with the world around you. If your self-talk focuses on itnegative thoughts, your self-esteem may suffer.

So what can you do to combat these negative self-talk patterns? One way to break the pattern is to notice when you're having these thoughts and then actively work to change them.

When you start thinking critical thoughts about yourself, take a moment to stop and evaluate.

Paying attention to your self-talk is a good place to start when trying to think more positively. If you find yourself prone to negative self-talk, you can look for ways to change your thought patterns and redefine your interpretations of your own behavior.

Reduce stress and improve your life with positive self-talk

(Video) How To Reprogram Your Mind (for Positive Thinking)

Try humor

It can be difficult to stay optimistic when there is little humor or lightheartedness in your life. Even when you face challenges, it's important to keep an open mind for laughter and fun.

Sometimes simply recognizing the potential humor in a situation can reduce your stress and brighten your outlook.Looking for sources of humorWatching a funny sitcom or reading jokes online can help you think more positive thoughts.

cultivate optimism

Learning to think positively is like strengthening a muscle; The more you use it, the stronger it gets. Researchers believe yourexplanatory style, or how you explain events, depends on whether you're an optimist or a pessimist.

optimiststend to use positive explanations. If you attribute good things that happen to your skill and effort, then you are probably an optimist.

Pessimists, on the other hand, usually have a negative attribution style. If you attribute these good events to external forces, you are probably thinking rather pessimistically.

The same principles apply to explaining negative events. Optimists tend to view bad or unfortunate events as isolated incidents beyond their control, while pessimists see such things more frequently and often blame themselves.

By taking a moment to analyze the event and making sure you are giving yourself credit for the good things that are due you and not blaming yourself for things that are out of your control, you can begin to to become more optimistic.

5 steps to become an optimist

Practice gratitude

Consider keeping aJournal of Gratitudewhere you can write regularly about the things in life that you are grateful for. Research has found that writing down grateful thoughts can improve both your optimism and overall well-being.

If you find yourself dwelling on more negative thoughts or feelings, spend a few minutes writing down a few things in life that bring you joy. This simple activity can help shift your focus to a more optimistic mindset.

Keep practicing

There is a lunchtime off switch for positive thinking. Even if you are a born optimist, it can be difficult to think positively when faced with challenging situations. As with any goal, it is important to stick with it for the long term. Even if you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, you can look for ways to minimize negative self-talk and develop a more optimistic attitude.

Finally, don't be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family.

When you start to engage with negative thinking, call a friend or family member you can count on for positive encouragement and feedback.

(Video) 5 Ways to Think More Positively

Remember that in order to think positively, you need to take care of yourself. Investing energy in things you enjoy and surrounding yourself with optimistic people are just two ways to encourage positive thinking in your life.

When to seek help

If you're having a hard time thinking positively and instead feel like negative thoughts or emotions are taking over your life, you should talk to your doctor or therapist. Negative emotions that cause stress or interfere with your ability to function normally can be a sign of a mental illness, such as mental illnessDepressionorAngst.

A doctor or psychotherapist can assess your symptoms and recommend treatments that may help.psychotherapyand medications can be used to treat symptoms and improve your ability to think more positively.

A word from Verywell

Learning how to think positively is not a quick fix, and it can take time to master. Analyzing your own thinking habits and finding new ways to incorporate a more positive attitude into your life can be a good start to adopting a more positive thinking approach.

Positive thinking apps

7 sources

Verywell Mind uses only quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to back up the facts in our articles. Read ourseditorial processto learn more about how we fact-check our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Boehm JK, Kubzansky LD.The content of the heart: the link between positive mental well-being and cardiovascular health.Psychological Bulletin, 2012;138(4):655-91. doi:10.1037/a0027448

    (Video) 5 ways to be a more positive person

  2. Kim ES, Hagan KA, Grodstein F, DeMeo DL, De Vivo I, Kubzansky LD.Optimism and cause-specific mortality: a prospective cohort study.Am J Epidemiol. 2017;185(1):21-29. doi:10.1093/aje/kww182

  3. Segerstrom SC, Sephton SE.Optimistic expectations and cell-mediated immunity: the role of positive affect.Psychological Science. 2010;21(3):448-455. doi:10.1177/0956797610362061

  4. Naseem Z, Khalid R.Positive thinking in coping with stress and health outcomes: literature review.Journal of research and reflections in education, 2010;4(1):42-61.

  5. Santos V, Paes F, Pereira V, et al.The Role of Positive Emotions and Contributions of Positive Psychology in the Treatment of Depression: Systematic Review.Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2013;9:221-237. Published November 28, 2013. doi:10.2174/1745017901309010221

  6. Gillham JE, Shatte AJ, Reivich KJ, Seligman MdEP.Optimism, pessimism and explanatory style. In: Chang EC, ed.Optimism & Pessimism: Implications for Theory, Research and Practice.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2001:53-75. doi:10.1037/10385-003

  7. Samson RA, Samson LA.Gratitude and Wellbeing: The Benefits of Appreciation.Psychiatrie (Edgmont). 2010;7(11):18-22.

5 ways to think more positively (1)

VonKendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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