Whether it’s how you were raised, part of your genetics, or a conscious decision, it’s obvious that some people think more positively than others. Have you noticed that life seems to go more smoothly for positive people? There is great power in positive thinking, and it’s not just about feeling happier or being more optimistic. While these are great side effects of positive thinking, the benefits of it go much further and will help you achieve greater success in your life.
If being happier isn't a good enough reason to work on increasing your positive thinking, I’m sure that some of the following benefits will sway you to want to see the glass as half-full.
Recent studies have shown that positive thinking is directly linked to your brain's reward system and pleasure stimulus. This means that once your mind feels the pleasure that positive thinking or happiness brings, it's going to reward itself in the hope of receiving more of this type of feeling.
This creates a snowball effect on the brain, and once you start thinking positively, your brain isn't going to want you to stop. It will reward you with feel-good hormones to encourage more positive behavior so it can feel better more often. This manifests in a variety of ways, including how you interact with others and increased optimism.
Sticking with scientific facts, positive thinking has been proven to influence brain growth. Specifically, it's been linked to stimulating the growth of neural connections in the brain. Yes, these connections grow whether you think positively or not, but positive thinkers’ neural connections grow at a faster rate.
As you age, your brain’s abilities to develop these connections inevitably start to slow down. This means that positive thinkers will be able to function more effectively for longer. Further, thinking positively has been linked to improved output, analysis, and thought processing in addition to generally being more alert.
One reason that positive thinkers can solve complex problems more efficiently is that they see more options to consider. When your thoughts are negative, you are focused on a poor outcome. On the contrary, positive thinkers are more open to considering a variety of results. This allows your brain to think of broader scenarios to find a solution to your problem.
Just as positive thinking helps you see more solutions, it also helps you see more opportunities in your life. I’ve shared before how your thoughts are what lead to action or inaction; those who think positively can see the world as a better place where they can achieve anything they desire. On the other hand, negative thinking often leads people to believe that the world is a place where their current circumstances are the only circumstances that they'll ever realize.
While Positive Thinkers use positive thoughts as a platform to take the leap and strive to achieve their dreams (aka take action), those who think negatively will use their negative thoughts to limit what they do, which ultimately stops them from growing. And, just like positive thinking snowballs, so can negative thoughts, where one just leads to the next.
Now that you see why thinking positively is so essential for your success, I'd like to share three ways you can become a more positive person. Some people do seem to be born with a greater sense of positivity, but that doesn't mean that it isn't something that you can learn yourself.
The first thing that you need to know about increasing your positivity is that optimism is not the same as positivity. This can be confusing because they seem to be the same thing. However, optimists can often blindly look for only the good, while positive thinkers typically see the whole spectrum of options and choose to focus on the good things rather than the bad.
Ignoring the bad completely can be detrimental to your health and mental clarity. There's a difference between someone who's blindly optimistic to the point of harm, and someone that's realistic about what could go wrong and what could go right. Finding this kind of balance is important, especially if you have a tendency to have more negative thoughts than positive ones. Rather than going all out and trying to be as optimistic as possible, learn how to recognize the good and the bad of a situation before you consciously turn your focus on the positive aspects of the situation at hand.
Volunteering is a good way to get out of your own head and focus on others and how you can help them. The receiver benefits of course, but so does the person volunteering! When you volunteer, you’ll experience increased connection with others and a sense of accomplishment or purpose. They both improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety. If you ever find yourself in a negative thinking cycle, find a way to get out in your community to help others and clear your mind.
By now you should know that this is one of my favorite tips: cultivate a gratitude practice. Every day, write down what you're grateful for. Either first thing in the morning or last thing at night, take five minutes to write down everything you’re grateful for the previous day or the day you just had.
This will help you become more conscious of the positive details in your life because you know you’ll have to write them down later. It will encourage you to see that your life has many amazing pieces to it, and with practice you’ll learn to see even more of them.
Another way to shift your mindset from negative to positive is to be kinder to the people around you. When you're trying to be more positive, it's essential to create a positive environment and kindness makes a big difference. When you’re kinder to others, you’ll start to see how you interact with the world and how your bit of kindness can improve the day of others, too.
As you practice thinking more positively, you’ll decrease your mental clutter and give you more clarity, as well as improve your health, your happiness, and your relationships. This type of holistic result is one reason I decided to become a Certified High Performance Coach. I want to help people have an Extraordinary Life, not just improve one part of it. Sure, you can be a super successful entrepreneur, but if you have to ignore your family and relationships to do so, is it still a success? Not in my eyes, anyway.
Next week I’ll be sharing how to improve your focus to regain control of your mind so you can be more consistent in whatever you want to do.
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