The Power Of Positive Thinking

The “power of positive thinking” is a popular phrase but aside from a few moments of good feelings, what do we really gain?

Positive thinking can be defined as positive imagery, positive self-talk or being optimistic and its power lies in the benefits it bestows upon our health, life, work and our future.

We know from esteemed scientific research that positive thinking reduces the chances of developing stress-related disorders and improves our confidence and our mood.

We also know, thanks to groundbreaking findings from Barbara Fredrickson a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, that the positive emotions associated with positive thinking have the ability to contribute to our future successes.

Termed the "broaden and build" theory, Fredrickson found that experiencing positive emotions enables us to see more possibilities and enhances our ability to develop skills and resources for future use. With a broadened view, we're able to evaluate our past experiences and how they relate to our future. From this position we develop skills that provide useful later on.

How can you make the most of the “broaden and build” theory in your life? Practice positive thinking and bringing positive emotions to yourself. Do whatever it is for you, that makes you feel joyful and contented. Walk in the sun, play music, cook, read, spend time with a certain person.

With so much to gain, why not bring more positive thinking into your life with these six easy strategies:

1. Positive affirmation and visualisation.
Begin your day with positive affirmation. You could talk to yourself in the mirror, “Today will be a good day” or while getting dressed, “I’m going to be awesome today.” Pair this with positive visualisation, visualise only favourable and beneficial situations. Give it a go, even if you feel self conscious, you’d be surprised at how it impacts the rest of your day.

2. Notice the good things, however small.
Each day is not without its obstacles. When you're faced with obstacles, find a benefit to focus on, even if it's only small. For example, if you get delayed on your way to work, focus on enjoying the additional time to listen to your favourite podcast.

3. Fend off bad times with laughter
Find the humour in challenging situations, this helps to prevent a spiral of negative thinking. Remember, even the most trying situations can be looked back on with a little laughter. Persistence will eventually strengthen your mind with positive resilience.

4. Don't Fail, Learn.
Mistakes and set backs happen to all of us, we're only human. Instead of focusing on how you failed, think about what you will do differently next time, what you can learn from this experience.

5. Notice the inner & outer message.
Engage in positive dialogue with others and pay attention to your inner dialogue too.When you catch yourself engaged in negative thoughts or self-talk, stop and replace the negative messages with constructive ones. For example, "I’m not good at this," can be, "I’ll get better with more practice". "Why did I do this," becomes, "Well, that didn’t go according to plan — next time will be better."

6. This moment counts.
A lot of negativity is derived from recalling a past event or the inflated worry of a potential future event. Ground your mind in the present moment and release yourself from unnecessary worry. Smile too, as this helps to think positively.