Sometimes the phrase “positive thinking” generates eye rolls. People often see the term as a bunch of psycho babble and mumbo jumbo. What they don’t realize is that there is a lot of science and research behind the idea that positive thinking has a tangible impact on things such as health, job performance, and skills development.
Positive Thoughts and Developing Skills
Positive thoughts often come from positive emotions. These emotions are often the result of participating activities that bring people joy. Think of a kid in middle school hanging out with friends after school playing basketball. This is a positive activity that results in positive emotions (having fun with friends), and also results in the development of skills, e.g. learning to play basketball, getting in shape, learning sportsmanship, and working through conflicts constructively. However, the association between positive thoughts and skill development lasts longer than any given activity. The more positive thoughts a person has, the more likely they are to seek out resources to help them develop skills, and the more likely they are to actually develop those skills.
Positive Thoughts and Increasing Health
There is a definite connection between positive thinking and physical well-being. People who think positively tend to be more physically active, which of course results in better health. Scientists aren’t sure if the physical activity is the catalyst or the positive thinking, or if it is a combination of both. People who think positively also take less sick days from work, recover more quickly from illness and injury and have much fewer illness-related doctor visits each year.
Positive Thinking and Improved Work Performance
Positive thinkers are better performing and more productive employees. They have better relationships with coworkers and customers, and they are better able to handle problems and stressful situations. There are several reasons for this. First, positive thinkers exude a happy energy that encourages positive interaction with others. Second, they are resilient and energetic. They are also slow to anger, and quick to seek the conflict solution. Better yet, positive thinkers are more confident. This makes them eager to tackle difficult problems, and eager to share new ideas.
Increasing Positive Thinking
It is easy to say that somebody who isn’t a positive thinker should just stop looking at the world through a negative lens. Unfortunately, making this happen isn’t easy at all. Changing negative thought processes is difficult. In fact, many people start feeling depressed already at the beginning of a New Year. However, it is fairly easy to increase an amount of positive messages that one consumes. Just take a moment, take a deep breath and remind yourself of the beautiful and inspiring world around. You can get a little more positivism in your life if you:
• Spend time with people who are upbeat and positive
• Read books that are inspirational
• Watch movies and television shows that are positive or funny
In addition to all of this, you can also work to improve your thinking. It won’t happen overnight, but you will help yourself to become a positive thinker if you simply force yourself to find something positive about a situation when you are tempted to be negative.