“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” – Helen Keller
Do you see the world through rose-colored glasses? Or are you more of the “glass half empty” type? Evidence shows that positive thinking and optimism leads to better health and higher levels of happiness in many different aspects of life. Optimistic people simply enjoy life more.
Being optimistic has significant beneficial effects on your health. Mayo Clinic lists some of the health benefits of positive thinking:
– Increased life span
– Lower depression rates
– Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
– Better coping skills during times of stress
– Greater resistance to the common cold
The ability to stay positive during hardship is critical to success in many careers. By looking past the obvious inconvenience of an obstacle and seeing the opportunity within, an optimist is better equipped to handle a crisis. Optimists do not experience stress the same way pessimists do.
In fact, pessimism can be bad for your health. Pessimists tend to report higher rates of depression, lack of motivation, and poor physical health. According to the Positive Psychology Center, studies have linked pessimism with higher rates of infectious disease and earlier mortality.
So how can you become an optimist? You need to first identify moments of negative thinking so you can combat them. Psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen calls these “ANTs”, Automatic Negative Thoughts. Once you have become aware of a negative thought, you must replace it with a positive alternative.
Another important step is to surround yourself with positive people who both inspire and challenge you. Jim Rohn, a self-made millionaire and successful author, says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If the people you normally surround yourself with are usually pessimistic or gloomy, you may be attracting enough negative energy to adversely affect your own mood or wellbeing.
John Bradley Jackson
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