Positive Thinking: The Benefits of a Glass Half-Full Mentality
That ‘E’ grade on a test. That ‘sorry you didn’t get the job’ phone call. That ‘I didn’t get into my first choice university’ conversation. All of these things have something in common: a sense of failure. But did you really fail? Do all of these things make you a failure? Even if they all occurred in the same day the answer is still no.
When one thing goes wrong we’ve all felt like life is over. Like you should just give up. Like you’ve messed up your future. But rest assured, you haven’t.
Everything in life can be looked at from various perspectives. Looking at situations in a positive light when they’re not ideal is a really good trait to possess. Turn that ‘I’m so upset I didn’t get the job’ into an ‘I didn’t get the job but now I know what to expect from an interview’ and you’ve already got a head start.
What is positive thinking?
Positive thinking is a mental attitude in which you expect good and favourable results. It doesn’t mean you bury your head in the sand and ignore your problems. It means approaching unpleasant situations in a productive way.
What are the benefits?
Thinking positively and being optimistic has a number of health benefits. It can decrease your risk of an early death by 19%. For people with illnesses, being optimistic can mean less disruption of normal life and minimised distress, and fatigue. Positive thinking can improve your immune system and general health.
Psychology says it can also have the following benefits:
- better ability to cope with difficult life events
- improved self-esteem
- improved life satisfaction
- increased well-being
- better at problem-solving
Thinking positively leads to experiencing positive emotions. Emotions like joy and contentment broaden your mind to possibilities making you open minded.
How to put it into practice
To encourage positive thinking you need to find what you love. Writing down one positive experience from each day is helpful. As is meditation and taking time out to have fun. But really it could be anything. Maybe playing music or sports is more your thing – that works too.
But first things first, how do we avoid negative thinking?:
- All or nothing mentality – Change ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can but I’ll need practice or help with it’.
- Over generalising – having a ‘terrible week’ isn’t defined by 2 or 3 things going ‘wrong’.
- Pick being happy over being right
- Jumping to conclusions – know the full story before making decisions on it.
- Using ‘should’ about yourself – Saying you ‘should’ be something is negative. You’re telling yourself you aren’t good enough and limiting your mindset.
- Taking it personally – if someone criticises your work, they aren’t criticising you.
- Magnifying a problem – take a step back from a situation to determine how important it really is.
- Celebrate your achievements in life no matter how small
- Change your mental filter – see the good in every situation because it does exist!
Keep your glass half full at all times for a more fulfilled lifestyle. And if you can, maybe even fill it up once in a while! 🙂
Martine (@MartineFykin) is a psychology graduate and an aspiring teacher from Anglia Ruskin University. Living in Essex she has a passion for writing, fitness and travelling the world. Check out her LinkedIn here.
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