Every March 9th we observe National Get over It Day. This is a day when we can practice how to overcome the big and little difficulties in life. Maybe you got into an argument, had a stressful day at work, didn’t get the grades you expected in school, have a rebellious child you don’t know how to handle, are in a pinch financially, etc.
At the same time, there are probably a lot of good things happening in your life as well. When we look for it, there are many things to be happy about and to be grateful for: the sunshine outside, a kind gesture from someone, helping those around you, your health, etc.
You can choose to stop ruminating on those negative vibes starting today! You can put your 2020 positive glasses on!
Positive thinking is a tool to create and maintain good mental health. When you spend more time thinking about all the good things happening in your life, you naturally spend less time in negative thoughts.
Positive thinking reduces your risk of depression and anxiety. Positive people are more likely to use healthy coping mechanisms and stay away from destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, self-harm or eating disorders. For example, if a person is having problems at work, positive thinking helps find ways to make the environment more enjoyable or get a new job instead of ruminating on work stress.
Positive thinking can help you cultivate healthy relationships. Think about it, would you like to be around someone with a positive disposition and who is able to look at the silver linings, or someone reminding you of everything that is going wrong?
We can act as a light for others who are struggling and need a “pick me up”. We can choose to surround ourselves with others who uplift us and help us see the sunshine when we are in a dark place.
Healthy and supportive relationships are a big protective factor we can use to overcome and cope with our mental health issues.
Your body also needs positivity!
People who tend to have a positive outlook experience better physical health. Our mind and body are interconnected and always interacting. A positive perspective can encourage our bodies to have a strong immune system.
- People who focus on the positive tend to live longer than those who would describe their glass as half-empty. They get through health challenges like cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes with fewer complications and are more likely to survive.
- Optimists have less overall inflammation than pessimists. This means that the aging process goes more smoothly and they are less likely to develop heart disease and other illnesses.
- People who have a positive attitude get better sleep, eat better, and exercise more than those who have a negative attitude. All of these self-care activities lend to better physical and mental health. For example, sleep deficiency can be linked to anxiety and getting enough exercise has been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- One study showed that people with HIV who were taught positive coping skills had lower virus loads, tended to take their medication more reliably, and felt more in control of their illnesses than those who were simply given supportive counseling.
What if I am a pessimist?
Some people naturally tend to expect the worse out of a situation or think about worst-case scenarios in order to be “prepared”. People suffering from anxiety and depression struggle daily with negative and self-defeating thoughts because it is part of their condition. Also, always being happy is not realistic. Difficult things will happen in life that will cause sadness, hopelessness, etc.
The majority of these thoughts are a product of cognitive distortions, discussed in our last post. These thoughts might seem realistic but they are actually based on emotion– not facts or evidence. When we are caught in these distortions our minds tend to expect the worse and make reality seem worse than it actually is. This is when positive thinking can be greatly beneficial!
Positive thinking is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. The important thing is effort and consistency.
Think about when you go start going to the gym. The first time it feels unfamiliar and difficult and the results are not immediate. You look at yourself and notice you haven’t gained any muscle. Somedays you may have to push yourself to keep up with your training.
However, you know that if you keep going, over time you will see and feel the results of your hard work. Months after you started working out you have a toned body, you eat healthier, feel more energy throughout your day, and you’re proud to show off.
Mental health and positive thinking are quite similar. When you practice positive thinking regularly, it might not always be successful, but your perspective towards your world starts changing. You start thinking of everything that can go RIGHT and feel confident to take on challenges.
It is a skill that needs constant practice and is flexible enough for you to mold it to your needs. For example: when you get into an argument instead of thinking of all the things you said wrong, you start actively looking for solutions and compromises.
TIPS TO THINK POSITIVELY
Be thankful for the good things that you have. Your family, friends, coworkers, community. Be grateful for all the little things, like the fact that you have access to drinking water. Little things that we take for granted can be a great source of gratitude.
DON’T MINIMIZE YOUR SUCCESSES
Recognize your efforts and talents when achieving a goal. We have a tendency to downplay our achievements, but we need to learn to celebrate ourselves and be our own cheerleaders.
Avoid White or black mindset
This kind of mindset limits our ability to be happy and undervalues our efforts. White or black thinking leads to seeing all bad when something is not perfect. Even in imperfection, things can be successful and worth it.
FOCUS on your strenghts
Dedicate a day to each of your strengths and practice them to develop ways to use them effectively. Take advantage of all your talents to make your day better
Generate positive emotions
Choose a song, picture or video that makes you feel good! This is a way to take a break from anything that is going on in your life and can help you laugh a little.
picture your best future
Use visualization to help you achieve your goals. Each day visualize the best day you can have and include as many details as you can. See what you’re wearing, how you’re feeling, where are you, what are you doing. Include all five senses. You want to immerse yourself in this experience.
If you need help relaxing and creating positive thoughts, we can help! Our meditation room is a comfortable and safe place to explore your mental health. We offer enhanced meditation with our David Delight Pro AVE and CES machine. This equipment will guide your brain to a meditative state and stimulate your brain to generate more positive thinking.
If you’re interested you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (801)224-1103 for your FREE appointment for our meditation room.