Yet in even the most difficult of times, the benefits of positive thinking can help both your mind and body. Luckily, thinking positively is a habit we can train ourselves to do. Research shows it has a positive impact on health, too. Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health.
Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Greater resistance to the common cold
This post will cover ways to encourage positive thinking in the workplace and how it impacts the health of individuals, colleagues, and the overall workplace.
Here’s a look at how the benefits of positive thinking impact more than just your mind:
What is Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking isn’t merely wishing away or ignoring the bad, ugly, and unpleasant aspects of life. It is, however, about changing your attitude to look at and respond to the more positive aspects of any given situation.
Examples of positive thinking:
- Being happy for another person’s success
- Feeling joyful and thankful even when you have little
- Having a good time even when things don’t go as planned
It’s easy to get dragged down by negative thoughts. Just think of the last time you sat with a bunch of naysayers who had nothing but negative outlooks and things to say — how much joy did you feel during or after that conversation? Probably not a whole lot.
Even those who tend to be pessimistic thinkers can change their mindset and self-talk into a more positive experience on a daily basis. The positive thinking impact can be great on your mind, health, and life.
What Are The Biggest Benefits of Positive Thinking?
Not surprisingly, research is uncovering that being positive can have a profound impact on your life.
The health benefits of positive thinking may include:
- Increased life span
- Lower depression risk
- Better pain tolerance
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better coping skills during stressful times
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Another reason to think positive? It can make you less susceptible to upper respiratory illnesses like the flu. One study found those positive thinkers who were exposed to the flu and common cold were less likely to get sick and reported fewer symptoms.
Even if your family history is dotted with conditions like heart disease, a positive outlook can make an impact! John Hopkins Medicine reported those with a positive outlook on life but with a family history of heart disease were “one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.”
The study looked at energy levels, anxiety levels, cheerfulness, and the participant’s overall satisfaction with health and life. Other studies have even found that a positive outlook can improve outcomes for a variety of other health conditions, including traumatic brain injury, stroke, and brain tumors.
Talk about a major impact from making an attitude adjustment!
How Positive Thinking Impacts the Workplace
If you’ve ever worked in a place where the minute you walked in and someone said, “Watch out, the boss is in a mood today”, you know exactly how one’s attitude can impact a whole workplace.
That’s precisely how positive thinking can impact the workplace, too.
Here’s a look at what positive thinking brings to a workplace:
- Boosts productivity - The saying “Misery loves company” is true and the faster workers can get out of that sort of mindset, the better. Negativity never makes anyone feel better. In fact, it’s a lot harder to work and get things done if you’re feeling weighed down by negative thinking.
- Increases job satisfaction - If your coworkers are enjoying their work and throwing themselves into it with gusto, that feeling is contagious. Even if you don’t 100% love your job duties, having an upbeat attitude can make even mundane tasks feel more satisfying.
- Reduces stress - Has griping ever made anyone feel better? Usually, it leads to more complaining and negativity. When you learn to cope with work setbacks and challenges with positive thinking, a solution is usually more readily available. If you’re more relaxed about problem-solving, you reduce the stress hormone known as cortisol in your body. Too much cortisol means suppressed immunity and bodily inflammation.
Attitudes can easily rub off on colleagues, which is why a positive dialogue can make all the difference. Being positive can influence coworkers and is a much more pleasant experience.
Tips to Think on a More Positive Frequency
Even if you were born into a negative environment or tend to think pessimistically, you have the power to change it, research says. It’s an ongoing practice that can make even the most stressful of days feel a little bit lighter. It does take regular conditioning to change mindsets and attitudes, but it can be done.
Here’s a look at some ways to think on a more positive frequency:
The workplace is a prime example of where negativity can run rampant. Gossip, firings, hirings, heavy workloads...the list goes on. But, your attitude is one aspect you can change to make work feel a little less stressful and negative.
- Change the perspective - When work gets stressful, it’s easy to gripe and bemoan the workload. But what if you changed your perspective? Instead, consider how you have work and a steady paycheck. Think of the homeless person on the street corner or how your cousin has been out of work for months. Then reframe your thoughts with gratitude.
- Skip blaming - How often do you place blame (either internally or aloud) on yourself for factors outside of your control? For example, your boss declines your idea. It could be there is already something in the works, a colleague beat you to it, it was tried before and didn’t work, etc. Think beyond yourself and don’t add unnecessary suffering.
- Smile - When in doubt, just smile more. Even a fake smile can lower your stress in intense situations. Need a lift after a hard meeting? Google some cute cat videos or look at a picture of your kid. Smile away and feel the stress and negatively melt.
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In Personal Situations
If you tend to be negative at work, you can bet it probably spills into your home life and other personal situations. Challenges are sure to meet you when you least expect it, but how you tackle it matters.
Here’s how to think more positively:
- Don’t predict the worst - When it feels like life is beating you up (the negative saying, “when it rains, it pours” often applies here) it can feel tough to get out of the trenches. Say your car won’t start, your dog gets loose, and your high heel breaks — all on the same morning. You can go down the rabbit hole of negativity, or you can laugh it off and say to yourself, “Things can’t get worse. They won’t get worse. It’s uphill from here.”
- Empower yourself - Look at areas where you need to change your mindset. Whether your car just broke down for the third time this month, your partner broke up with you, or you lost your job, you can respond in a variety of ways. How will you react? Remember you can control your reaction if nothing else. That in and of itself can be empowering.
- Meditate - This activity has time and time again been found to help with a variety of conditions including anxiety and negative thinking! Research found those who reflect through meditation have more positive reactions daily than those who don’t meditate regularly. Guided meditations can be particularly helpful for beginners!
- Work on resilience - Resiliency is a key to getting through the toughest of times. It can also help you maintain your balance throughout daily life. Resilience is getting back up on your feet quickly and pressing on and adapting in hard situations. Think about ways you can adapt and move on quickly from setbacks, hard times, and challenges to maneuver through them easily when another one arises.
No doubt, life can throw you some major curveballs. But it’s all in how you handle it. You can have a good cry, complain about it to friends, and then move along. Wallowing and continuously revisiting it or thinking more bad is coming your way is one way to drain your energy and health. Lean on the power of positive thinking to better tackle life.
It’s Time to Start Reaping the Benefits of Positive Thinking
As you can see, positive thinking can change your life and your health.
There’s no doubt that the benefits of positive thinking surely outweigh being pessimistic. Negative thinking will only get you so far. It will also have an impact on your health and relationships if you let it take over too much.
When you take the steps to daily positive thinking, you guard your mind against letting negativity intrude. You’re the gatekeeper of your thoughts, so it’s important to only let in what you want to shape your life and well-being.
Every day, make it a practice to think positively. You won’t become Pollyanna overnight.
By using the above tips, you can take the next steps to start seeing how positivity can impact your life. With ongoing practice, you will start to more easily welcome positive thinking and see the benefits of it on your health and life.
Here’s to thinking more positively!
How do you train your mind to be positive? Share your tips and hacks in the comments below!