Research suggests that positive people are more likely to achieve more and live longer! Having a positive attitude can improve our health, give us more energy and boost our immune system. It takes less energy to be positive and happy and we generally feel better about life.
Optimist v pessimism
Do you consider yourself to be one of those optimistic people who looks at good things and expects them to last forever, whilst viewing negative things as only temporary?
Or are you more of a pessimist, who views life other way round? You don’t expect the good things to last and see negative situations as the norm.
Optimists live their lives in the here and now without dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. They are content in all circumstances and don’t expect bad things to happen. If you're an optimist this positive attitude comes naturally but for the pessimist a negative outlook is all they know.
Learning to be positive
If you are more of a pessimist don’t despair, you can learn to be more positive! Here are some ways that could help you:
at the end of each day find three things to be grateful for. Sometimes this is hard when life feels bleak but if we look hard enough there is always something, no matter how small, that we can be thankful for. Write these things down on a slip of paper and put them in a jar. When you are feeling down, or having a bad day, open up your gratitude jar and take out one of your positive thoughts to remind yourself of things you are thankful for
spend time with positive people. Other people’s emotions are contagious and their attitudes can rub off on us, so choose your company well, especially at those times when you may be feeling a bit negative. Seek out the company of people who make you feel better and boost your moral
stop your thoughts in their tracks. So often a simple negative thought can spiral out of control and we end up at the worst case scenario. When you have a negative thought stop, take a step back from it, and ask yourself if it is rational. The chances are it isn’t and you need to try and see it from a different perspective.
Look at this example:
I’m walking down the street and see my friend who I’ve not seen for a while on the other side of the road. I wave but she seems to ignore me. My negative thoughts start – ‘she ignored me on purpose, she’s found other friends because I’ve not been in contact, she doesn’t like me anymore, I’m not surprised, what do I have to offer?’
Now look at the situation again, from a more different perspective. ‘My friend seemed very preoccupied and didn’t notice me, I wonder what’s going on, I’ve not seen her in ages. When I get home I’ll give her a call and invite her round for coffee.’
Notice how, in the second scenario, the outcome is much more positive. By stopping the negative thought process and trying to see things in a more rational way the whole feel of the situation has changed.
When we start to take a more rational, positive look at situations they are not nearly as bleak as they at first seem. By learning to stop our thoughts in their tracks it can have an amazing effect on our wellbeing and help to put that spring back into our step.
It can be easy to be positive and content when things are going well but when we are facing challenging times, are tired of our circumstances or have had a difficult day it becomes much harder.
Be prepared for these times by filling up a gratitude jar when life is good, practice positive thinking and, most importantly, smile!
If you feel like you need some help, talk to someone. It doesn’t always need to be a professional. Talking helps us gain perspective on the situation and see it from a different angle. It also helps us to stop the thought process and take a more rational view of the situation.
If you do feel like you need more specialist help, then contact you GP or go to our Support page.