Positive thinking has a huge effect on our day to day lives. It affects how we perceive things and how we respond to them. It even affects our physical health- constant negative thinking can lead to depression which can lead to all sorts of physical and mental problems, but positive thinking and laughter reduce stress hormones and increase immune cells. Hence the old saying ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ In the fast paced business world, it can be hard to focus on viewing things positively, but you’re bound to be better off if you do.
An easy way to shift your focus toward the good things in life is to practice gratitude. Being grateful gives you an awareness of the huge size of your blessings and the smaller size of your troubles- in short, it gives you perspective. Try writing down one thing each day that you are grateful for. It can be as small as the stranger who smiled at you, or as big as a job offer, but I promise it will make a difference. You will start to pay less attention to the bad things in your life, and more attention to the good.
Another easy way to practice positive thinking is to smile. Even when you don’t necessarily feel like it, the simple act of smiling tricks your brain into thinking that you’re happy, and it has a huge effect on your mood. Don’t believe me? Go ahead- try it!
You have, I’m sure, heard of the saying ‘pay it forward,’ and this is yet another way to bring about a more positive lifestyle. Just be kind! Compliment a stranger, call a family member, feed the homeless, literally ‘pay it forward’ in the Starbucks drive thru- there are thousands of ways you can be kind in small ways on a daily basis. Try giving yourself a goal- do one act of kindness every day, then two, then three. Watch how quickly it affects your own happiness!
Life can most certainly be hard. However, our own perspective about our situation determines how we will react to it. Will we let hard times get the best of us and fall into sadness and anger? Or will we choose to take charge and make the best of everything life throws our way? As cliche as it may sound, no one can decide that except you. Though you may not have total power over your circumstances, you do have total and complete power over your mood, your reactions, and your happiness. So use it!