It is essential to stay positive to support a healthy and happy lifestyle. According to research, optimists (people with a positive outlook) enjoy many physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress and pain
- Greater resistance to illnesses
- Stronger immune system
- Better cardiovascular health
- Better coping skills during difficult times
Why Is It Hard To Stay Positive?
Negativity bias is an innate human tendency to notice negative information more than positive information. This bias may be due to the brain’s preference for novelty-seeking.
The negativity bias also explains why we can quickly judge and criticise others’ mistakes or shortcomings without giving them the same benefit of the doubt that we give ourselves for similar errors.
But just because we have a natural bias doesn’t mean we must stay focused on the negative. Psychologists have known for decades that it is possible to train our minds to think differently.
How To Cultivate A Positive Mindset
There are many things that we can do to keep a positive mindset. Here are my top five:
Meditation is a fantastic way to take a break from our hectic schedules and recharge. Use an app such as Calm, search for meditation on YouTube or just take some time to focus on your breathing. Meditation has been gaining popularity for a while now, and with good reason! Research has reshown time and again that there are lots of health benefits experienced by people who meditate regularly.
Exercise is a terrific way to release endorphins and boost your mood. And research has shown that physical and mental health are related. Every little bit makes a difference. I like yoga and walking – maybe you love boxing, gym or cycling? Find an activity that you enjoy and move your body!
Try keeping a gratitude journal or even just note down a few things you are grateful for each day. Studies have shown that people who practice gratitude experience positive effects on your:
- Social interactions
- Overall health
Don’t know where to start? Here’s a simple daily journal template that you can download for free – see details below in my bio
Practice Positive Self-Talk Or Affirmations
There are lots of fantastic resources online to share motivational quotes and affirmations. Just google “affirmation”, or you could check out my Instagram for daily inspiration.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
You might have heard the saying, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” a quote attributed most often to motivational speaker Jim Rohn. It’s a bit oversimplified but absolutely true. Try to spend as little time as possible with negative people who will drag you down.
Staying positive is a choice you make every day. Make an effort to remind yourself to focus on the good things in your life. Everybody has some good stuff, even in your most difficult times. It might be as simple as “I like to cuddle my cat” or “the weather is beautiful today”. Keep practising – it will come more naturally as you go, and your mind and body will thank you!
What’s the one thing you can focus on today to help you to keep positive?
About The Author
Brenda Moore is a management consultant in the health and community service sectors She is based in Perth, Western Australia. As the principal consultant for Happen Consulting, she specialises in business process improvement grounded in the philosophy that “happiness matters, people matter, and work just happens”. With a background in psychology and lived experience with chronic illness, she is a passionate advocate for mental health and a committed optimist!
Find out more about Brenda, read her blog and connect on your favourite socials at https://www.happenconsulting.com.au