Positive Thinking to Improve Your Health
During these days, it seems that every time we turn on the TV or social media, there is a natural disaster, school shooting, or a political crisis like our country being divided on party lines. Now we have to worry about COVID19. Being bombarded with this information on a daily basis can lead one to feel depressed and have negative feelings. These negative feelings can take a toll on our mental health as well as our physical health. However, studies from John Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic have proved that having positive thinking can actually improve your health.
Researchers from Mayo Clinic list the following health benefits of positive thinking:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of stress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
For myself, I am a little overwhelmed by overly happy, always perky and positive people. But in these trying times, if I don’t try to practice positive thinking, I might end up “dropping my basket” (as us Southerners say) and end up in a nice, quiet “retreat” where I do paint by numbers in a bathrobe next to my new friend, Bob. So, I googled steps on how to practice more positive thinking. Larry Alton, a professional blogger, writer and researcher listed the following seven steps:
- Start the day with a positive affirmation
When I think of this step, I am reminded of Al Franken’s character on Saturday Night Live, Stuart Smalley. He had the “Daily Affirmations” segment. He would sit in front of a mirror and say “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!” Even though that was silly in the past, these days, it may just help. I’m still working on this piece, however, I do congratulate myself for getting out of bed and making coffee. So, this is a start.
- Focus on the good things, however small.
We all face obstacles during our day. For most of us, it is things like traffic. I used to live in Atlanta so I am very familiar with traffic! However, when stuck in traffic, I try to relish the fact that I get to listen to the cd I am playing (yes I have a CD player) just a little longer. Music makes me happy and I rarely get to listen to it elsewhere, so this is a positive thing for me.
- Find humor in bad situations
This is very important. I do try to find humor in my daily routine. In these times of Covid-19 and a lot of people displaced and scared, I try to find some humor in it. Such as, by the time we are able to reunite with our co-workers, friends and family, my hair and nails will look like I was attacked by seagulls.
- Turn failures into lessons
We are not perfect. We are not pizza. Therefore, we all will face failure at some point. I plan fundraising events. Some events turn out well, some do not. Instead of focusing on the negative aspect of my event if it didn’t go as planned, I try to focus on how I can make it better next time.
- Transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk
This is easier said than done. We all tend to think negative thoughts to ourselves in our minds. I try to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts such as “You can’t cook that recipe, there are too many ingredients!” Instead, I say to myself “How fun will it be to taste and try something new.” There is a learning curve, but with practice, it will get easier.
- Focus on the present
I tend to focus on past events or the impending future when faced with a challenge or obstacle. The trick is to learn to focus on the moment “right now” and try to turn it to a positive instead of a negative. It is difficult to be home bound at this time, however, I now have time to catch up on my reading.
- Find positive friends, mentors and co-workers
Have you ever been around someone and after your visit, you have no energy? I have experienced many people like that in my life and I had to make the decision to no longer be around them. If you surround yourself with positive people, they can share their experiences and attitude with you and it will affect how you see life.
So, if you practice these seven steps in your own life on a daily basis, you can improve your positive outlook and become a healthier you. Take that walk on the beach, read a good book, eat the cake, dance in the rain, and most of all, SMILE.