Take a deep breath and look around you. Name a few of the wonderful things about this day. Is it the weather? A conversation with a friend? A delicious meal? Giving thanks for the goodness in our lives is a great way to start on the path to more positive thinking. If you need some help getting motivated to begin practicing the art of optimism, here are some things to think about:
- When practiced regularly, positive thinking changes the neural pathways in the brain reducing depression and autonomic pessimism, and increasing happiness.
- Increasing a non-judgmental stance improves one’s ability to grow and take responsibility for mistakes without feeling the added weight of stress, pressure or shame.
- Improved confidence.
- Less impacted by the stressors of life.
- More positive, connected relationships.
- Some research has shown that people approaching life with a positive attitude tend to find more meaning in life.
- Positive thinking often leads to a more pro-active approach to physical health and preventative measures for health. Positive thinkers are more likely to engage in exercise programs and good nutrition.
- Improved immune system. Whether it is due to the pro-active approach to physical health or the reduced stress, research has shown that positive thinking correlates to an improved immune system and greater disease tolerance.
- Greater life satisfaction.
So start by being thankful for the small things in life, such as a smile someone gave you or a beautiful day. See where those thoughts lead you in your life and the good things that follow. Take an opportunity to change a negative thought into something positive—or take a non-judgmental approach to negative people or negative interactions. There are opportunities in all that we do and ultimately we have choices every step of the way in how we choose to see things.
For more information on thankfulness, please visit: http://denvercounselingblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/thankful-list/
Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC www.greenwoodcounselingcenter.com