Celebrating Stress Awareness Month by Mastering the Art of Positive Thinking

April 24, 2013

Positive thinking

Image Credit: Wagner Cesar Munhoz

by Melissa Page

April 1 marks the beginning of the National Stress Awareness Month, which was designated since April 1992. What better time to engage in stress-relieving steps for a happier and healthier life than today?

Articles on managing, if not relieving, stress has gained a great deal of attention in the recent years. From what we’ve heard and read, positive thinking (aside from relaxation and coping techniques) has proven to be helpful in decreasing a person’s stress levels.

What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking is an attitude that makes you face life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring the bad ones; instead, its about approaching stressful events in a more positive light.

You may have heard the question Is the glass half empty, or half full? a hundred times. It may sound ordinary, but your answer to that question actually illustrates your general outlook in life.

If you answer the second option, you’re on the right track. Why?

Benefits of thinking positively

According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking is more than just a stress buster – it eventually leads to a drastic improvement of one’s health. Researchers have found that a person who thinks positively is most likely to have an increased lifespan, decreased depression rate, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological well-being, reduction of death through cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills.

Ways to promote positive thinking

1. Avoid negative self talk.

Does your inner voice focus on negative thoughts? Do you mentally tell yourself you’re no good? Try to take a moment to stop and assess what you tell yourself.

If your thoughts center on negative ideas, turn that negative self-talk to positive self-talk instead. Replace your negative statements with milder wording. For instance, instead of saying “hate,” say “don’t like.” Sounds less negative, right?

2. Develop a list of affirmations.

Do you think your life is a mess and you are a failure? To overcome this negative feeling, developing a list of affirmations may help. Positive affirmations help you reprogram your thinking and gives you positive attitudes and thoughts to promote self confidence.

Affirmations such as “I finish my job with ease” or “I see challenges as an opportunity to grow” are good examples. List them down and read them to yourself at least twice a day!

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

As the adage goes, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” More often than not, the people we mingle and stay close to have influence on us. How your friends react will eventually be the way you react as well.

It helps to be with people who think positively. When you are together, you get to learn and follow their type of thinking in response to different situations. If you stay with negative-minded people, your habit of negative self-talk will be difficult to change.

4. Smile and laugh often.

A real, genuine smile can help change how you see things in life. Although it can be really difficult, it is important to stay open to laughter, humor, and lightness. Sometimes, when you see potential humor in a situation, you tend to reduce stress and lighten your mood.

So next time you’re under a cloud, try watching something funny online or read a joke you always crack up to. Smiling and laughing helps you psychologically and physically, too!

5. Cultivate optimism.

Even if you are an optimist since birth, positive thinking needs effort. Staying optimistic is like strengthening a muscle –  the more you use it, the stronger it will become. When you start to engage in negative thinking, don’t hesitate to ask help and encouragement from friends and family.

Are you now ready to enjoy greater happiness, health benefits and well being? Start thinking positive!