The power of positive thinking. It’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? What is the power of positive thinking?
Well, it turns out a thought can be quite powerful—don’t underestimate the effects of a positive mental attitude! Recent studies show that optimism results in such significant heath benefits as an increased life span, lower stress levels, a stronger immune system, improved cardiovascular health, and healthier coping mechanisms.
But negative and positive thinking don’t get turned on and off like a light switch. It takes more effort than that. Here are some realistic and easy-to-implement creative counseling ideas to promote positive thinking in your day-to-day life:
1. Start your day with a positive affirmation. And you know what? There’s an app for that! ThinkUp allows you to select a series of positive affirmations (or record your own) that directly address your personal challenges—body image, stress management, self-confidence, love and relationships, etc. Set a reminder and recite your positive affirmations out loud every day—your brain is a creature of habit, and the more you repeat your affirmations, the stronger your brain’s neural connections will be. Eventually, your natural thoughts and actions will rise to meet your positive affirmations.
2. Meditate or practice yoga. Meditation and yoga draw attention away from your problems, stressors and ‘what ifs,’ and redirect it to your breath—the present moment. Both meditation and yoga require regular practice to effectively promote positive thinking. There are many 10-15 minute guided meditations or 20-30 minute beginner yoga practices available on YouTube. Make it part of your daily routine!
3. Smile, laugh, sing. Even a forced smile triggers a wave of positive emotions. Scientists haven’t figured out exactly how this positive feedback loop works, but there have been many studies that reinforce the fact that smiling results in a sunnier disposition. Same thing with singing! Belt it out, baby, and feel your stress slip away!
4. Change your mental tone. If your mind isn’t thinking in the solution, it’s thinking in the problem. For example, instead of It’s going to be really difficult learning this new software program at work, think There may be a learning curve, but I am capable of learning this new technology. Changing your thoughts from negative to positive requires a bit of mindfulness, but will begin to happen naturally the more you do it.
5. Don’t be a martyr. You—and not anybody else—are responsible for your own happiness. Accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. You cannot change or control other people, but no matter the situation, you can always change your own actions or outlook. Advocate for yourself and follow the road to happiness, even if it’s a bit rocky at times.
6. Help others. The best way to stop dwelling on your own negative feelings is to take the focus off yourself and transfer it to someone in need. Helping those who are less fortunate can shine a spotlight on the many things you have to be grateful for, while also making you feel good about yourself for doing a good deed.
7. Forgive yourself & forget. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Don’t dwell on whatever you’ve done wrong. Learn whatever life lesson there is to learn, forgive yourself, and move forward—wiser for the wear.
8. Surround yourself with positive people. If you’re already feeling negative, being around other negative people can cause a miserable downward spiral that can be difficult to crawl out of. Being around positive people has the opposite effect. Positive people have the uncanny ability to put things into perspective, provide constructive yet loving feedback, and help turn your thinking around.
9. Write a gratitude list. Come up with five simple things your grateful for in any moment of negativity. It’s a simple way to throw a stick in the spokes of negative thinking and redirect your brain to focus on a few positive things!
10. Find humor. Even the darkest situation can house a little humor. Instead of getting caught up in negativity, think about the funny story you’ll be able to tell once it’s all over. Crack a joke, allow yourself to laugh in the face of adversity, and try to stay positive.
Positive thinking isn’t about burying your head in the sand and pretending that trying situations don’t exist—it’s about addressing those trying situations in a healthier, more productive way. For more ways creative counseling ideas to promote positive thinking in your life, download our free guide. Just fill out the brief form below and—voila!—the guide is yours.
Contact Creative Counseling Center
If you or someone you love is struggling to find any joy or happiness in their life, they may benefit from speaking with a counselor at our practice. We are happy to offer a free phone consultation to new patients. To schedule a free consultation, complete the brief form below and a member of our therapeutic team will contact you to answer questions, address concerns, and point you in the direction of happiness and hope.