Erol Bay

The benefits of staying positive

Is your glass half empty or half full? Findings suggest that not only are positive thinkers healthier and less stressed, they also enjoy greater overall wellbeing. According to positive psychology researcher Suzanne Segerstrom,

"Setbacks are inherent to almost every worthwhile human activity, and a number of studies show that optimists are in general both psychologically and physiologically healthier".

Positive thinking is key for effective stress management, which is associated with many health benefits. If you generally see a glass half empty, don’t despair, you can learn positive thinking skills.

The benefits of positive thinking:

  • Increased immunity
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease

Fitness expert Bay created a wellness calendar for us, and says

“We can all make a shift towards positive thinking. All we need is practice and time. If you can make a few small changes today, I’d say smile more, do some exercise and identify other areas to improve.”

Identifying negative thinking

Catastrophizing

You immediately anticipate the worst. For example, as you leave the house, you dropped your cup of coffee on the floor. You automatically think that the rest of the day will be disaster.

Filtering

For example, you are painting your bedroom and you finished it in 3 hours. You are happy with the job you did and the others in the house. You were complimented for doing a quick job and through job. You focused on painting more rooms and you forgot about the compliments you received.

Polarising

Seeing everything black or white. You feel that you need to be a champion or total failure.

Taking things personally

Blaming yourself whenever something goes wrong. For example, you received a message that cinema night with friends is cancelled and you assume it’s because no one wants to be around you.

Positive change

We can all shift towards positive thinking, all we need is practice and time. Here are some ways to think more positively.

Daily checks: Regularly evaluate what you are thinking during the day. If your thoughts are negative, boost your positivity.

Smile: Give yourself permission to smile. If you smile, you feel less stressed!

Healthy lifestyle: Exercise for 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. Click here for tips on how to exercise at home.

Surround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.

Practice positive self-talk: Be gentle and positive to yourself. Start by following one simple rule: don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. If a negative thought enters your mind, think about things you're thankful for in your life.

Find more health and wellbeing advice on Audley Stories.

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