Positive thinking: Negate self-talk, reduce stress

Positive thinking helps improve stress management and your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk with these examples. Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Your response to this age-old question on positive thinking may determine your position on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether your optimism or pessimism is prevalent. Research has shown that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. Positive thinking usually comes with optimism and is vital to effective stress management.


Understanding positive thinking and self-talk


Positive thinking does not mean that you must ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking means approaching bad situations in a more positive and productive way.


Positive thinking usually starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the infinite stream of unspoken thoughts in your head. These thoughts may be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from reason and logic. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions you create because of a lack of expectations due to preconceived ideas of what could happen.


If your thoughts are mostly negative, your life will likely be pessimistic. If your thoughts are that of an optimist — you practice positive thinking.


Health benefits of positive thinking


Researchers continually explore the effects positive thinking has on health. Health benefits of positive thinking include:


· Increased life span

· Lower depression rates

· Lower distress and pain levels

· Greater resistance to illnesses

· Better physical and psychological well-being

· Better cardiovascular health and reduced death risk

· Reduces the risk of death from cancer

· Reduces the risk of death from respiratory conditions

· Reduces the risk of death from infections

· Better coping during hardships and times of stress


People who engage in positive thinking experience many of these health benefits. A positive outlook will enable better coping with stressful situations, reducing stress's harmful health effects on your body.


Optimistic people usually live healthier lifestyles — they achieve more physical activity, follow a nutritious diet, and do not follow unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.


Identifying negative thinking


Is your self-talk positive or negative? Some common forms of negative self-talk include:


· Filtering. Enhance any situation's negative aspects and filter out all the positives.


· Personalizing. You automatically blame yourself for all the bad that occurs.


· Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst without the fact that the worse will happen. Minor things will happen, and you think the rest of your day will be a disaster.


· Blaming. You blame someone else for what happened to you instead of yourself. You avoid being accountable for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.


· Magnifying. You make a great deal out of minor issues.


· Perfectionism. Impossible standards and trying to be perfect set you up for failure.


· Polarizing. Your perspective of things is either good or bad. There is no middle ground.


Focusing on positive thinking


Change negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but the practice is needed, as a new habit is being created. Here are some unique ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:


· Identify areas to change. To become more optimistic and think positively, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about, whether it is work, your daily commute, life changes, or a relationship. Think of positive thoughts to manage your stress instead of negative ones.


· Check yourself. Throughout the day, stop and evaluate your thoughts. If you discover that your thoughts are primarily negative, try to put a positive spin on them.


· Be open to humor. Smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor every day. When you can laugh in life, you feel less stress.


· Follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes a day. You can also break it up into five or ten-minute of times throughout the day. Exercise and a healthy diet can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Additionally, get plenty of sleep.


· Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure they are positive and supportive people who can be depended on with helpful advice and feedback. Negative people usually increase your stress levels.


· Practice positive self-talk. Have careful self-talk with yourself. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If negative thoughts enter your mind, apply affirmations of what is good about you, and think about things you are thankful for in your life.


Here are examples of negative self-talk and how a positive thinking twist can be applied to them:

Putting positive thinking into practice


Negative self-talk Positive thinking

I have never done it before. It is an opportunity to learn something new.

It is too complicated. I will tackle it from a different angle.

I do not have the resources. Necessity is the mother of invention.

I am too lazy to get this done. I could not fit it into my schedule, but I can re-examine

some priorities.

There is no way it will work. I can try to make it work.

It is too radical a change. Let's take a chance.

No one bothers to communicate I will see if I can open the communication channels.

with me.

I will not get any better I will give it another try.

at this.


Practicing positive thinking every day


If you have a negative outlook, do not expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, your self-talk must contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. The world around you becomes less critical of the world around you.


When your mindset is optimistic, you can handle stress in a more constructive way. This ability will contribute to the health benefits of positive thinking.


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