Positive thinking improves physical health

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

happy kid
Research has found that simply smiling when you feel down can make you feel better!

Do you think of a glass as half empty or half full? Your answer may reveal whether you’re generally pessimistic (a negative thinker) or optimistic (a positive thinker). While there’s nothing wrong with feeling like you’re having a bad day, staying positive can increase your lifespan and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Most negative thoughts often stem from a hidden fear, like being afraid of rejection or thinking you’re going to fail. So, it’s important to identify what our root fear is when we get nervous about situations like a math exam or meeting new people.

“We become fused with our own inner workings to the extent that they inform how we feel and act,” explained Bobbi Emel, a California-based psychotherapist. Instead of automatically accepting pessimistic thoughts, stop and reflect on them. Doing so will help pinpoint what you’re actually feeling and let go of an intrusive mindset. This can reduce stress levels, so your body will be less filled with toxic chemicals and have greater energy levels. More enthusiasm means more willingness to engage in healthy activities like exercise.

See, it’s important to reframe a negative idea into something that is more positive. There are so many ways to interpret situations, circumstances, ideas, people, their actions, and your emotions! Look for the good in every opportunity, even when it’s hard to do so. Accidentally tripped on your shoelace? Take it as a reminder to tie those bad boys up next time. Bad grade on a test? Use it as motivation to study harder for the next one. Got tongue-tied when talking to your crush? Well, at least you had the courage to try at all! There are countless ways to stay positive, even in the most grim of situations. So, with a conscious effort and tons of practice, it’ll soon become hard not to see the glass as half full!

Featured image courtesy of Bassi Baba on Flickr. Image of happy kid courtesy of Meghana Kulkarni on Wikimedia.