Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part One.
The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.William James
Decades of scientific research have made it clear that positive emotions and attitudes lead to many benefits. Positivity effects our mental and physical health, as well as our relationships and work.
Let’s start by defining positivity.
Is it having a “Pollyanna” outlook on life (an unfailing optimistic outlook)? Is it forcing yourself to be happy and smile all day?
Definitely not. Being realistic about situations, your life, your environment and the people around you is much more important.
The way I see it:
Being positive means having the ability to look for the light in the dark – to see the good side instead of (and as well as), the bad; having the resilience to pick yourself up after a setback or failure; and the ability to keep focused on the positive aspects of your life. To have more mental resources so can cope with adversity better, and be more resilience in life generally. Positive thinking is a deliberate and conscious way of thinking in which you choose to remain positive about your current and future situations.
Our thinking, whether positive or negative, has a direct impact on our daily lives. Scientific research proves that there are many benefits to thinking positively. A study analysing the current research and was published in Emotion found that “prioritizing positivity predicted a host of well-being outcomes.”
But being positive involves more than just your thinking. Your communication, habits and motivations are contribute. All are part of becoming a more positive person. So the process includes learning how to build positive habits, communicate better (not just with others but your own self-talk), and making sure not only that your motivations are aligned with your own goals, but that your actions are taking positive steps towards reaching them.
MENTAL BENEFITS OF POSITIVITY
- Increases happiness and life satisfaction. People who have a positive attitude generally have more friends and closer relationships with family – other people around who are there to support if and when necessary.
- Better resilience. People who are more positive find it easier to bounce back after failures and setbacks. Some of this may be attributed to 1 above – support and help from others.
- Decreases anxiety and depression. Both of these conditions are worsened by negative thinking, as the individual spirals down into more anxiety and deeper depression. Training in positive thinking can stop the spiral down in both anxiety and depression.
- Increases mental clarity. flexibility and concentration. When your mindset is positive you are able to see things more clearly, and set and achieve realistic goals with planning. studying and working. Penn University researchers have found that “Positive emotions promote discovery of novel and creative actions, ideas and social bonds,” All of these lead to better results whatever you are doing.
- Increases gratitude. Positive thinking helps you focus on the good stuff in life , which in turn helps you focus on everything you have (rather than everything you don’t have). Gratitude increases, and feelings of well-being flow from the feelings of gratitude.
- Increases self-esteem.When you think positively about yourself and your abilities, the higher your self esteem will be.
- Lowers stress levels. Stress can cause serious mental and physical health issues. By thinking positively, you have fewer things to become stressed about.
- Helps to regulate emotions. Negative thinking is often accompanied by negative mood swings, whereas positive thinking increases positive emotions – happiness, satisfaction and confidence.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF POSITIVITY
- Better sleep. Less stress and worry leads to better sleep, leaving you relaxed and refreshed for the day ahead.
- Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is often exacerbated by a negative mindset, anxiety and stress. Less of these in your life often reduces blood pressure.
- Improves immune system functioning. People who think positively are more likely to have higher numbers of immune cells, and therefore more immunity from disease.
- Increase in pain tolerance. Having a positive mindset can actually reduce pain. You are more likely to do something to distract yourself than curl up in a ball and focus on the pain you’re feeling.
- Longer life span. Positivity means that you are less likely to suffer from stress related disorders such as heart disease; diabetes, strokes and many other diseases caused or exacerbated by stress.
These are just some of the benefits you will get from having a more positive outlook.