The Power of Positivity
Learning to be positive in a pessimistic world
The words “I can’t” seem to creep into our vocabulary more often than not these days. With images of disaster and destruction flashing across our TV screens and violence and fighting making the front page news, it should come as no surprise that the way in which we view ourselves and the world around us is in a negative light. When politicians spend their airtime putting people down and consumers constantly complain, it makes it harder to find the good in the goings on around us. The good news, however, is that our minds believe what we tell them to. It’s good news because it means we have the power to become positive people.
The inspiring words of Henry Ford effectively summarize the power of positive thinking. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It is the belief that we have the ability to control the way we see the world and, in turn, the way we react to it. We can turn any situation into a positive one if we just believe in the good of ourselves and those involved. Our ability to think positively is directly affected by our ability to remove the negative – so when we turn on the TV to a barrage of bad news, it only makes sense that we have trouble staying positive. But just as misery loves company, so does positivity – and, unsurprisingly, it’s good for your health.
Studies have shown that positive people not only live longer and better fight off infection than their negative counterparts, they also have a reduced risk of high blood pressure, depression, diabetes and cardiac disease. Positive people tend to have a better quality of life and make better health choices. They are better able to cope with pain, are generally less stressed and increase their chances for success in the workplace.
It may be obvious that positivity is the way to be and while some may not see it as achievable, optimism is actually a skill that can be learned. Learning to be positive begins with believing in yourself. It’s up to us to recognize all that is positive in our lives and celebrate it. “Optimistic people approach situations with confidence and persistence because they have an expectation of success,” says Lucy MacDonald, author of Learn to Be an Optimist. By changing the way we look at things, we can turn negative thoughts into positive ones. By embracing a positive present, we allow ourselves to visualize a positive future. “It is not that optimism solves all of life’s problems,” MacDonald says. “It is just that it can sometimes be the difference between coping and collapsing.” When others around us are uplifting, it is only natural that we will emulate their energy.
Positive thinking is about being empowered. It is not about seeing the world through rose-coloured glass but instead seeing the future as something you can control. Positivity is contagious; we just need to spread the word.