According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can help to increase your lifespan, lower rates of depression, and even help you beat the common cold. But even though there are so many benefits, some people aren’t naturally optimistic and can find it difficult to always look on the bright side.
To improve your outlook on life and experience benefits to your mental and physical health, try these tips to become a positive thinker.
Spend time with positive people
It turns out, your mom was right and you are who you spend time with. According to NPR, researchers at Harvard University and the University of San Diego conducted a study on the spread of happiness through social interaction. In this study, they found that when someone is happy, a friend living nearby has a 25% higher chance of becoming happy, as well.
In fact, this spread of happiness can reach up to three degrees–meaning positivity can reach friends of friends, as well.
Not only will spending time with positive people help you become more positive yourself, but it can also help your friends feel happier, as well.
Focus on the good
You’re bound to have unlucky or bad things happen to you. Something as small as not getting coffee in the morning can feel like it ruined your entire day. But when these bad things happen, try not to dwell on them for too long. Instead, try to think about the good that is happening.
For example, if your partner unexpectedly cancels date night don’t focus on the missed date. Instead, think about the relaxing evening you can have catching up on your favorite Netflix show or ask a friend you haven’t seen in a long time if they are free that night.
Many negative opportunities are just a positive moment in disguise.
For naturally pessimistic people, it can be hard to change that way of thinking. Rather than getting angry at yourself for not being able to switch your behavior overnight, try setting small goals.
Every day, try to take one negative occurrence and think about the positive behind it. When this starts to become natural, try increasing your goal.
Of course, it’s important to remember that there are going to be things that happen that feel like the have no bright side, like not getting into your school of choice or experiencing some type of trauma. Having depression or other mental health issues can also make positive thinking feel less attainable.
Remember, it’s okay to feel down, have setbacks, and experience things that take more than a quick change of mindset to fix. But working on positive thinking in other aspects of your life might be able to help the bigger things feel just a little more manageable.