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Health Benefits of Positive Thinking Better Stress Coping Skills

Positive thinkers are more apt to use an optimistic explanatory style, but how people attribute e


vents can also vary depending on the exact situation. For example, a person who is generally a positive thinker might use a more pessimistic explanatory style in particularly challenging situations, such as at work or school.

While the terms "positive thinking" and "positive psychology" are sometimes used interchangeably, it is important to understand that they are not the same thing. Positive thinking is about looking at things from a positive point of view. It is a type of thinking that focuses on maintaining a positive, optimistic attitude. Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that studies the effects of optimism, what causes it, and when it is best utilized.


Health Benefits of Positive Thinking

In recent years, the so-called "power of positive thinking" has gained a great deal of attention thanks to self-help books such as "The Secret." While these pop psychology books often tout positive thinking as a sort of psychological panacea, empirical research has found that there are many very real health benefits linked to positive thinking and optimistic attitudes.


Positive thinking is linked to a wide range of health benefits including:

  • Better stress management and coping skills

  • Enhanced psychological health

  • Greater resistance to the common cold

  • Increased physical well-being

  • Longer life span

  • Lower rates of depression

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease-related death

One study of 1,558 older adults found that positive thinking could also reduce frailty during old age.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Aging Research found that having a positive mental attitude was linked to decreased mortality over 35 years. People who had a more positive outlook were also more likely to get regular physical exercise, avoid smoking, eat a healthier diet, and get more quality sleep.

Clearly, there are many benefits of positive thinking, but why exactly does positive thinking have such a strong impact on physical and mental health?

One theory is that people who think positively tend to be less affected by stress. Research suggests that having more positive automatic thoughts helps people become more resilient in the face of life's stressful events. People who had high levels of positive thinking were more likely to walk away from stressful life events with a higher sense of the meaningfulness of life.

Another possibility is that people who think positively tend to live healthier lives in general; they may exercise more, follow a more nutritious diet, and avoid unhealthy behaviours.

How to Practice Positive Thinking

While you might be more prone to negative thinking, there are strategies that you can use to become a more positive thinker. Practising these strategies regularly can help you get in the habit of maintaining a more positive outlook on life.

  • Notice your thoughts: Start paying attention to the type of thoughts you have each day. If you notice that many of them are negative, make a conscious effort to reframe how you are thinking more positively.

  • Write in a gratitude journal: Practicing gratitude can have a range of positive benefits and it can help you learn to develop a better outlook. Experiencing grateful thoughts helps people to feel more optimistic.

  • Use positive self-talk: How you talk to yourself can play an important role in shaping your outlook. Studies have shown that shifting to more positive self-talk can have a positive impact on your emotions and how you respond to stress.




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