The last year was full of challenges. You may even find yourself searching for simple ways to find joy in life again. A positive outlook is a sure way get you feeling happier, and can even make you healthier.

Bolster your bright side

The mind-body connection is a powerful one. Research continues to show that a positive attitude can offer many health benefits such as:

  • Longer life span
  • Lower rate of depression
  • Greater immune resistance (e.g. to the common cold)
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
  • Better outcomes and satisfaction after such things as stroke and brain injury

Have an attitude of gratitude

It's easy to focus on the negative. Say you’re stuck in a traffic jam, and are becoming increasingly annoyed about the delay. Rather than get angry, why not focus on how lucky you are to have a car when some people don’t? Or think of the delay as a mini mental holiday to listen to your favourite music or daydream about the future.

Some research has shown that a simple smile (even if you don’t mean it!) can actually reduce your heart rate and blood pressure when you’re feeling stressed.  That should be enough to get you thinking twice about the phrase “grin and bear it!” There’s a reason why cute animal videos are so popular on YouTube – they can actually be good for you. So next time you need a little pick-me-up, baby goats in pajamas might be just the ticket.

Put positivity into practice

Here are some tips to help you be more positive:

  • Surround yourself with positive people; their energy will rub off.
  • Try to accept that change is a part of life, and can be a good thing.
  • Take control of situations so that you can tackle problems instead of wishing them away.
  • Stay healthy. Exercise is a natural mood enhancer – those feel-good endorphins that are released when you exercise will boost your sense of well-being.

Change your internal monologue

Being positive can take practice, especially for those who are prone to negativity. Here are some examples of common negative thoughts, and how to replace them with positive thinking. 

September 13 is Positive Thinking Day. Consider marking it on your calendar as a reminder of the power of positivity, and the simple steps that you can take to get there.

Negative thoughts: 

  • I've never done this before
  • It's too complicated
  • I don't have the resources
  • I'm too lazy/tired
  • This won't work
  • No one bothers to communicate with me
  • I'm not getting any better at this

 Positive thoughts: 

  • This is a chance to learn something new
  • I can tackle it another way
  • Necessity is the mother of invention 
  • If I rearrange my schedule, I can get this done
  • I can find a way to make this work
  • I'm going to find a way to open lines of communication 
  • If I keep working at it, I'll improve

September 13 is Positive Thinking Day. Consider marking it on your calendar as a reminder of the power of positivity, and the steps that you can take to get there!