What is it and Why?
The difference between success and failure is the manner of approach to lifes challenges-Anonymous
In simple words, positive thinking is changing your cant to can. It is to believe that you have it within youthe potential to achieve and to overcome you fears. Positiveness in life can help ensure happiness and success and also boost your will-power.Most of the people do not believe in this idea. Some feel it is just something people say to overcome their reducible moments in life. That is not true! A majority of people are applying this idea into their lives and seeing immense changes. Positive thinking isnt only just about thinking Yes I can, rather it asks you to look at both the aspects of a decision. It makes you think how can you approach a decision ensuring a productive result.You may wonder why this is necessary? You may think that you are doing fine in your life and everything is working out as per your expectations. Thus, why should you change anything about your life? You may have many such questions.Your questions are valid and I agree with what you say. But I am going to ask you to sit down and analyze all the red letter days of your life and think about them. Have you always gotten what you needed, professionally and/or personally?
Let us understand what positive thinking is with this short story-
A couple were walking along in a park. As they were about to leave, their neighbor came home with a brand new car. The couple saw the car and congratulated the neighbor on the new car. The husband asked the neighbor, How much did it cost? The neighbor replied, Oh, no I did not buy this car. My brother gifted it to me! The husband replied, Wow! Thats wonderful. I wish I had a brother like that. The wife replied, I wish I was a brother like that. Here, we can observe two people who live together but with different perspective of lifes situations. You may have felt a pinch of joy reading what the wife says. That is what positive thinking does to you.
What is Negative thinking?
Imagine youre in class and suddenly your friend starts an argument with you. It gets intense and eventually turns into a fist fight. You might get so consumed by your anger that you might lose complete control yourself and you cannot think of anything else other than the thought of hitting the opponent. When youre trying to learn something new, say swimming, you are scared. You fear drowning. So when you enter the water, all you can think about is drowning. Your mind knows the pool is safe and not very deep. Yet, it cant get over the fact that you might drown. During examinations, you sit down to study and sometimes, looking at the vast syllabus, you may start feeling that you cannot study it entirely. You may start to feel that you are going to fail and eventually break down due to the stress. You sit thinking how little will-power you have and regret not having studied before. In the three examples mentioned above, what can you observe? In all of the cases, factors like fear, stress and anger start to affect your efficiency and self-belief. Your brain closes off from the outside world and focuses only on the negative emotions. If you are never allowed to socialize and interact with the outside world, you would become a low self-esteemed introvert. Negative thinking makes you live a life of constant worry. It withholds your potential and you end up not giving your 100% at anything. On the other hand, positive thinking can boost your confidence and allow you to complete your task with complete efficiency! How? I shall tell you.
How is Positive Thinking beneficial?
A very famous example used to check a persons reflection of his life is the glass of water— is it half empty or half filled? Your answer can reflect how positive thinking affects your life. Even scientific studies have shown that optimism and pessimism can affect your health and well-being. The main aspect of positive thinking is self-talk. Self-talk refers to the constant endless stream of thoughts that run through your head. These thoughts can be positive or negative depending on the situation. Analyzing why something wrong is positive thinking but over-thinking, say, thinking what will happen due to the bad incident is negativity. If your thoughts are mostly positive, youre likely an optimist. Researchers have been studying how positive thinking has affected the health. The following are some of the fruits of positive thinking:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower distress rates
- Great resistance to common cold
- Better physical well-being
- Better coping skills during hardships and stress-times
These are just a few health benefits of positive thinking. Optimism can even help you develop your skills and enhance your potential. A strong positive mind can understand situations better and can help conclude with a better answer. In a match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, Messi and Ronaldo are always favored. Everybody wants to see them play and everyone cheers when they are in possession of the ball and they rarely disappoint! Both of them are very determined and want to be the best. They work hard ensuring they are well-prepared for every match. This consistency and energy they have for every match is due to positive thinking. It encourages them to work hard and practice thoroughly. This is the case with every sportsperson from Virat Kohli to PV Sindhu. Sindhu wouldve never reached finals if she kept thinking that the opponents are stronger and better than her. She believed in herself, aimed at being the best and wanted to make her country proud.
How do I make Positive Thinking a habit?
Well, anything that sparks feelings of joy, contentment and love will do the trick. You probably know of things that work well for you. Playing guitar, dancing, spending time with a person, writing- anything that works out, do it.
Here are three ideas for you to consider to improve yourself:
- Meditation– Meditation is widely accepted as the most effective of calming ones mind. It helps the mind relax and let go of the negative thoughts filled in. Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly show more positive emotions than those who do not. Regular meditation also helps build long-term skills like increased mindfulness, social support and decreased illness symptoms.
- Writing– In a study, a group of people were divided into two categories. One was made to write about positive activities of their lives and the other was asked to write on a control topic. After a few weeks, it was noticed that the people who wrote about the positive activities had better mood levels. Even you can practice writing a diary wherein you could write about your daily activities. If you approach this hobby with a positive mindset, you will notice how much has changed if you look back at day one.
- Play– By this, I do not mean video games. Though they are entertaining and can help you relax, video games are not always considered when thinking about positive thinking. Instead, set some time aside from your work and daily chores and go out to explore and experiment. Being happy is definitely more important than your meetings or assignments. Schedule time for playing and adventure so that you can stay focused and excel at the work when you are back from your fun.
How does my thinking affect my surrounding?
Positive and Negative thinking are both contagious. Negative thinking is like a rotten apple; one in the bag is enough to spoil the whole lot. Similarly, if you are to smile at a person, you get a smile in return. We affect and are affected by the people we meet in one way or another. This happens subconsciously through words and/or body language. Would you prefer being around someone who maintains a good atmosphere or one who constantly keeps fighting with others?It is human tendency to avoid the bad things in life. People are more willing to help us if we are positive and dislike us if we are broadcasting negativity. Negative thoughts or actions create unhappy feelings of despair and hopelessness. An upset state of mind can lead to failure, frustration and disappointment. Positive thinking can help you improve your social relations and increase your chances of progress through life.
I have already mentioned a few examples above which reflect the ideology of positive thinking. But I shall add a few more for you to understand how you can change your thoughts should you ever need to face such situations.
- A sage once decided to test his students. He took them to a mango tree and asked them to take a proper look at it. Then the sage took a stone and threw it at the tree. Now, he asked the students what did they think about the tree. One student said that the tree is an object for human use and it can be destroyed to satisfy human needs. Another student said that the tree is a selfless creation which never complains about how much one hurts it and continues to bear fruits. The sage was impressed by the latters answers and rewarded him.
- A rose is one of the most beautiful flowers. It is appreciated by all and often considered as a symbol of love. But there are always people who are going to complain– What is the use of this flowers beauty if it is surrounded by the thorns?
Such people may never be able to appreciate things in life. An optimist would look at a rose and say– Wow! Nature is so beautiful! It has managed to blossom a flower among all these thorns. Both are talking about the same flower but the difference lies in the thoughts.
- Two kids accompanied by their respective parents were waiting at their bus-stop for their bus. On the other side was a man sweeping the street. The first kids mother told her son, If you dont study hard, you may end up becoming like that man. The second kids mother told, If you study hard, you may be able to make a better world for him. It is small things like these that make a large difference.
- Imagine you have a job interview scheduled for the next day and you keep thinking that you are not going to get the job because the other candidates are better. You spend the night not getting proper sleep and you wake up late. In a hurry, you forget to iron your clothes, skip your breakfast just to make it in time for the interview. Now, you are hungry, tensed and shabby while the person sitting next to you is dressed all smart and looking very confident. Who do you think will get the job?
I hope my message reached out to you and you will start thinking differently hereon. Start making the small changes and you are sure to see good things follow you. Positive thinking has changed many lives and you can be one of them. One of the most beautiful examples of a person who lived a life of optimism is Mother Teresa. She inspired the world and showed us how a good positive mindset can help a big cause. Shes rightly said- Do good. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
Written by –Mihir Solankar