Essay on Positive Thinking

Positive thinking refers to a belief or mental attitude which makes us think that good things will happen eventually and our efforts will pay off sooner or later. It is the opposite of negative thinking which makes our mind full of stress and fear. Thus, an essay on positive thinking will show us how it reinforces thoughts like optimism and hope and works wonders.

essay on positive thinking

Benefits of Positive Thinking

Let it be clear that positive thinking does not mean you do not notice the bad things in life. It means you try to find a solution in a productive way instead of whining about it. There are many benefits of positive thinking.

The first one is better health. Negative thinking gives rise to anxiety, stress, frustration and more. However, positive thinking helps you avoid all this and focus on staying healthy and doing better in life.

Further, it is essential for us to fight depression which positive thinking helps with. Similarly, it will also help us to relieve stress. Positive thinking overwhelms stress and it will allow you to get rid of stress.

As a result, positive thinking helps you live longer. It is because you will be free from diseases that form due to stress, anxiety and more. Moreover, it is also the key to success. Meaning to say, success becomes easier when you don’t bash yourself up.

Similarly, it also gives us more confidence. It boosts our self-esteem and helps in becoming more confident and self-assured. Therefore, we must certainly adopt positive thinking to make the most of our lives.

How to Build a Positive Thinking

There are many ways through which we can build positive thinking. To begin with, we must inculcate the habit of reading motivational and inspiring stories of people who are successful.

All this will help in motivating and inspiring you and showing you the right path. Moreover, it is important to never let negative thoughts thrive in your mind and work towards putting end to this habit.

You can do so by replacing your negative thoughts with constructive and positive reviews. Start to pay attention to your ideas and don’t pay heed to negative thoughts. Further, it is helpful to use affirmations.

These positive statements will truly sink into your subconscious mind and guide you to take better action. It will also help in visualising your dreams and getting the right means to achieve them fast.

Finally, always stay guard and gatekeep your mind to make important changes in life. In other words, do not be afraid to take actions. Keep yourself busy and do different things to avoid becoming cynical and remaining positive.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Conclusion of the Essay on Positive Thinking

To conclude, we must change our attitude and believe that we will succeed one day. Moreover, we also need to implement positive thinking techniques which will help us learn from our failures and stay focused. As positive thinking plays an essential role in our lives, we must make sure to adopt in our lives.

FAQ of Essay on Positive Thinking

Question 1: What is positive thinking?

Answer 1: Positive thinking is basically an optimistic attitude. In other words, it is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. This kind of thinking can have a big impact on your physical and mental health .

Question 2: Why is positive thinking important?

Answer 2: Positive thinking is important as it helps us with stress management and can even improve our health. Moreover, some studies show that personality traits like optimism can affect many areas of our health and well-being. Thus, positive thinking comes with optimism

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Essay on Positive Thinking | Short and Long Essays on Positive Thinking for Students and Children in English

February 14, 2024 by Prasanna

Essay on Positive Thinking: Positive thinking is a belief, a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that good things will happen and that one’s efforts will be crowned with success. Positive thinking is opposed to negative thinking which harbours the mind through thoughts on apprehensiveness, fearfulness, and unsure of success in efforts.

Positive thinking is reinforced by thoughts such as optimism, hope, and belief that hard work is never wasted. A positive mind anticipates happiness, health,  joy, and a successful outcome of every situation and action and works wonders like magic.

You can also find more  Essay Writing  articles on events, persons, sports, technology and many more.

The Essay on positive thinking throws light on the power of positivity that helps individuals create and transform energy into reality. Besides, the article on positive thinking is broken into multiple essays of varying word count to help you prepare during events and even organise a small paragraph or speech on positive thinking.

Very Short Essay on Positive Thinking 150 Words

Positive thinking is a reflexive attitude developed or imbibed overtime that pushes you to expect fair and desired results. The power of positivity is to create, reinforce, and transform energy into reality with the mindset to seek a healthy and happy ending regardless of the situation.

Positive thinking leads an individual to success as they develop an attitude that helps them think that they can achieve the things and not be fettered by the problems that cross paths with success. Positive thinking is achieved through determination, perseverance, self-confidence, and hard work.

Positivity plays a significant role, and many prosperous people have achieved through reinforcing positive thinking in both their personal and professional lives. Thus, in challenging situations, people seek some light that leads them to positive thinking.

Positive thinking evokes more energy, leading to determination and hard work, ultimately translating to success. It would be best to remember that nothing gears up people to make wholehearted efforts to perform some task as positive thinking.

Short Essay on Positive Thinking 200 Words in English

Positive thinking is an optimistic attitude that helps individuals practice good things in any given situation. Positive thinking holds a significant impact on a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health.

Positive thinking does not mean you ignore reality or take light of the unresolved problems. It merely means that you approach the good and the bad situations in life with the expectation that things will fall into place.

Several studies have looked at positivism’s role, leading to optimism in an individual’s mental and physical health. Positive thinking holds multiple physical health benefits like better physical health, better stress management, longer life span, better pain tolerance, more excellent resistance to illness such as the common cold, lower chance of having a heart attack, and lower blood pressure.

Positive thinking harbours multiple mental health benefits such as better mood, less depression, more creativity, clearer thinking, better coping skills, and incredible problem-solving skill.

Studies have stated that people with a positive and optimistic outlook may be more likely to lead and live a healthy lifestyle since they hold a more optimistic view of the future. To wage a better world, human beings can choose to become better than they are now. Thus, positive thinking must start with ourselves.

Positive Thinking Essay

Long Essay on Positive Thinking 250 Words in English

Introduction to Positive Thinking Essay: Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that remains concerned with a bright and acceptable part of life focused on expecting positive thoughts from life. Positive thinking leads to happiness, healthy life, and ultimately success. A positive person can overcome any obstacle that might occur in a certain period of difficulty during a lifetime.

Positive thinking helps you expect good and favourable results; that is, positive thinking is the process of creating thoughts that creates and transforms energy into reality. A positive mind waits for happiness, health and a happy ending in any situation.

How to Apply Positive Thinking?

  • Use positive words while talking
  • Make use of words that evoke strength and success
  • Redirect your thoughts
  • Remove all the feelings that are not positive and focus on positive thoughts
  • Practice positive affirmations
  • Start thinking that you will succeed in meeting the objectives
  • Forgive yourself and allow yourself to move on
  • Analyse what went wrong to avoid future mistakes and look forward to more positive
  • Working at your visualisation or imagination to build more positivity and motivation
  • Think of failure as an opportunity
  • Practice gratitude to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, and foster resilience during difficult times
  • Practice self-talk and be mindful of the voice in your head and respond with positive messages

Conclusion on Positive Thinking Essay

In conclusion, you need to change our attitude and believe that we are going to succeed. You need to implement positive thinking techniques that help you learn from your failures, stay focused, forgive yourself, and make positive friends and mentors. Positive thinking can play a significant role in every individual’s life.

Long Essay on Positive Thinking 400 Words

Introduction to Positive Thinking Essay: Positive thinking is an attitude that helps a person highlight the brighter side of their life and helps to lead a healthy and happy life. Positive thinking brings an immense amount of satisfaction and leads to a healthy mindset. Positive thinking helps students overcome their obstacles and makes them healthy, determinant, and self-independent people. Positive thinking enhances energy, helps people have an open mind, keeps them happy, and attain success with confidence. A positive person spreads positivity and sorts out the negative thoughts and helps them relax and stay calm.

How to Build a Positive Attitude?

  • People should inculcate the habit of reading motivational and inspiring stories of people who achieved success. These stories will motivate and inspire you and show you the steps they undertook to achieve success and implement those steps in your life.
  • Do not allow your negative thoughts to thrive in your mind and work towards putting an end to this habit. Always stay on guard and replace your negative thoughts with constructive, positive reviews. Start paying attention to your ideas and replace the negative thoughts with productive, happy and positive thoughts.
  • Make use of affirmations as these positive statements will sink into your subconscious mind, which in succession will guide, inspire, and motivate you to take action. The use of affirmations applies to visualisation, creating mental scenarios of what you want to hold and what to want to achieve.
  • Finally, stay guard and play the role of the doorkeeper of your mind as it helps you make significant changes in your life. Do not be afraid to take action and do not remain passive in small matters and big ones. If you keep yourself busy by doing various things, there will be less likelihood of becoming cynical and hold a greater chance of remaining positive.

How to Remain Positive?

Try to remain positive during a profoundly distressing experience or grievance, and it’s essential to take the pressure off of yourself to find the silver lining. Instead, channel your energy into getting enough support from other people.

Positive thinking does not mean burying the negative thoughts experienced to avoid complicated feelings but to motivate oneself to move on and make positive changes. When facing hard times, comfort, and give yourself sound advice, acknowledge the feelings and remind yourself how strong you are to battle and get better.

You won’t undo the years of pessimism and negative thoughts overnight, but with practice, you can learn how to approach things with a more positive outlook and apply positivity through the ups and downs of life.

10 Lines Positive Thinking Essay

Very Long Essay on Positive Thinking 800 Words in English

Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that helps individuals focus on the excellent aspect and expect results to benefit them. Positive thinking anticipates happiness, health, and determination, ultimately leading to success- practically, training oneself to adopt an abundance mindset and cultivate gratitude for one’s successes and those of others.

Positive thinking usually starts with self-talk as the process is a  never-ending stream of the unsaid point of view and can be either positive or negative. However, some of the self-talk can result from logic, while others can arise from misconceptions that can occur due to lack of information.

Negative thinking can cause depression and can supplement depression and other mental trauma. Negative thoughts can undermine an individual’s efforts to control depression. Thus, positive thinking is an approach that challenges the obstacles life throws at every individual with a positive attitude.

Benefits of Positive Thinking

There are several physical and mental health benefits offered by positive thinking, and every person would be amazed by how positivity can affect their health better.

Better Health: Positive thinking leads to better health. Refraining from negative thoughts like anxiety, stress, frustration, and worry can present you with a stronger immune system, thus relieving you from vulnerable and significant illnesses. Reinforcing positive thinking permits you to fight off whatever bug is going around. Studies have proven that those individuals who feel better, live together than those who do not.

Strengthens Immunity: Positive thinking can assist you a great deal in battling multiple ailments such as common colds and influenza. Negative thoughts can weaken your immune response. Medical research and studies have shown that negative thoughts can cause more significant electrical activity in a part of your mind that cuts the immune response.

Boost Confidence: Positive thinking can boost an individual’s confidence and is a crucial stigma that leads to self-confidence. Positive thoughts and behaviours leave individuals more confident and self-assured.

Fights Depression: It is proven that one of the most significant aspects of depression is pessimistic thinking. Studies have stated that any individual who changes their negatives into positive thoughts can start to fight depression and develop a way to elevate positive thinking.

Reduces Blood Pressure: Individuals suffering from high blood pressure and having a hard time to remain positive must start reviewing life and start with some positivity in life. Negative thoughts lead to high-stress levels and anxiety, leading to high blood pressure. Changing the negative thoughts into positive can significantly contribute to reducing your blood pressure.

Key to Success: It is the fact that it is positive thinking people are more probable to remain successful in life than negative thinking people. Individuals who implement positive thoughts in life aspects will notice that success becomes more manageable and is not severe as many people think.

How To Increase Positive Thinking?

Here are a few things that will help individuals increase positive thinking in life-

  • Sleep: When an individual is tired, the brain cells can absorb glucose highly diminished and compensate for enough sleep. Individuals crave sugary snacks to reimburse for low glucose levels.
  • Meditation: Studies state that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions than those who refrain from meditation. Meditation also builds valuable long–term skills such as increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms in individuals. Contemplation can also be replaced by writing and playing as it boosts self-confidence through positive thinking. These can help you fight the negative thoughts and remain positive throughout.
  • Exercise: Exercising for as little as ten minutes releases a neurotransmitter GABA that soothes the brain and keeps the person in control of their impulses. If you have trouble resisting the impulse to walk to the office next door, insist and keep walking. It would be best if you have the urge under control by the time you get back.
  • Forgiveness: A vicious cycle of failing to control oneself is often accompanied by the feeling of intense disgust and self-hatred in attempts at self-control resulting in offending behaviour. Forgiving yourself plays an important role and shifts your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that focuses on a person’s determination, willingness, dealing with the brighter side of life, and positive results. People can achieve almost anything with a mind and allows a paradigm shift in the method of thinking. The negative thoughts and tragedies are a result of one’s own thinking and actions.

An individual with a positive mind can do many positive things and experience positive thoughts such as love, contentment, and joy removes all the obstacles. Positive thinking is a way of living life with comfort and is almost 99 percent effective. Positive thinking holds an intense impact on an individual’s health, offers them better career opportunities, and helps individuals build and develop better relationships.

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Essay on Positive Thinking – 10 Lines, 100 to 1500 Words

Short Essay on Positive Thinking

Essay on Positive Thinking: Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can transform our lives and shape our reality. In this essay, we will explore the benefits of adopting a positive mindset and how it can lead to greater happiness, success, and overall well-being. By focusing on the good in every situation and maintaining an optimistic outlook, we can overcome challenges, attract positive outcomes, and live a more fulfilling life. Join us as we delve into the power of positive thinking and its impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Positive Thinking Essay Writing Tips

1. Start by defining positive thinking and explaining its importance in daily life. Positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation and maintaining a hopeful and optimistic outlook. It can help improve mental and physical health, enhance relationships, and increase overall happiness.

2. Discuss the benefits of positive thinking. Positive thinking can lead to increased resilience, better problem-solving skills, reduced stress levels, and improved self-esteem. It can also help individuals attract more positive experiences and opportunities into their lives.

3. Share personal anecdotes or examples of how positive thinking has made a difference in your own life or the lives of others. This can help make your essay more relatable and engaging for readers.

4. Provide tips and strategies for cultivating a positive mindset. This may include practicing gratitude, reframing negative thoughts, surrounding yourself with positive influences, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

5. Address common obstacles to positive thinking, such as negative self-talk, fear of failure, and external stressors. Offer suggestions for overcoming these challenges and maintaining a positive outlook in the face of adversity.

6. Discuss the connection between positive thinking and mental health. Research has shown that positive thinking can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve overall well-being, and enhance coping mechanisms during difficult times.

7. Emphasize the importance of self-care and self-compassion in fostering a positive mindset. Encourage readers to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being by practicing mindfulness, setting boundaries, and seeking support when needed.

8. Conclude your essay by summarizing the key points and reinforcing the importance of positive thinking in leading a fulfilling and meaningful life. Encourage readers to embrace a positive mindset and approach challenges with optimism and resilience.

By following these writing tips and incorporating personal experiences and research-backed information, you can create a compelling and informative essay on the power of positive thinking. Remember to keep your writing clear, concise, and engaging to captivate your audience and leave a lasting impact.

Essay on Positive Thinking in 10 Lines – Examples

1. Positive thinking is a mindset that focuses on the good in every situation. 2. It involves looking for the silver lining and finding the opportunities for growth and learning. 3. Positive thinking can improve mental and physical health by reducing stress and increasing resilience. 4. It can also enhance relationships by fostering a more optimistic and hopeful outlook. 5. Positive thinking can lead to increased motivation and productivity, as well as a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. 6. It helps to create a more positive and optimistic atmosphere, both internally and externally. 7. Positive thinking can help to overcome challenges and obstacles by approaching them with a can-do attitude. 8. It can lead to a more proactive and solution-focused approach to problem-solving. 9. Positive thinking can increase self-confidence and self-esteem by focusing on strengths and achievements. 10. Overall, positive thinking can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.

Sample Essay on Positive Thinking in 100-180 Words

Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can greatly impact our lives. When we choose to focus on the good in any situation, we are able to approach challenges with a sense of optimism and resilience. This mindset allows us to see opportunities where others may only see obstacles, and helps us to overcome setbacks with grace and determination.

Positive thinking also has a profound effect on our mental and physical well-being. Studies have shown that individuals who maintain a positive outlook on life are more likely to experience lower levels of stress, better overall health, and increased longevity. By cultivating a positive mindset, we are able to attract more positivity into our lives and create a ripple effect of happiness and success.

In conclusion, positive thinking is a key ingredient to living a fulfilling and joyful life. By choosing to see the good in every situation and maintaining a hopeful attitude, we can overcome challenges, improve our health, and attract more positivity into our lives.

Short Essay on Positive Thinking in 200-500 Words

Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can greatly impact our lives and the way we perceive the world around us. It is the practice of focusing on the good in any situation and maintaining a hopeful and optimistic outlook. This mindset can lead to improved mental and physical health, better relationships, and overall happiness.

One of the key benefits of positive thinking is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. When we approach challenges with a positive attitude, we are better equipped to handle them with grace and resilience. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of a situation, we can shift our focus to finding solutions and opportunities for growth. This can help us to feel more in control of our lives and less overwhelmed by the pressures we face.

Positive thinking also has a profound impact on our physical health. Research has shown that individuals who maintain a positive outlook are more likely to have lower levels of stress hormones, reduced inflammation, and stronger immune systems. This can lead to a decreased risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and depression. By cultivating a positive mindset, we can improve our overall well-being and increase our longevity.

In addition to its effects on stress and health, positive thinking can also enhance our relationships with others. When we approach interactions with a positive attitude, we are more likely to be kind, empathetic, and understanding. This can lead to stronger connections with friends, family, and colleagues, as well as improved communication and conflict resolution skills. By fostering a positive environment in our relationships, we can create a support system that helps us navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.

Furthermore, positive thinking can contribute to our overall happiness and sense of fulfillment. By focusing on the good in our lives and maintaining a hopeful outlook, we can increase our feelings of gratitude and contentment. This can lead to a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction, as well as a more positive self-image. When we believe in our abilities and approach life with optimism, we are more likely to achieve our goals and fulfill our potential.

In conclusion, positive thinking is a powerful tool that can transform our lives in countless ways. By maintaining a hopeful and optimistic outlook, we can reduce stress, improve our health, enhance our relationships, and increase our overall happiness. By cultivating a positive mindset, we can create a more fulfilling and meaningful life for ourselves and those around us.

Essay on Positive Thinking in 1000-1500 Words

Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can transform our lives and help us achieve our goals. It is the practice of focusing on the good in any situation and expecting positive outcomes. Positive thinking can have a profound impact on our mental and physical well-being, as well as our relationships and overall success in life.

One of the key benefits of positive thinking is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. When we approach challenges with a positive mindset, we are better able to cope with difficult situations and find solutions to problems. This can help us avoid the negative effects of stress, such as high blood pressure, insomnia, and depression. By maintaining a positive outlook, we can improve our mental health and overall quality of life.

Positive thinking can also improve our physical health. Research has shown that people who have a positive attitude tend to have stronger immune systems and are less likely to develop chronic illnesses. By focusing on the good in our lives, we can boost our immune function and protect ourselves from the harmful effects of stress. In addition, positive thinking can help us adopt healthier habits, such as exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, which can further improve our physical well-being.

Furthermore, positive thinking can enhance our relationships with others. When we approach interactions with a positive attitude, we are more likely to attract like-minded individuals and build strong connections with those around us. By radiating positivity, we can inspire and uplift others, creating a supportive and harmonious environment. This can lead to deeper and more fulfilling relationships, both personally and professionally.

In terms of success, positive thinking can be a powerful motivator. When we believe in ourselves and our abilities, we are more likely to take risks and pursue our goals with confidence. This can lead to greater achievements and a sense of fulfillment in our endeavors. By maintaining a positive mindset, we can overcome obstacles and setbacks with resilience and determination, ultimately reaching our full potential.

One of the key principles of positive thinking is the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like. By focusing on positive thoughts and emotions, we can attract positive outcomes and experiences into our lives. This can manifest in various ways, such as opportunities presenting themselves, relationships flourishing, and goals being achieved. By harnessing the power of the law of attraction through positive thinking, we can create the life we desire and deserve.

In order to cultivate a positive mindset, it is important to practice self-awareness and mindfulness. By being mindful of our thoughts and emotions, we can identify negative patterns and replace them with positive affirmations. This can involve reframing negative beliefs, practicing gratitude, and visualizing success. By consistently engaging in these practices, we can rewire our brains to think positively and create a more optimistic outlook on life.

It is also important to surround ourselves with positive influences and support systems. By surrounding ourselves with uplifting and encouraging individuals, we can maintain a positive mindset and stay motivated to achieve our goals. This can involve seeking out mentors, joining supportive communities, and engaging in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment. By building a strong network of positive influences, we can create a foundation for success and happiness in our lives.

In conclusion, positive thinking is a powerful tool that can transform our lives in numerous ways. By adopting a positive mindset, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve our physical health, enhance our relationships, and achieve greater success. Through self-awareness, mindfulness, and the law of attraction, we can cultivate a positive outlook on life and create the reality we desire. By embracing the power of positive thinking, we can unlock our full potential and live a fulfilling and purposeful life.

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The Power of Positive Thinking: A Psychological Approach

Updated: Jun 23

Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave, and it can lead to tangible improvements in our quality of life. A positive mindset can reduce stress, improve psychological resilience, and even lead to better health outcomes. Understanding and adopting a psychological approach to positive thinking can help you navigate life's challenges more effectively.

The Science Behind Positive Thinking

Positive thinking doesn't mean ignoring life's less pleasant situations. It simply involves approaching unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. Research in the field of positive psychology often links a positive outlook with numerous benefits, including:

Longer life span

Lower rates of depression

Lower levels of distress

Greater resistance to the common cold

Better psychological and physical well-being

Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Strategies to Cultivate Positive Thinking

Practice Gratitude : Regularly acknowledge things you are thankful for. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to reflect on these things consistently.

Focus on Good Things, However Small : Challenges and setbacks are a part of life. Focusing on even the smallest daily successes can keep things in perspective.

Reframe Your Challenges : Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Instead of getting upset about traffic, appreciate it as an opportunity to listen to your favorite music or an audiobook.

Nurture Positive Relationships : Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong, positive support network can act as an excellent buffer against the stresses of life.

Practice Positive Self-Talk : Start by identifying negative self-talk and replacing it with positive thoughts. Instead of thinking, "I can't do this," try, "I’ll do the best I can."

Positive Thinking in Therapy

Therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you learn to counter negative thought patterns with more realistic and positive ones. These techniques are especially useful in managing conditions like depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Practices like mindfulness and meditation help you focus on the present moment, cultivating a greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This awareness is the first step toward sustained positive thinking.

At Achieve Psychology, we encourage you to explore the transformative power of positive thinking. Our professionals are equipped to guide you through the techniques that can help you harness the benefits of a more positive outlook. For more information, visit our website at  or contact us at 614-470-4466 (voice or text).

#PositiveThinking #MentalHealth #Wellness #CognitiveBehavioralTherapy #Mindfulness

Adopting a positive mental outlook is a powerful tool for navigating the complexities of modern life. With the right strategies and support, you can transform challenges into opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment.

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The Power of a Positive Mindset

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Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 1886 | Pages: 4 | 10 min read

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Though many people think that positive thinking is mostly about keeping one’s head in the sand and ignoring daily problems, trying to look optimistic, in reality it has more to do with the way an individual talks to themselves. Self-talk is a constant stream of thoughts, often unconscious and negative about certain events, phenomena, people, or even the person themselves. Negative self-talk undermines self-confidence and decreases self-esteem. On the other hand, positive thinking can help to stop negative self-talks and start to consciously form a positive view on an issue. People who regularly practice positive thinking tend to solve problems more effectively, they are less exposed to stress caused by outer factors, and believe in themselves and in what they do.

Positive thinking has several beneficial effects on the body and its condition of health. People who think positively demonstrate increased life spans, lower rates of depression and distress, better physical and psychological well-being, reduced risks of death from cardiovascular diseases, and other attributes (Mayo Clinic).

Positive thinking also contributes to our ability to cope with problems and hardships, and to remain sane and confident in difficult situations. For example, researchers have found that in the case of a crisis accompanied by strong emotions, such as a terroristic attack or a natural disaster, positive thinking can provide a sort of buffer against depression and distress ( Resilient people who think positively tend to treat every problem as a challenge, a chance for improvement of any kind, or as an opportunity for personal growth. On the other hand, pessimists tend to perceive problems as a source of additional stress, and often feel discouraged way before trying to solve the problem, even if the issue is insignificant.

Positive thinking is a powerful tool for coping with hardships and improving the quality of one’s life. It has nothing to do with ignorant optimism, when an individual refuses to notice a problem; positive thinking is a kind of self-talk. Thinking in a positive, self-encouraging way has numerous effects on human psychological and physical health. It also makes people who practice it less prone to stress, and allows them to cope with problems more effectively, and without severe emotional discomfort.

“Positive Thinking: Reduce Stress by Eliminating Negative Self-talk.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 28 May 2011. Web. 08 July 2013. <>

Cherry, Kendra. “Benefits of Positive Thinking.” N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2013. <>

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Concept and Importance of the Positive Thinking Essay

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Positive thinking refers to the act of directing one’s mind to constructive thoughts that deviate from negativity and that are characterized by hope and expectations for better things in life (Quilliam, 2008, p.21).

Its development involves constant practice and persistent efforts. Positive thinking is important in life because it helps manage and eradicate stress, gives more energy to carry out daily activities, improves relationships, creates peace of mind, fosters a healthy lifestyle and guarantees success (Farreer, 2004, p.18). In addition, it enhances personal happiness and fulfillment, gives hope of a better future and aids in time management and personal organization.

Positive thinking is vital in management and eradication of stress in life. This comes from the habit of looking and handling things positively. It enables a person concentrate on things that create a better life and enables an individual let go of situations that are either wearisome and distressing (Peale, 2012, p.32).

Stress comes from constant worry and frustration with life situations that do not serve a person’s purpose in life. Positive thinking leads to the realization that negative thinking creates more problems and complexities in life than are unnecessary. Positive thinkers are able to evaluate problems and come up with appropriate solutions while negative thinkers see problems and resign to fate because they consider them difficult and impossible to solve. Positivity keeps stress out of life and improves a person’s well being.

Positive thinking improves relationships by making it easier to connect with other people. People hate negative thinkers because they focus their energies on the wrongs of life and rarely recognize the good present, which if acted upon, can improve life in a great way. Positive thinking helps build deeper and better relationships that are founded on trust, great understanding and support (Peale, 2003, p.54).

In addition, this helps create a healthier lifestyle because being at peace with friends, family and society gives peace of mind that is important for a good life. It eradicates anxiety and fear because of the feeling of belonging and worth created by being at peace with every one (Peale, 2012, p.61). In addition, it creates a good mood that appeals and attracts others thus enhancing good relationships. Spending more time with positive people is important in creating better relationships.

Good time management and organization is a direct result of positive thinking (Peiffer, 2002, p.77 ) . The inward organization of thoughts reflects the outward organization of a person’s life. As such, if a person organizes his thoughts through positive thinking, then he is able to organize other aspects of life. This organization improves efficiency and leads to good time management. A positive thinker has no time to waste because all activities are planned based on time allocated for those specific activities. Good time management can be achieved through prioritizing and focusing on the most important things.

Life situations are complex and demanding. Therefore, energy is a requisite for effectiveness and high productivity. Positive thinking avails more energy to carry out life activities because it reduces fatigue that is caused by stress (Peiffer, 2002, p.84 ) .

Stress and negativity drain the energy needed for life accomplishments by bringing feelings of disinterest and boredom, fatigue and create bad moods. Finally, positive thinking guarantees success because an individual is able to prioritize and focus on important things (Sasson, 2012, p.66). In addition, peace of mind improves concentration on tasks that determine success and well-being.

Farreer, G. (2004). A Gift of Positive Thinking . New York: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Peale, V. (2012). The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking . London: Ebury Publishing.

Peale, V. (2003). The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results . New York: Simon and Schuster.

Peiffer, V. (2002 ). Positive Thinking: Everything you have always known about Positive Thinking but Were Afraid to Put into Practice . London: Thorsons.

Quilliam, S. (2008). Positive thinking . New York: Dorling Kindersley.

Sasson, R. (2012). Positive Thinking your Key to Success . Web.

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Positive Mindset: How to Develop a Positive Mental Attitude

happy people: What is Positive Mindset and 89 Ways to Achieve a Positive Mental Attitude

Positivity doesn’t always refer to simply smiling and looking cheerful, however—positivity is more about one’s overall perspective on life and their tendency to focus on all that is good in life.

In this piece, we’ll cover the basics of positivity within positive psychology, identify some of the many benefits of approaching life from a positive point of view, and explore some tips and techniques for cultivating a positive mindset.

This piece is a long one, so settle in and get comfortable. Let’s get started.

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values and self-compassion and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students or employees.

This Article Contains:

What is a positive mindset and attitude a definition, characteristics and traits of a positive mindset: 6 examples, a list of positive attitudes, why is a positive attitude considered the key to success, the outcomes of a positive attitude, 33 tips on how to have & keep a positive mindset in life and at work, helping students to develop a positive attitude towards learning and school, 46 activities and games to develop positive mindset skills (incl. group exercises), 10 worksheets for training a positive mindset (pdf), 32 quotes and affirmations on positive mindset/attitude, inspiring speeches and videos, recommended books, a take-home message.

You probably have an idea of what a positive mindset or positive attitude is already, but it’s always helpful to start with a definition.

This definition from Remez Sasson (n.d.) is a good general description:

“Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results.”

Another, more comprehensive definition comes from Kendra Cherry at Very Well Mind (2017B):

“[P]ositive thinking actually means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.”

We can extrapolate from these definitions and come up with a good description of a positive mindset as the tendency to focus on the bright side, expect positive results, and approach challenges with a positive outlook.

Having a positive mindset means making positive thinking a habit, continually searching for the silver lining and making the best out of any situation you find yourself in.

So, now we know what a positive mindset is, we can dive into the next important question: What does it look like?

There are many traits and characteristics associated with a positive mindset, including:

  • Optimism : a willingness to make an effort and take a chance instead of assuming your efforts won’t pay off.
  • Acceptance : acknowledging that things don’t always turn out how you want them to, but learning from your mistakes.
  • Resilience : bouncing back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up.
  • Gratitude : actively, continuously appreciating the good things in your life (Blank, 2017).
  • Consciousness/Mindfulness : dedicating the mind to conscious awareness and enhancing the ability to focus.
  • Integrity : the trait of being honorable, righteous, and straightforward, instead of deceitful and self-serving (Power of Positivity, n.d.).

Not only are these characteristics of a positive mindset, but they may also work in the other direction—actively adopting optimism, acceptance, resilience, gratitude, mindfulness, and integrity in your life will help you develop and maintain a positive mindset.

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If you found the list above still too vague, there are many more specific examples of a positive attitude in action.

For example, positive attitudes can include:

  • It is looking adversity in the eye… and laughing.
  • Getting what you get, and not pitching a fit.
  • Enjoying the unexpected, even when it’s not what you wanted originally.
  • Motivating those around you with a positive word.
  • Using the power of a smile to reverse the tone of a situation.
  • Being friendly to those you don’t know.
  • It’s getting back up when you fall down. (No matter how many times you fall down.)
  • Being a source of energy that lifts those around you.
  • Understanding that relationships are more important than material things.
  • Being happy even when you have little.
  • Having a good time even when you are losing.
  • Being happy for someone else’s success.
  • Having a positive future vision, no matter how bad your current circumstances.
  • Paying a compliment, even to a total stranger.
  • Tell someone you know that they did a great job. (And mean it.)
  • Making someone’s day. (Not just a child’s… adult’s like to have their day be special, too!)
  • It’s not complaining no matter how unfair things appear to be. (It is a waste of time… instead, do something!)
  • Not letting other people’s negativity bring you down.
  • Giving more than you expect to get in return.
  • Being true to yourself… always (Jarrow, 2012).

man smiling - Characteristics and Traits of a Positive Mindset: 6 Examples

Now we know a little bit more about what a positive mindset looks like, we can turn to one of the biggest questions of all: What’s the deal with having a positive attitude?

What is it about having a positive mindset that is so important, so impactful, so life-changing?

Well, the traits and characteristics listed above give us a hint; if you comb through the literature, you’ll see a plethora of benefits linked to optimism, resilience, and mindfulness.

You’ll see that awareness and integrity are linked to better quality of life , and acceptance and gratitude can take you from the “okay life” to the “good life.”

The Importance of Developing the Right Thoughts

Developing a truly positive mindset and gaining these benefits is a function of the thoughts you cultivate.

Don’t worry—this piece isn’t about the kind of positive thinking that is all positive, all the time. We don’t claim that just “thinking happy thoughts” will bring you all the success you desire in life, and we certainly don’t believe that optimism is warranted in every situation, every minute of the day.

Developing the right thoughts is not about being constantly happy or cheerful, and it’s not about ignoring anything negative or unpleasant in your life. It’s about incorporating both the positive and negative into your perspective and choosing to still be generally optimistic.

It’s about acknowledging that you will not always be happy and learning to accept bad moods and difficult emotions when they come.

Above all, it’s about increasing your control over your own attitude in the face of whatever comes your way. You cannot control your mood , and you cannot always control the thoughts that pop into your head, but you can choose how you handle them.

When you choose to give in to the negativity, pessimism, and doom-and-gloom view of the world, you are not only submitting to a loss of control and potentially wallowing in unhappiness—you are missing out on an important opportunity for growth and development.

According to positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, negative thinking, and negative emotions have their place: they allow you to sharpen your focus on dangers, threats, and vulnerabilities. This is vital for survival, although perhaps not as much as it was for our ancestors.

On the other hand, positive thinking and positive emotions “ broaden and build ” our resources and skills, and open us up to possibilities (Fredrickson, 2004).

Building a positive framework for your thoughts is not about being bubbly and annoyingly cheerful, but making an investment in yourself and your future. It’s okay to feel down or think pessimistically sometimes, but choosing to respond with optimism, resilience, and gratitude will benefit you far more in the long run.

According to Seligman (2006), optimism can be cultivated by challenging the negative stories we create in our minds. This “learned optimism” can be beneficial to feel happier and healthier, to release stress, and to increase performance and motivation.

The ABC Model, originally developed by Albert Ellis and later adapted by Martin Seligman, is an approach to help us think more optimistically. This model can be used for yourself or with your clients. Often, this technique can be found in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as the approach results in restructuring beliefs through self-awareness.

This technique can be used in daily life situations – An obstacle in your way reflects Adversity . The way you think about Adversity turns into your Beliefs , which impact how you react (Consequence). The Consequences are not inevitable since you can challenge the way you think about them (Seligman, 2006).

Seligman added the components “Disputation” and “Energization” to the original ABC model in order to not only be aware of your thinking patterns but to be able to overcome pessimistic thinking and cultivate a more optimistic outlook.

To be optimistic, you have to change what you believe about yourself and the situation you are encountering. Positive beliefs result in a more positive consequence, which then leads to a more positive outlook.

how to write an essay on positive thinking

Aside from enhancing your skills and personal resources, there are many other benefits of cultivating a positive mindset, including better overall health, better ability to cope with stress , and greater well-being (Cherry, 2017A).

According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can increase your lifespan, reduce rates of depression and levels of distress , give you greater resistance to the common cold, improve your overall psychological and physical well-being , improve your cardiovascular health and protect you from cardiovascular disease, and help you build coping skills to keep you afloat during challenging times (2017).

You’ve probably heard of all these generic benefits before, so we’ll get more specific and explore the benefits of a positive mindset in several different contexts:

  • The workplace
  • Dealing with disability (for both those with a disability and those around them)
  • Nursing and healthcare
  • Recovery from cancer

10 Benefits of a Positive Mental Attitude in the Workplace

No construct better captures the essence of a positive attitude in the workplace quite like psychological capital (or PsyCap for short). This multicomponent construct is made up of four psychological resources:

PsyCap was first conceptualized as “positive psychological capital” by renowned management and leadership researchers Luthans and Youssef in 2004. The concept quickly took off among positive organizational psychologists, and by 2011 there were already hundreds of citations of PsyCap in the literature.

The first meta-analysis of all the research on PsyCap was conducted in 2011, and it outlined some of the many benefits of PsyCap in the workplace:

  • PsyCap was positively related to job satisfaction , organizational commitment, and psychological well-being.
  • PsyCap was also positively related to organizational citizenship (desirable employee behaviors) and multiple measures of performance (self-rated, supervisor evaluations, and objective measures).
  • PsyCap was negatively related to cynicism, turnover intentions, job stress, and anxiety .
  • PsyCap was also negatively related to negative employee deviance (bad employee behaviors; Avey, Reichard, Luthans, & Mhatre, 2011).

It seems pretty straightforward that positive attitudes like optimism and resilience lead to positive outcomes for the organization and for the employees!

Another study by a few of the giants in the field of positive psychology (Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener, 2005) investigated the relationship between happiness and benefits to employees. They showed that positive attitudes in the workplace also benefit the employee in addition to the organization:

  • Happier employees are more productive than other employees.
  • Happy salespeople have higher sales than other salespeople.
  • Happy employees are more creative than other employees.
  • Happy employees are evaluated more positively by their supervisors.
  • Happy employees are less likely to show job withdrawal (absenteeism, turnover, job burnout, and retaliatory behaviors).
  • Happy employees make more money than other employees.

So, a positive attitude can have great benefits for the organization as a whole and for all of its employees.

It turns out that a positive attitude can also result in benefits for leaders and their followers (as well as spreading positivity throughout the organization).

The Importance of a Positive Mindset for Leadership

As important as a positive mindset is for the rank-and-file, it’s easy to see why it is vital for those in a position of leadership.

Researchers Hannah, Woolfolk, and Lord (2009) outlined a framework for positive leadership that rests on the idea that leaders with a positive self-concept (a positive idea of who they are and a habit of thinking positively about themselves) are more able to bring the “right stuff” to their leadership role.

In their theory, a leader with a positive mindset is not only more likely to be actively engaged and to perform at a high level, he or she is also more able to influence followers toward a more positive mindset through role modeling and normative influence.

A study completed around the same time provides support for the relationship between leader and follower positivity; trust in management influenced positive PsyCap, which had a big impact on performance for leaders and followers (Clapp-Smith, Vogegesang, & Avey, 2008).

Further, trust in management was linked to positive leadership and performance. While trust in management isn’t necessarily indicative of a positive mindset in both leader and follower, it is certainly a likely outcome of a generally positive attitude in the workplace.

Forbes writer Victor Lipman (2017) puts findings like these in simpler terms:

“It’s always easier to follow someone with a positive outlook.”

In other words, positive attitudes in a leader will draw followers and encourage motivation and engagement in subordinates. Lipman also notes that having a positive outlook and being resilient is vital in leadership positions because there is a lot of stress involved in managing and leading others.

Leaders must always be “on” and spend much of their time “performing” as a strong, confident leader and perhaps even a public face. This role is a tiring one, and being optimistic and resilient will help leaders stay sane and healthy in challenging contexts.

The Promotion of Positive Attitudes Towards Disability

Having a positive attitude is also a boon for those educating, interacting with, and caring for a disabled student, loved one, or patient.

A positive attitude toward disability facilitates disabled students’ education and helps them assimilate into postsecondary education (Rao, 2004).

This makes it even more troubling to learn that, according to a 2012 study on UK primary schools, only 38% of them had a Disability Equality Scheme in place and only 30% had included a plan to “promote positive attitudes towards disabled people” (Beckett & Buckner). Further, 76% of schools reported that their staff had not received any training in the promotion of positive attitudes towards students with disabilities.

With so many resources available for promoting positive attitudes toward disability, there is ample opportunity to rectify this lack; for example, research by The Children’s Society in the UK identified several ways to promote positivity:

  • An inclusive ethos within the school.
  • Staff teams who are knowledgeable, skilled, and committed.
  • Better training, guidance, and support for teachers, including Disability Equality training and ongoing INSET for all staff.
  • High levels of awareness across the whole school community.
  • Disability equality teaching being part of a wider strategy and included across the curriculum and not just within subjects such as PSHE, Citizenship and Religious education.
  • A designated member of staff to coordinate teaching across the curriculum
  • A better understanding of why promoting disability awareness and equality is important.
  • Links with disabled people within the school community and beyond, as well as links with special schools.
  • The availability of good resources.
  • Awareness of, and the challenging of, stereotypes.
  • A critical approach to the use of ‘disablist’ language which reinforces discriminatory attitudes and negative stereotypes.
  • Promotion of the social model of disability.
  • The inclusion of positive and diverse images in all materials used within the school and undertaking an audit of existing materials and resources to ensure they promote positive attitudes (More information on these suggestions can be found here ).

A 2009 study also established that formal instruction in disability awareness combined with hands-on fieldwork experiences with people who have a disability can have a significant impact on the positive attitudes toward those with disability (Campbell, Gilmore, & Cuskelly).

The research found that teachers-in-training who participated in a one-semester course involving direct work with students who had Down syndrome greatly improved their knowledge of the syndrome as well as their attitudes toward those with Down syndrome.

All of these findings show that having a positive attitude towards those with a disability is not only the right thing to work toward, but it also has a significant positive influence on both those with disability and those around them.

Unsurprisingly, it’s also important for nurses and other health professionals to cultivate a positive attitude towards their patients with a disability—something that nurses sometimes struggle with (Tervo & Palmer, 2004).

Positive Attitude in Nursing and Health Care

On the subject of nursing and healthcare, this is another context where having a positive mindset (towards oneself and one’s patients—disabled or otherwise) can have a positive impact.

In fact, having a positive attitude is so important for nursing, expert Jean Watson describes nursing as the “Caring Science” (2009). Indeed, positivity and caring are ingrained in the field; just take a look at the five core nursing values:

  • Human dignity
  • Social justice (Fahrenwald et al., 2005)

These five values lay the foundation for a caring, positive mindset that is the hallmark of good nursing practice. Nurses who embrace these core values and adopt a positive mindset toward themselves, their work, and their patients can help them find the meaning and fulfillment that likely prompted them to enter the field in the first place.

Having a positive mindset in health care not only acts as a facilitator of meaning and purpose in the lives of healthcare professionals but it also:

  • Improves the professional’s performance and helps patients find healing and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Reduces the frequency of accidents by enhancing focus.
  • Helps the professional build a good reputation and advance in their career (Swanson, n.d.).

Luckily, there are evidence-backed ways for nurses to implement a more positive outlook, including:

  • The “Three Good Things” exercise, in which the nursing staff maintains a “three good things” sheet that gets passed around all the nurses at the end of their shift; each staff member writes down at least one good thing that happened that day, and the charge nurse selects three of these positive things to share with the oncoming-shift nurses to help them start their day with positivity.
  • Increasing social connections with patients by placing a “getting to know you” board in each patient room; on admission, nurses can encourage the patient to share something about themselves (not their illness or hospitalization, but about who you are).
  • Encouraging random acts of kindness by nurses—a practice which has the potential to spread to patients and other healthcare professionals as well.
  • Enhancing gratitude through a staff peer recognition board.
  • Practicing loving-kindness meditation at staff meetings.
  • Identifying and applying one’s Signature Strengths (Roberts & Strauss, 2015).

Speaking of the importance of positivity in health care, the benefits can extend to the patients as well.

Positive Attitude and Cancer Recovery

You’ve probably heard the common phrases and encouragements used when discussing someone’s cancer diagnosis.

A cancer patient will likely be told at least a few times that “You have to stay positive!” and “You can fight this if you maintain a positive attitude.”

This idea that being positive will help cancer patients to fight the disease is a common one, although the literature is a bit iffy on whether this phenomenon is real (Coyne & Tennen, 2010; O’Baugh, Wilkes, Luke, & George, 2003).

Although it is unclear whether simply cultivating a positive mindset will help a patient beat cancer, there’s no doubt that getting support, focusing on a healthy mental state, and maintaining a positive attitude will help patients reduce their tension, anxiety, fatigue, and depression, and improve their overall quality of life (Spiegel et al., 2007).

Cancer Treatment Centers of America expert Katherine Puckett agrees that positivity can be helpful for patients being treated for cancer, but clarifies that other emotions are perfectly acceptable as well.

“So often I have heard a loved one say to a cancer patient who is crying, ‘Stop crying. You know you have to be positive’… However, when we make space for people to express all of their feelings, rather than bottling them up inside, it is then easier for them to be optimistic. It is okay to allow tears to flow—these can be a healthy release.” (Katherine Puckett, as reported in Fischer, 2016).

This indicates that the most important factor regarding positivity in cancer recovery is that it is authentic . False smiles and superficial cheerfulness will likely do nothing for the cancer patient, but working on cultivating an authentically positive mindset and focusing on the activities and techniques that build well-being can have a significant impact on a cancer patient’s quality of life and—possibly—their chances of beating cancer.

Do a quick Google search on how to cultivate a more positive mindset, and you’ll see that there are tons of suggestions out there! We’ve gathered some of the most popular and most evidence-backed methods here, but don’t hesitate to search for more if you need them.

Larry Alton (2018) from lists 7 practical tips to help you get more positive:

  • Start the day with positive affirmations (scroll down to see some example affirmations).
  • Focus on the good things, however small they are.
  • Find humor in bad situations.
  • Turn failures into lessons—and learn from them!
  • Transform negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
  • Focus on the present instead of getting mired in the past or losing your way in the future.
  • Find positive friends, mentors, and co-workers to support and encourage you.

A successful author, speaker, and coach Brian Tracy (n.d.) echoes some of these tips and adds a couple more:

  • Remember that it’s your response that determines the outcome of a situation.
  • Use positive affirmations or phrases to chase off negative thoughts.
  • Find inspirational quotes and messages to bolster your positivity.
  • Decide to be happy by being grateful and assuming the people around you have the best of intentions.
  • Challenge yourself to maintain a positive attitude when something goes wrong—show the world how resilient and positive you are!

For a more specific list of habits and actions you can take to develop a more positive mindset, try these 10 suggestions from Megan Wycklendt (2014) of Fulfillment Daily:

  • Keep a gratitude journal .
  • Reframe your challenges as opportunities for growth .
  • Get good at being rejected—it happens to everyone!
  • Use positive words to describe your life.
  • Replace have with get (e.g., I have to go to work → I get to go to work).
  • Don’t let yourself get dragged down into other people’s complaints.
  • Breathe—consciously, purposefully, and mindfully.
  • Notice the righteous and good in times of tragedy and violence.
  • Have solutions ready when you point out problems.
  • Make someone else smile.

Finally, these 11 techniques from Dr. Tchiki Davis (2018) can also help you adopt a more positive attitude:

  • Ask yourself, “Do I think positively?” Take a test or quiz on positivity to see where you stand.
  • Strengthen your memory for positive information by using positive words more often.
  • Strengthen your brain’s ability to work with positive information with exercises that involve positive words.
  • Strengthen your brain’s ability to pay attention to the positive by routinely redirecting your focus away from the negative to the positive.
  • Condition yourself to experience random moments of positivity (use classical conditioning on yourself to build positive associations).
  • Think positive—but not too much—and think negative when you need to; sometimes we need to grieve, think about the negative consequences, and use negative emotions to motivate and engage us.
  • Practice gratitude (perhaps with a gratitude journal).
  • Savor the good moments (stop to “smell the roses” and celebrate the positive).
  • Generate positive emotions by watching funny videos
  • Stop minimizing your successes and acknowledge the efforts you put in.
  • Stop all-or-nothing thinking; this cognitive distortion is not in line with reality since things are very rarely “all good” or “all bad.”

two happy students - Helping Students to Develop a Positive Attitude Towards Learning and School

To pass along the benefits of developing a positive mindset to students, you can encourage them to try the techniques listed above.

However, there are some methods for improving students’ attitude towards learning and school that may be even more effective.

Elliot Seif from the ASCD’s Edge website outlines 13 ways you can help students cultivate this mindset:

  • “Reduce the emphasis on traditional testing as the key assessment tool, and focus on more “natural” and diverse assessment approaches such as essays and papers, reflective journals, oral presentations, and other demonstrations of their learning.
  • Create the expectation that effort makes a difference in learning. Help students understand that when someone works hard, they are more likely to succeed. Give students more opportunities to put effort into areas that interest them and that they enjoy.
  • Include narratives on report cards that focus on individual strengths and interests.
  • Where possible, instead of or in addition to reading textbooks, find and have students read and choose books that are interesting to them, that opens them up to the world around them, that makes them think!
  • Focus primarily on student strengths and student success. For each student, consider “ the glass as half full ” rather than “the glass as half empty”. Encourage students as much as possible. Understand that not all students will be strong in all areas and that it is important to help each student find his or her strengths and interests and to build on them. Also, see “failure” as an opportunity for student growth. Make it clear to students that not doing well is a cause for looking inside yourself to see how you can do something better (and that you will do the same). Give students more specific feedback, along with opportunities to redo their work and improve it. Provide mentors and tutors and other help and support for students who need it.
  • Be willing to “slow down the learning process”. Focus learning on what you think is important. Figure out ways to teach an idea differently, and work on something for a longer period than you normally do if your students are not “getting it”. Figure out alternative ways to teach something if your approach isn’t working.
  • Focus a good deal of your teaching on “learning how to learn” skill development. Read up on how to teach study skills, learning to learn skills, research skills, inquiry skills. Make sure that your students grow both in terms of content they learn and the “learning to learn” skills they need to develop in order to learn well in the future.
  • Make “asking questions” central to your teaching and to your learning environment and school culture. Write course descriptions around key questions. Use essential questions to focus units, or have students develop essential questions as the focus for learning. As you teach, encourage students to ask clarifying and elaborative questions. Make it clear to students that no question is too small or too silly. Build open time for students to ask questions on the topics they are studying. Use “wait time” when you are asking for questions. Teach students study strategies such as SQ3R[i] that encourage students to turn statements (such as text headings) into questions.
  • Give students more choices and options – in the classroom, by offering many electives, through multiple extra-curricular options. Choices/options should give students opportunities to develop and expand their interests, see connections and relevance in what they are learning, and expand their talents.
  • Use inquiry strategies, research skill-building activities, interactive learning and projects as critical parts of teaching. Incorporate more interest-based projects into your curriculum.
  • Where possible, make learning experiences more “authentic”. For example, consider how learning about the American Revolution might be tied to a current event happening in the world. Visit the area surrounding the school to demonstrate how math might be used for everyday activity. Through surveys, encourage students to provide feedback on whether they feel that their learning is interesting, motivating, and relevant and whether they are being encouraged to develop their talents and interests. Conduct student surveys to determine what types of school and classroom activities are most motivating and interesting. Create activities and experiences that enable students to get outside the school and learn from the outside world and perform community service.
  • Create more ways to integrate learning across the curriculum and consider ways to redesign the curriculum. Use themes to create more interdisciplinary units. Connect separate subject areas, such as by teaching American history and literature in tandem so that history topics and specific literature that touch on similar time periods or themes are taught at the same time. When redesigning or renewing the curriculum, examine whether curriculum materials or programs have a significant component built around developing curiosity, motivation, relevance, and interest.
  • See yourself as helping students build “pathways to adult success”. How can your subject, your grade level, your school contribute to making these pathways smoother? How can you provide students with a concrete understanding of their future options? Can you take field trips to different places of business? Colleges and universities? Bring in speakers?” (Seif, 2013)

However, these techniques are not always within a teacher’s (or parent’s) realm of control. If you these techniques are too overwhelming or the scope is out of your control, try these 7 strategies that you will likely have the power to implement:

  • Be an example. Model a positive, encouraging attitude in all that you say, do and believe.
  • Create a positive learning space for your student.
  • Help your student visualize a positive outcome from every scenario before starting.
  • Eliminate negative verbiage from your students’ dialogue (e.g., respond to “I can’t do it” with “Why can’t you do it? What’s holding you back? How can I help?”).
  • Help your students change negative thinking patterns (encourage them to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones).
  • Play the role of your students’ biggest fan (encourage them and help them develop self-confidence ).
  • Incorporate a rewards system to encourage positivity at all times (Werrell, 2016).

For more tips and suggestions from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, check out their excellent resource on instilling positive attitudes and perceptions about learning here .

46 Activities and Games to Develop Positive Mindset Skills (incl. Group Exercises)

There are many positive thinking exercises and games that can give you a boost.

Some of the most popular ones are listed here, but feel free to search for more if none of them align with your interests—there are a lot to choose from out there!

Zdravko Lukovski from the Enlightenment Portal website has 10 exercises and activities that you can implement in your own life or encourage your clients to try in order to think more positively:

  • Listen to your favorite music—it’s that easy! Music has a fairly unique ability to put you in a positive state of mind, so take advantage of that fact.
  • Express your thankfulness and gratitude for all the good things in your life. Appreciate them, and write them down to help you remember.
  • Remember to breathe. Breathe deeply, slowly, and mindfully to transport your mind to a positive, calm place.
  • Don’t live according to a label—labels come from others, not from yourself, and you are so much more than a simple label could ever represent. Be authentic, and it will be much easier to be positive.
  • Check your internal dialogue, and challenge that critical inner voice to make room for happiness.
  • Engage in positive activities like meditation , yoga , hiking, playing a sport, or whatever other activity you enjoy.
  • Take back control of the things you can change—and put in the effort required to actually change—but learn to accept the things you cannot change.
  • Go easy on yourself. Don’t kick yourself when you’re down; everyone fails, and it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough.
  • Pay attention to your diet, and ensure that you eat healthy food that will contribute to a healthy and positive mind.
  • Embrace change—it’s happening whether we want it to or not, so it’s best to embrace it. Make an effort to step outside of your comfort zone (2015).

This list from Thought Catalog’s Kathy Mitchell (2017) has some of the same ideas as Lukovski, but she adds a few more activities as well:

  • Listen to upbeat music.
  • Have sex (that can certainly be an engaging and life-affirming activity!).
  • Travel, even if it’s not very far—the point is to interact with different people and get to know other cultures.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Be thankful and cultivate gratitude.
  • Journal and/or use a notebook to write things down—especially positive things.
  • Breathe mindfully and deeply.
  • Use positive words and avoid phrases like “I can’t” and “I won’t.”
  • Practice positive affirmations or mantras.
  • Try the Best Possible Self exercise (imagine yourself in your best possible future, and write about it).
  • Volunteer and commit your time and efforts to helping others.
  • Take control of the things you can, and accept the things you can’t.
  • Remind yourself “Never a failure, always a lesson;” make every failure a learning opportunity.
  • Try the mirror technique—say something positive about yourself (and truly mean it) every time you see yourself in the mirror.
  • Socialize and spend time with others, including family, friends, your spouse or significant other, and new friends or acquaintances.

If you’re more interested in games you can play to boost positive thinking, try these suggested games from Mary Osborne (2017) at Live Strong.

Recognizing Positive Behavior

Gather your team (or family, friends, etc.) and review a list of a generic individual’s positive behaviors (like giving credit to others, smiling, saying thank you, and listening nonjudgmentally).

Next, ask players to identify their reactions to positive behaviors like these.

When everyone has listed their responses to these behaviors, talk about them as a group to show that engaging in positive behaviors like these will attract clients, customers, and coworkers rather than repel them.

The “Glad” Game

This game comes from the Disney movie Pollyanna, in which the main character actively cultivates positive thinking.

Have one person bring up a negative event, like losing a job or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The other players are challenged to turn the first person’s thoughts to the positive; for example, they can say something like, “ But now that I’ve lost my job, I’ll have more time to _______ .” The first person must come up with a word or phrase that fits the blank.

This game will encourage you to find the silver lining and look for opportunities instead of wallowing in despair.

Egg-Balancing Game

The egg-balancing game can be frustrating, but it can impart an important lesson in staying optimistic and open-minded.

Give your player(s) a raw egg and a flat, somewhat textured tabletop (use a tablecloth or placemat if you need to). Tell them to find a way to balance the egg in an upright position on the table. They might say it’s not possible, but assure them that it is!

Let them try for a while—they might actually be able to do it—but give them a small mound of salt to balance the egg in if they are struggling for too long. If you use the salt, remind them that this is an important thing to remember: sometimes things that seem impossible actually are possible when you think outside the box!

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Hunt for Happiness

This game is described as a “positive-thinking scavenger game” and it can be used with both children and adults.

Have the players make a list of things that they feel make life worth living or, for younger children, things that make them smile.

Once everyone has a list ready, send them off on a scavenger hunt to collect as many items on the list as possible. If it’s too big to collect and bring back, you can mark your “collection” of it on the list.

You’ll have to get creative to check off everything on the list, especially abstract things like “love,” but that’s part of the challenge. As a bonus, it will also help you boost your creative thinking in addition to your positive thinking.

To read more about these games, click here .

For Children

There are even more games and activities to help children develop a positive mindset. If you’re a teacher, parent, coach, or anyone else who interacts with kids, give these activities a try.

Big Life Journal has a great infographic that lists the ways you can help children develop a positive attitude. You can find the whole blog post here , but we’ll outline the 7 activities they describe:

  • Engage your child in loving-kindness meditation. You can teach him or her the four traditional phrases directed towards loved ones if you’d like: “May you feel safe. May you feel happy. May you feel healthy. May you live with ease.”
  • Encourage your child to help others, whether that takes the form of assisting an elderly neighbor with yard work or chores, helping a friend with homework, or participating in a canned food, clothing, or toy drive.
  • Have your child create and write in an “Awe Journal.” Tell them to write down any sights or moments from their daily life that they find beautiful, extraordinary, awesome, or just all-around wonderful.
  • Encourage your child to set goals, visualize their path forward, and plan for obstacles before they come face-to-face with them (this is the WOOP approach: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan).
  • Share your own positive experiences with your child. Laugh with them, hug them, and set aside quality time to simply be together.
  • Identify your child’s strengths and encourage him or her to put them to good use and develop them further with productive, fun activities.
  • Guide your child through the process of coming up with positive affirmations like, “I am kind. I am enough. I am loving. I am good.” (Cullins, 2018).

Another collection of activities that can help children (and the whole family) develop and maintain a positive mindset comes from Sharon Harding at the Rediscovered Families website:

  • Keep “Quote Books,” or notebooks for your children to write in. Every week, choose a positive quote to share with your kids and encourage them to write it down along with their thoughts, drawings that correspond to the quote, or insights from a family discussion or activities based on the quote.
  • Try the “Success of the Day” activity, in which each family member is encouraged to talk about a success they had that day, like helping someone, standing up for a peer, finishing a project, or committing (or receiving) a random act of kindness. Your children can keep a journal of their successes to look back on and draw inspiration from.
  • Create Warm Fuzzy Jars for each of your children; whenever they do something kind or helpful, they can place a pom-pom ball in their jar to represent the warm fuzzy feeling they gave to another person. When their jar is full, they get to choose a special or fun activity to do—with either parent, both parents, their sibling, or the whole family.
  • Write Morning Love Notes (sweet notes for them to read in the morning and get a good start to their day) for your children, and encourage them to write them for their siblings.
  • Choose an Act of Kindness to help your kids understand the impact a simple kindness can have. Try something like shoveling a neighbor’s walkway when it snows, bringing a meal to a family in need, or volunteering.
  • Creating art that helps them to manage their feelings and turn their mind towards the positive (more info here ).
  • Have each family member create a Slinky Character Trait Person. Encourage each family member to identify some positive character traits in each other and write them on the slinky person. You can find more detailed instructions here .
  • Help each child make a vision board to share their hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations with each other.
  • Complete the Buggy and Buddy motivational art activity to help your children boost their creative confidence and self-esteem .
  • Make gratitude stones and encourage your children to practice gratitude every day. All you’ll need is a small, smooth stone and some paint to create a heart on the stone. Tell your children to carry them around and use them as a reminder to think about the things they are grateful for. You can also use them in other ways, detailed here .

man jumping - 10 Worksheets for Training a Positive Mindset (PDF)

If games and activities aren’t really your “thing,” there are lots of other ways to cultivate a positive attitude.

One effective technique is completing worksheets designed to help you develop a positive mindset.

A few of the many worksheets on this topic are described below.

Strengths Exploration

Becoming more positive can start with a fun and uplifting exercise—identifying your strengths.

This worksheet lists 36 individual strengths, with room to add 4 more, that you can use to pick out which strengths you embody. You can choose as many as you like, but try to keep the list to those traits that you think are your biggest strengths .

Once you have your strengths identified, move on to the rest of the worksheet: learning about your strengths in specific areas, how you apply them now, and how you can use them more often.

The second page concerns your relationships—romantic relationships, family relationships, and relationships with friends. There are three questions to guide you here:

  • List the strengths you possess that help you in your relationships.
  • Describe a specific time your strengths were able to help you in a relationship.
  • Describe two new ways you could use your strengths in relationships.

On the third page, you will answer the same questions but with your profession in mind instead of relationships.

The fourth page repeats these questions but with a focus on personal fulfillment (hobbies, interests, pleasurable activities).

You can find this worksheet here .

Gratitude Journal

Cultivating a regular practice of gratitude will help you to become more positive, and this worksheet will guide you in establishing your practice.

First, the instructions for the sheet are as follows: “Two times a week, write a detailed entry about one thing you are grateful for. This could be a person, a job, a great meal with friends, or anything else that comes to mind.”

Next, the worksheet includes some tips for effective journaling, like:

  • Don’t rush to write down the first things that come to your mind. Take time to truly think about what you’re grateful for. Expect each entry to take between 10-20 minutes.
  • Writing about the people who you’re grateful for tends to be more powerful than writing about things.

To help get you started, you can use one of the journaling prompts listed in the worksheet, including:

  • Someone whose company I enjoy…
  • A fun experience I had…
  • A reason to be excited about the future…
  • An unexpected good thing that happened…

The next two pages provide you space to write up to four entries. It’s best if you get a journal specifically for this purpose, but this space can get you started until you obtain a journal.

Click here to download this worksheet .

Positive Journal

Similar to the gratitude journal, a positive journal is an effective way to use journaling to improve your mindset.

The worksheet encourages you to make a point of recognizing positive experiences throughout your day, however big or small. At the end of each day, use the worksheet to record three positive things that happened.

It’s good to have an actual journal for your positive entries (either the same journal you use for recording the things you are grateful for or a separate one), but this worksheet includes space for entering three positive things for 7 days to help you get started.

Click here to read the instructions in more detail.

Protective Factors

The Protective Factors worksheet will get you thinking about all of the positive traits, attributes, and skills that contribute to your resilience and overall mental health. Identifying these factors is essential to knowing when and how to use them.

The instructions are to review each of the protective factors listed and marking where you are on the scale (from weak to strong). These factors include:

  • Social Support
  • Coping Skills
  • Physical Health
  • Sense of Purpose
  • Self-Esteem
  • Healthy Thinking

Once you have given thought to each protective factor, the next page poses some questions about them:

  • Which protective factor has been the most valuable to you during difficult times?
  • Specifically, how have you used this protective factor to your advantage in the past?
  • What are the two protective factors that you would like to improve?
  • Describe how things might be different if you able to improve these protective factors.
  • List specific steps or actions that might help to make these goals a reality.

To download this worksheet and learn about your own protective factors, click here .

Looking Back, Looking Forward

This worksheet will help you to identify times in your life when things have gone well, when you got things right, and when you thrived.

First, for the “Looking Back” portion, you will be instructed to choose a timeframe to reflect on (for example, “the past year” or “since starting my new job”).

Next, you will answer several questions about the positive events and accomplishments from this time period, including:

  • List your accomplishments from this timeframe, even if they seem minor.
  • Describe a great day from this timeframe. What made this day special?
  • How have you grown, or what lessons did you learn, during this timeframe?
  • What are you grateful for from this timeframe? Try to list at least three examples.
  • What was a challenge that you overcame during this timeframe?

For the “Looking Forward” portion, you will complete a similar exercise but with a future time period in mind.

Instead of the questions above, you will answer these five questions:

  • What would you like to achieve during this timeframe?
  • What are you looking forward to during this timeframe? Try to list at least three examples.
  • What relationships would you like to strengthen during this timeframe?
  • What can you do to help others during this timeframe?
  • Ideally, how will your life be different at the end of this timeframe? Give specifics.

Once you have completed this worksheet, you will have a list of good things and accomplishments already behind you, and a list of good things you have to look forward to and work towards. Click here to get started.

Why I’m Grateful

This is a great worksheet for cultivating gratitude, and it can be used with children or adults.

It lists six prompts for you to complete that will help you focus on the good things in your life:

  • I am grateful for my family because…
  • Something good that happened this week…
  • I am grateful for my friendship with… because…
  • I am grateful for who I am because…
  • Something silly that I am grateful for…
  • Something else I am grateful for…

To start thinking about all the things you have to be grateful for, click here .

Positive Activities for Behavioral Activation

This worksheet is focused on the therapeutic technique of behavioral activation—encouraging the patient to get more active, engage in positive activities, and gain the rewards inherent in these activities.

It instructs you to create a list of activities that you find personally rewarding and leaves space for you to do so.

Next, it instructs you to rate the ease of each activity on a scale from 1 (difficult) to 10 (easy) and the reward you get from each activity on a scale from 1 (not at all rewarding) to 10 (very rewarding).

Completing this worksheet will leave you with a list of activities that you can refer to whenever you need a quick boost, and help you learn about what you enjoy most.

Click here to download this worksheet.

Positive Experiences

The Positive Experiences worksheet is a simple one in theory, but it can be difficult to actually complete. The difficulty comes with an equivalent reward though; you can get a great boost in your mood, self-esteem, and self-confidence from completing it.

The only instruction is to consider each of the positive traits listed and write briefly about times when you have displayed each of them.

The positive traits include:

  • Selflessness
  • Determination

If you’re feeling particularly down, you may be tempted to skip one or two, but fight this urge! You have definitely displayed each of these traits at one time or another—don’t sell yourself short!

Positive Steps to Wellbeing

This resource is actually a handout, but you can certainly make it interactive by taking notes or using check marks to indicate what you have tried, or what you would like to try.

It lists 12 things you can do to improve your wellbeing. These 12 activities include:

  • Being kind to yourself
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take up a hobby and/or learn a new skill
  • Have some fun and/or be creative
  • Help others
  • Eat healthily
  • Balance sleep
  • Connect with others
  • Beware drink and drugs
  • See the bigger picture
  • Accepting: “It is as it is”

To read more about how each of these activities contributes to your wellbeing, download the handout here .

Positive Self-Talk/Coping Thoughts Worksheet

The positive self-talk/coping thoughts worksheet is a great way to turn your focus from the negative to the positive and come up with positive statements you can use to cope in future stressful or difficult situations.

Example coping thoughts and positive statements listed on the worksheet include:

  • Stop, and breathe, I can do this.
  • This will pass.
  • This feels bad, and feelings are very often wrong.
  • I can feel bad and still choose to take a new and healthy direction.
  • I feel this way because of my past experiences, but I am safe right now.

After reading the example statements, the worksheet encourages you to write down some coping thoughts or positive statements for difficult or distressing situations in your life. You can write them directly on the worksheet, but it may be most helpful to copy them onto a note card and carry them with you.

3 kids - positive mindset children worksheets skills

While we’re on the subject of positive statements, we should also mention that quotes and affirmations can be an excellent way to encourage positive thinking.


If you’re interested in affirmations, try the Mind Tools Content Team’s (n.d.) list of positive thinking affirmations:

  • I have plenty of creativity for this project.
  • My work will be recognized in a positive way by my boss and colleagues.
  • I can do this!
  • My team respects and values my opinion.
  • I am successful.
  • I am honest in my life, and my work.
  • I like completing tasks and projects on time.
  • I’m grateful for the job I have.
  • I enjoy working with my team.
  • I’m bringing a positive attitude to work every day.
  • I am excellent at what I do.
  • I am generous.
  • I am happy.
  • I will be a leader in my organization.

If none of these appeal to you on a deep level, refer to their tips on developing your own personal affirmations:

  • Think about the areas of your life that you’d like to change.
  • Write affirmations that are credible and achievable (based on reality).
  • Use your affirmations to turn negative into positive (note a persistent negative thought and choose an affirmation that is the opposite).
  • Write your affirmations in the present tense—affirm yourself in the here and now, not a vague future version of yourself.
  • Say it with feeling! Your affirmations should be personally meaningful to you (Mind Tools Content Team, n.d.).

If you’re having trouble coming up with your affirmations or you just like to hear a different perspective on positive thinking, you might find some quotes helpful.

Lydia Sweatt (2017) from shares 13 great quotes on optimism and having a positive attitude.

“Optimism doesn’t wait on facts. It deals with prospects.”

Norman Cousins

“Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking.”

Rick Steves

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.”

Helen Keller

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”

Noam Chomsky

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

Lucille Ball

“An optimist understands that life can be a bumpy road, but at least it is leading somewhere. They learn from mistakes and failures, and are not afraid to fail again.”

Harvey Mackay

“Optimism is a kind of heart stimulant―the digitalis of failure.”

Elbert Hubbard

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

John Wooden

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Optimism refuses to believe that the road ends without options.”

Robert H. Schuller

“What is hope but a feeling of optimism, a thought that says things will improve, it won’t always be bleak [and] there’s a way to rise above the present circumstances.”

Wayne W. Dyer

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Winston Churchill

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

Martin Luther

Quotes can be fantastic motivators, but you probably agree that a rousing speech or inspiring video can be even more effective.

Check out these TED Talks and YouTube videos on positive thinking when you need a boost.

Jim Rohn’s A Positive Attitude Attracts Success

Brendon Burchard’s How to Reprogram Your Mind (for Positive Thinking)

Carol Dweck’s TED Talk The Power of Believing That You Can Improve

Shawn Achor’s TED Talk The Happy Secret to Better Work

If you’re more of a fan of books than videos, never fear—we’ve got book recommendations too!

Here are just a few of the many books on developing a positive mindset:

  • Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E. P. Seligman ( Amazon )
  • Attitude: Your Most Priceless Possession by Elwood N. Chapman ( Amazon )
  • The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor ( Amazon )
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck ( Amazon )
  • Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs by March Chernoff and Angel Chernoff ( Amazon )
  • Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin E. P. Seligman ( Amazon )
  • Mindset: How Positive Thinking Will Set You Free & Help You Achieve Massive Success in Life by Benjamin Smith ( Amazon )
  • Hard Optimism: How to Succeed in a World Where Positive Wins by Price Pritchett ( Amazon )

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17 Top-Rated Positive Psychology Exercises for Practitioners

Expand your arsenal and impact with these 17 Positive Psychology Exercises [PDF] , scientifically designed to promote human flourishing, meaning, and wellbeing.

Created by Experts. 100% Science-based.

If you’re still with me after this very long read, thanks for sticking with it! I hope you will find that the time invested in reading this piece was worth the information you gleaned from it.

The one takeaway from this piece that I really hope sticks with you is this: Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can result in a lot of benefits for you and those around you; however, thinking positive 100% of the time is unrealistic and could even be disastrous.

We have a lot of different emotions and thoughts, and we have such a wide variety for a reason. There are times when being a bit pessimistic can help us, and it is a good idea to let out the negative emotions you experience once in a while (especially if the alternative is bottling them up).

If you’re an optimist by nature, cultivate gratitude for your inherent positivity, but make sure you don’t push aside the negative feelings that crop up. They’re part of life too.

If you’re a pessimist by nature, don’t despair of ever thinking positively. Try a few of the techniques that seem most applicable and give yourself a break if it takes some time. Remember, the goal is not to become a “ Pollyanna ,” but to become the best version of yourself that you can be and maintain a healthy and happy mental state.

How do you feel about the positivity movement? Are you naturally optimistic, pessimistic, or somewhere in between? Do you have any thoughts about how to cultivate a positive mindset? Let us know in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading, and best of luck in developing a positive mindset!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free .

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Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress

Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk with examples provided.

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether you're optimistic or pessimistic — and it may even affect your health.

Indeed, some studies show that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don't despair — you can learn positive thinking skills.

Understanding positive thinking and self-talk

Positive thinking doesn't mean that you ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information or expectations due to preconceived ideas of what may happen.

If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you're likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

The health benefits of positive thinking

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress and pain
  • Greater resistance to illnesses
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Reduced risk of death from cancer
  • Reduced risk of death from respiratory conditions
  • Reduced risk of death from infections
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.

It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

Identifying negative thinking

Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Some common forms of negative self-talk include:

  • Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all the positive ones. For example, you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. That evening, you focus only on your plan to do even more tasks and forget about the compliments you received.
  • Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.
  • Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst without facts that the worse will happen. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong, and then you think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.
  • Blaming. You try to say someone else is responsible for what happened to you instead of yourself. You avoid being responsible for your thoughts and feelings.
  • Saying you "should" do something. You think of all the things you think you should do and blame yourself for not doing them.
  • Magnifying. You make a big deal out of minor problems.
  • Perfectionism. Keeping impossible standards and trying to be more perfect sets yourself up for failure.
  • Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground.

Focusing on positive thinking

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Following are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

  • Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute, life changes or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way. Think of a positive thought to manage your stress instead of a negative one.
  • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
  • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break it up into 5- or 10-minute chunks of time during the day. Exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. Get enough sleep. And learn techniques to manage stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Think about things you're thankful for in your life.

Here are some examples of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them:

Putting positive thinking into practice
Negative self-talk Positive thinking
I've never done it before. It's an opportunity to learn something new.
It's too complicated. I'll tackle it from a different angle.
I don't have the resources. Necessity is the mother of invention.
I'm too lazy to get this done. I couldn't fit it into my schedule, but I can re-examine some priorities.
There's no way it will work. I can try to make it work.
It's too radical a change. Let's take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me. I'll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I'm not going to get any better at this. I'll give it another try.

Practicing positive thinking every day

If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you.

When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.

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  • Forte AJ, et al. The impact of optimism on cancer-related and postsurgical cancer pain: A systematic review. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2021; doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.09.008.
  • Rosenfeld AJ. The neuroscience of happiness and well-being. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2019;28:137.
  • Kim ES, et al. Optimism and cause-specific mortality: A prospective cohort study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2016; doi:10.1093/aje/kww182.
  • Amonoo HL, et al. Is optimism a protective factor for cardiovascular disease? Current Cardiology Reports. 2021; doi:10.1007/s11886-021-01590-4.
  • Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed Oct. 20, 2021.
  • Seaward BL. Essentials of Managing Stress. 4th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2021.
  • Seaward BL. Cognitive restructuring: Reframing. Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. 8th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2018.
  • Olpin M, et al. Stress Management for Life. 5th ed. Cengage Learning; 2020.
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The Power Of Positive Thinking

The power of positive thinking is remarkable.

In fact, the idea that your mind can change your world almost seems too good to be true.

I can assure you, however, that I have experienced AND witnessed the good and positive light that having a positive mindset can bring.

Both positive and negative thoughts are powerful but have opposite results. Today I want to talk to you about how both can impact you, and how the power of  positive thinking  can truly transform every aspect of your life.

The Benefits and Power of Positive Thinking

Positive thinking means you look for solutions and expect to find them.

You don’t ignore problems, but instead of complaining about them or letting them overpower you, you actively look for ways to overcome them. You take responsibility for your life on a consistent basis because you understand you are in control of how your life progresses.

A positive thinker finds the benefits — or the bright side — of challenges and expects things to work out well.

We’ve all felt a rush of energy after hearing a speech on the benefits of positive thinking, so let that be your sign that it works!

Having a positive attitude means you have an optimistic outlook. An optimistic attitude means you have hope. You believe things will work out well and ultimately you will have success.

Scientists have been studying the health  benefits of positive thinking  for a long time. Research suggests that positive optimistic people tend to have better mental health and physical health and even live longer.

Having a positive outlook can give you a reduced risk of having a heart attack, getting a cold, and being depressed.

Positive thinking can lower a person’s risk of death from serious illnesses, including cancer, infections, heart disease, stroke, and lung conditions. It improves the outcomes of patients with brain tumors and traumatic brain injury and boosts your immune system.

A positive state of mind even gives you a higher pain tolerance.

When you have a positive outlook, you are better equipped to take action, cope with stress and hardships, think more creatively, and be better at problem-solving.

Thinking positively puts you in a better mood and as a result, helps you to form positive relationships with co-workers, family members, friends, and new acquaintances.

Signs of Positive Thinking

How do you recognize a positive mindset? People with positive attitudes tend to have a healthy lifestyle. They smile more, are more pleasant to be around, and are more calm under pressure.

Someone with a more positive outlook is often willing to try new things. They have higher self-esteem, love to have a good laugh and point out the silver lining in every gray cloud.

A positive outlook is infectious, and people with a positive outlook can’t help but share it with those around them.

Positive thinkers are always kind to people and don’t talk negatively about themselves or others.

People with more positive thoughts have better coping skills and know how to manage stress better by doing things like exercising more often and having a healthier diet.

The Effects of Negative Thoughts

The opposite of an optimistic attitude and a positive outlook is a pessimistic outlook.

Negative emotions and thoughts put limitations on your brain activity and ability to make choices.

When you are faced with a destructive emotion, such as fear, you can think of little else except what you are fearful of.

This can be helpful when you are in a dangerous situation and you instinctively think of running away from it so you can be safe and protect your well-being.

But fear is detrimental when it prevents you from trying something new that could change your life for good because you are afraid you might be laughed at, rejected, or fail.

The same is true for anger, jealousy, sadness, loneliness, annoyance, guilt, frustration, and other negative emotions.

Negative thoughts prevent us from progressing, and having a negative outlook prevents us from being happy. It affects both your mental and physical health and well-being.

Pessimistic attitudes attract more negativity to you. Complaining, being cynical, not trusting, and blaming make it more likely that disappointing things will continue to come to you.

This way of thinking can cause specific mortality issues as well. A  35-year prospective cohort study  conducted with over 13,000 elderly men and women residents of the Leisure World retirement community in California found that people with a negative attitude have an increased risk of death than those with a more positive mindset.

It is also  linked to cardiovascular disease . Emotions like worry, depression, loneliness, chronic stress, and anger are characteristics of thinking negatively, and they can all increase your risk of heart disease.

Signs of Negative Thinking

Turn a negative thought into a positive one by recognizing the signs of a pessimistic outlook.

One sign is perfectionism. When you set standards that are impossible to reach, you constantly set yourself up for failure.

Another sign of a damaging attitude is anticipating that the worst will happen without any facts to back that up. You may feel like the whole world is against you and more bad things happen to you than good.

When you get to the end of your day and obsess about the negative events that happened but filter out all the many positive experiences you had, you are allowing a harmful attitude to control your outlook on life.

Those who do not make a habit of thinking positively see a glass half empty instead of half full. They focus on what they do not have instead of being grateful for what they do have. The forefront of their thinking is about what is going wrong instead of what is going right.

People with negative attitudes also tend to:

  • Automatically blame themselves when bad things happen
  • Blame others instead of taking responsibility for their own thoughts or feelings
  • Magnify minor problems into much bigger negative events
  • Dwell on  past experiences and mistakes  instead of looking toward the future
  • Focus on minor details instead of seeing the bigger picture
  • Have poor stress management skills and do not make their mental health a priority

Practice Positive Self-Talk vs. Negative Self-Talk 

Stop negative self-talk with the positive things you say to yourself, words of encouragement, recognition of your successes, and sincere compliments that build your self-esteem.

Self-talk is the thoughts that run through your head. Sometimes we are not even aware of the stream of thoughts that are playing in our subconscious mind.

But if we tap into our thought processes, we can have more control over whether we are practicing more positive self-talk or the opposite.

If your internal dialogue is mostly positive, you are a positive thinker. If it’s often negative, it reflects in a bad attitude and pessimistic outlook.

Positive thinking creates positive emotions, positive attitudes, and positive results, whereas negative thinking will keep you stagnant.

Let me show you some ways you can replace pessimistic thoughts with positive thoughts:

  • Instead of saying, “I don’t want to do that, I’ve never done it before,” say, “I’ll try it because I may learn something new.”
  • Instead of thinking, “I’m never going to get better at this,” say, “I’ll try again until I figure it out.”

We tend to be hard on ourselves, but we need to be our biggest cheerleaders.

So when you feel you’ve made a mistake or even failed at something, think instead, “What can I learn from this so that I’ll be more successful?”

Don’t think about what if you fail, think about what if you  succeed .

How to Practice Positive Thinking

You can train your mind to think positively by leveraging a simple scientific concept: Your working memory can only focus on a few concepts at a time.

For example, have you ever found it difficult to talk on the phone and listen to someone else at the same time?

So, to help you train your mind, all you have to do is keep it focused on uplifting thoughts until you form the same types of neural pathways that are created when you establish a new habit. With focused practice, you make a habit of more positive thinking.

Practice the virtues of positive psychology, which focuses on building your physical and mental health along with character traits like courage, gratitude, hope, humor, knowledge, and encouragement.

When an adverse event occurs, remember that it’s your response that truly determines the outcome. Always look for a positive response or optimistic lesson when such events take place.

Use the following eight strategies to develop a positive mental attitude and have a more positive outlook on your life and the world around you.

Know Yourself

Identify what your unfavorable habits are so you can assess areas of needed change.

Notice the thoughts you have during the day. Where does your mind wander to when you are driving, walking, or your hands are busy? What kind of internal dialogue do you have when you are faced with challenges, negative situations, or the mundane aspects of daily life?

If your answers to those questions were related to negative thought patterns or habits, start to replace them with positive ones.

Start by identifying the parts of your life that tend to cause negative feelings and thoughts. It might be a relationship, your morning commute, co-workers, a family member, work environment, or other responsibilities.

Then, think of positive ways you can approach these circumstances. Start small by focusing on one issue at a time and apply principles of positive psychology with self-talk and a good attitude.

Are you a glass-half-empty person, or a glass-half-full one?

Get in touch with the inner workings of your mind by asking yourself if you fall into any of these thought patterns:

  • All or nothing: I didn’t do it perfectly, so I failed.
  • Jumping to conclusions: Things aren’t going well now, so obviously it’s not going to end well.
  • Emotional reasoning: I feel she doesn’t like me, so it must be true, even though there is no evidence to back it up.
  • Overgeneralizing: I didn’t make my sales quota this month, so I’m a terrible salesperson.
  • Mental filter: I got one negative comment on my social media post, and even though there were 20 positive comments, it must have been a bad post.

Find Good in the World

Optimists seem to have different ways of dealing with the world that set them apart from the average.

Optimists look for the good in every problem or difficulty.  When things go wrong, as they often do, they say, “That’s good!”  They then set about finding something positive about the situation.

What we know is that, if you are looking for something good or beneficial in a person or situation, you will always find it.  And while you are looking, you will be a more positive and cheerful person.

An excellent way to find more good in the world is to develop better coping skills. Try some of these ways:

  • Make meaningful connections with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or groups.
  • Focus on finding solutions instead of worrying about the problem.
  • Look for opportunities to learn new things.
  • Accept change as a natural part of life, and understand you can’t change some things.
  • Face challenges head-on instead of ignoring them or wishing they’d go away.
  • Keep things in perspective by not blowing a situation out of proportion.
  • Take care of yourself by eating healthy, exercising, and relaxing.

Be Clear About Your Goals

Optimists keep their minds on what they want and keep looking for ways to get it. They are clear about their goals and they are confident that they will accomplish them, sooner or later.

Focus on what you want out of life and make a plan to move forward. Don’t allow setbacks to discourage you. Instead, remind yourself that positive things can come out of all situations.

Refrain from comparing yourself to others. You are a unique individual who has your own story to tell.

Successful people define what is most important to them and prioritize the activities of their daily lives so that they will meet their goals, despite tough situations, distractions from the outside world, or the negative aspects or attitudes of others.

Goal setting gives meaning to your life. It gives you something meaningful to focus on and provides a reason to have a daily to-do list of important things to accomplish.

When you reach goals or the small milestones that lead to your final destination, you increase your self-esteem and motivation, both of which make you a more positive thinker.

Practice Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are positive phrases that can be repeated over and over to teach you how to get rid of negative thoughts and encourage a positive outlook.

Peer-reviewed studies  support the health benefits of affirmations. For example, a recent study conducted by members of James Cook University in Australia found that self-affirmations have a positive effect on coping skills and well-being.

A positive person thinks positive thoughts and uses positive words. Choose your words carefully in speaking, writing, and thinking.

The words you choose affect how others respond to you. Stop complaining and make a habit of sharing positive information.

Stay positive by choosing words like “I can,” “I will try,” “It is possible,” and “I am capable.”

Add positive affirmations  to your morning routine, such as “I am happy with who I am right now, ” “I am confident,” “I am strong,” “I am enough,” and “I choose to be happy.”

Add Positivity to Your Everyday Life

Positive people help you to change your own attitude to have a more positive approach and outlook.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel confident, optimistic, and encouraged. Identify the negative people in your life and find ways to distance yourself from them or improve the relationship.

Watch and listen to positive media, including upbeat music, news, and social media posts. Read books, articles, and blog posts that boost your positive mindset.

Even colors and images affect your attitude. Pay attention to the way your home and office are decorated. Hang photographs and pictures that make you think positive thoughts and help you maintain a positive attitude. Use colors in your surroundings that make you happy.

I also  find motivation from inspirational quotes  and messages to be very useful when trying to induce positive thoughts. Keep a collection of positive quotes in a journal, on your Pinterest board, in the notes on your phone, or in a document on your computer, and refer to them often.

Decide to Be Happy and Have a Positive Outlook

While it is healthy to have sad moments when circumstances call for it, you can maintain an overall positive outlook on life.

Resolve from now to see your glass of life as half full rather than half empty. Happy people give thanks for the many blessings in life rather than worrying or complaining about the things they do not have.

Assume the best of intentions on the part of everyone around you.  Most people are pretty decent, honest, and trying to do the very best they know how to.  When you look for something good in their words and actions, you will almost always find something.

Looking on the bright side is most important when things go wrong. It helps you to find perspective, cope, and have hope that things will get better.

Feel Grateful

When you practice gratitude, you look at your life in a more positive way.

You notice the things that are going well, the positive aspects of your life that bring joy, and the random acts of kindness others extend to you.

Spend time each day cultivating a positive mindset by writing what you are grateful for in your gratitude journal. Take note of positive events, feelings, and circumstances.

You will find this one habit will improve your mental health and well-being and soon, practicing positive thinking will be natural to you. Writing regularly in your gratitude journal creates a habit of guiding your thoughts toward what you are grateful for.

So, in the same way that you write down your thankfulness, you will find yourself automatically thinking of gratitude in every circumstance you find yourself in during the day.

Smile, Play, and Laugh More Often

A simple smile can turn a bad day into a good one. Harness the power a smile has on yourself and others by making a habit of smiling more often.

Find reasons to smile and let yourself be happy.

Taking time to play is helpful to maintain a positive outlook. Schedule time for recreation and spending time with people you like doing things you enjoy.

Have a playful attitude. When you stop complaining about  negative or stressful situations, and find humor instead, you are able to breathe deeply and diffuse stress.

Smiling, playing, and laughing help reduce stress, which makes you happier and healthier, naturally leading to positive thinking.

Positive Thinking Creates Positive Outcomes

Developing a positive attitude can help you in more ways than you might realize. When you think positive thoughts, you don’t allow your mind (conscious or  subconscious ) to entertain any negative thoughts or doubts. Positive thoughts can literally be the key to success.

After you learn how to think positively, you will notice amazing changes all around you. Your brain will actually begin to operate in a state of free-flowing feel-good hormones called endorphins, which will make you feel lighter and happier.

You’ll also notice a major boost in confidence and will feel more capable of taking on new assignments and challenges that might have previously been outside your comfort zone.

By reducing your self-limiting beliefs, you will effectively release your brakes and experience growth like you never imagined. Essentially, you can change your entire life simply by harnessing the power of positive thinking.

Begin now to harness the power of positive thinking by practicing these habits to keep a positive attitude. Write down your goals and use my  SMART Goals Template  to help you develop new skills and create new ideas on how to cultivate and keep a positive outlook.

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The Power of Positivity

Why is positivity so important and how do you grow yours find out here..

Posted January 1, 2021 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

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Positivity refers to our tendency to be optimistic in life. This is in contrast to negativity, which is all about thinking, feeling, and doing negative things. When we have positivity, we might think positive, have positive emotions, and do positive things.

Positivity can lead to better mental health and well-being (take the well-being quiz here ). For example, self-directed positive thinking can buffer us from the effects of stress (Taylor & Brown, 1994). So try being positive toward yourself, for example, by building your self-compassion skills.

Future-oriented positivity can also be powerful. For example, optimism can lead to better social relationships and a better ability to cope with stress (Taylor & Brown, 1994).

Examples of Positivity

Here are some examples to help you use the power of positivity in your life.

  • Self-oriented positivity: “I'm a good person.”
  • Other-oriented positivity: “My friends aren't perfect, but they are there for me when I need them.”
  • Gratitude : “I’m so lucky to have such a great husband."
  • Paying attention to the positive: “That movie was so cool.”
  • Savoring: “That vacation last year made me feel so relaxed and connected.”
  • Future-oriented positivity: “I'm looking forward to my friend's 'Friendsgiving' this year.”

Brain Training and Positivity

Research has shown that we can improve cognitive function in ways that boost positivity. For example, computerized training that leads people to focus on the positive over the negative contributes to positive outcomes (Wadlinger & Isaacowitz, 2008).

Power of Positivity Practices

Here are some practices that can help you increase your positivity.

1. Write a self-compassion letter

Being comfortable with yourself—and showing yourself some compassion—can make it easier to find, express, and receive positivity. To build your self-compassion, try writing yourself a self-compassion letter (Shapira & Mongrain, 2010). In this letter, you say nice things to yourself and give yourself a break for anything that you might have been judging yourself for.

2. Practice positive reappraisal

Positive reappraisal is an emotion regulation strategy that involves trying to reframe the situation to find its benefits and decrease our negative emotions.

3. Practice gratitude

Gratitude journals and lists are good ways to grow positivity. Just try to think of something you're grateful for each day or every few days to boost your gratitude.

4. Try doing a positivity meditation

Mindfulness meditation has become wildly popular. But what about positivity meditations? These can help you focus your thoughts on the positive and improve your mood. You can find several of these meditations on YouTube.

When Positivity Might Backfire

It turns out that forcing people into positivity can backfire. For example, putting pessimists into a positive mood not only hurts performance, but it can also actually make them feel more anxious . Sometimes we use worry and other negative outcomes to help us. Also, suppression and other forms of emotional avoidance are not good for well-being. So if positivity doesn't feel right for you, or doesn't feel right in a specific situation, that's okay.

How to Boost the Power of Positivity

Sometimes we just need to get our minds open and ready to think more positively. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What positive qualities do you have?
  • What strengths do you have?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What do you have to look forward to (or what can you create so you do have things to look forward to)?

In Sum: Capitalizing on the Power of Positivity

If you want more positivity, you can build it. Just be sure not to force positivity when it doesn't feel right. The more you practice skills that generate positivity, the happier you can become.

Created with content from The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.

Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1994). Positive illusions and well-being revisited: separating fact from fiction.

Wadlinger, H. A., & Isaacowitz, D. M. (2008). Looking happy: The experimental manipulation of a positive visual attention bias. Emotion, 8(1), 121.

Shapira, L. B., & Mongrain, M. (2010). The benefits of self-compassion and optimism exercises for individuals vulnerable to depression. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5, 377-389.

Norem, J. K., & Chang, E. C. (2002). The positive psychology of negative thinking. Journal of clinical psychology, 58(9), 993-1001.

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. , is a consultant, writer, and expert on well-being technology.

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How to Think Positive

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

how to write an essay on positive thinking

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

how to write an essay on positive thinking

Marko Geber / Getty Images

You have probably heard a thing or two about the benefits of positive thinking . Research suggests that positive thinkers have better stress coping skills, stronger immunity, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

While it is not a health panacea, taking an optimistic view rather than ruminating on negative thoughts can benefit your overall mental well-being. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to learn how to think more positively.

Benefits of Thinking Positively

Being a positive thinker can have a number of important health benefits. In one study, researchers found that people who had a more optimistic outlook had a lower risk of dying of a number of serious illnesses including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Respiratory diseases

Studies have also shown that optimists tend to be both physically and mentally healthier than their more pessimistic counterparts. For example, research has shown that thinking more positively is associated with improved immunity, increased resilience to stress, and lower rates of depression.

How to Think More Positively

So what can you do to become a more positive thinker? A few common strategies involve learning how to identify negative thoughts and replacing these thoughts with more positive ones. While it might take some time, eventually you may find that thinking positively starts to come more naturally.

Avoid Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk involves the things you mentally tell yourself. Think of this as the inner voice inside your mind that analyzes how you perform and interact with the world around you. If your self-talk centers on negative thoughts , your self-esteem can suffer.

So what can you do to combat these negative self-talk patterns? One way to break the pattern is to start noticing when you have these thoughts and then actively work to change them.

When you start thinking critical thoughts about yourself, take a moment to pause and assess.

Paying attention to your self-talk is a great place to start when trying to think more positively. If you notice that you tend to engage in negative self-talk, you can start looking for ways to change your thought patterns and reframe your interpretations of your own behaviors.

It can be tough to stay optimistic when there is little humor or lightheartedness in your life. Even when you are facing challenges, it is important to remain open to laughter and fun.

Sometimes, simply recognizing the potential humor in a situation can lessen your stress and brighten your outlook. Seeking out sources of humor such as watching a funny sitcom or reading jokes online can help you think more positive thoughts.

Cultivate Optimism

Learning to think positively is like strengthening a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it will become. Researchers believe that your explanatory style , or how you explain events, is linked to whether you are an optimist or a pessimist.

Optimists tend to have a positive explanatory style. If you attribute good things that happen to your skill and effort, then you are probably an optimist.

Pessimists, on the other hand, usually have a negative attributional style. If you credit these good events to outside forces, then you likely have a more pessimistic way of thinking.

The same principles hold true for how you explain negative events. Optimists tend to view bad or unfortunate events as isolated incidents that are outside of their control while pessimists see such things as more common and often blame themselves.

By taking a moment to analyze the event and ensure that you are giving yourself the credit you are due for the good things and not blaming yourself for things outside of your control, you can start to become more optimistic.

Practice Gratitude

Consider keeping a gratitude journal where you can regularly write about the things in life that you are grateful for. Research has found that writing down grateful thoughts can improve both your sense of optimism as well as your overall well-being.  

When you find yourself dwelling on more negative thoughts or feelings, spend a few minutes writing down a few things in life that bring you joy. This simple activity can help shift your focus to a more optimistic mindset.

Keep Practicing

There is no on-off switch for positive thinking. Even if you are a natural-born optimist, thinking positively when faced with challenging situations can be difficult. Like any goal, the key is to stick with it for the long term. Even if you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, you can look for ways to minimize negative self-talk and cultivate a more optimistic outlook.

Finally, do not be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family.

When you start engaging in negative thinking, call a friend or family member whom you can count on to offer positive encouragement and feedback.

Remember that to think positively, you need to nurture yourself. Investing energy in things you enjoy and surrounding yourself with optimistic people are just two ways that you can encourage positive thinking in your life.

When to Seek Help

If you are finding it difficult to think positively and instead feel like negative thoughts or emotions are taking over your life, you should talk to your doctor or therapist. Negative emotions that are causing distress or interfering with your ability to function normally may be a sign of a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety .

A doctor or mental health professional can evaluate your symptoms and recommend treatments that can help. Psychotherapy and medications may be used to address symptoms and improve your ability to think more positively.

A Word From Verywell

Learning how to think positively is not a quick fix, and it is something that may take some time to master. Analyzing your own thinking habits and finding new ways to incorporate a more positive outlook into your life can be a great start toward adopting a more positive thinking approach.

Boehm JK, Kubzansky LD. The heart's content: the association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health . Psychological Bulletin , 2012;138(4):655-91. doi:10.1037/a0027448

Kim ES, Hagan KA, Grodstein F, DeMeo DL, De Vivo I, Kubzansky LD. Optimism and cause-specific mortality: a prospective cohort study . Am J Epidemiol . 2017;185(1):21-29. doi:10.1093/aje/kww182

Segerstrom SC, Sephton SE.  Optimistic expectancies and cell-mediated immunity: the role of positive affect .  Psychol Sci . 2010;21(3):448-455. doi:10.1177/0956797610362061

Naseem Z, Khalid R. Positive thinking in coping with stress and health outcomes: literature review . Journal of Research and Reflections in Education , 2010;4(1):42-61.

Santos V, Paes F, Pereira V, et al. The role of positive emotion and contributions of positive psychology in depression treatment: systematic review .  Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health . 2013;9:221-237. Published 2013 Nov 28. doi:10.2174/1745017901309010221

Gillham JE, Shatté AJ, Reivich KJ, Seligman MEP. Optimism, pessimism, and explanatory style . In: Chang EC, ed. Optimism & Pessimism: Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2001:53-75. doi:10.1037/10385-003

Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Gratitude and well being: the benefits of appreciation .  Psychiatry (Edgmont) . 2010;7(11):18-22.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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Improve your life with a new outlook: 10 benefits of positive thinking

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What is positive thinking?

10 benefits of positive thinking.

6 tips to start “thinking positive”

How to identify negative thinking

Examples of positive thinking, switching mindsets.

When you're feeling down, the last thing you want to hear is that glass half full metaphor. What's that supposed to do for you? 

It can seem like there are no positive thinking benefits in that moment. You're disappointed because you want the full glass. And you don't have it. Or, maybe you feel like your glass doesn't exist at all. It's broken, stolen, shattered, someone else's. 

Angry, frustrated, disappointed, sad, afraid — you need to spend some time with those negative feelings . The key is to acknowledge them, then move on.

When someone tells you to "cheer up" or "think positive," it can seem pretty tone-deaf. Relentless positivity without reality rarely helps. That's why toxic positivity has given positive thinking a bad rap . 

While it may not work any immediate miracles, positive thinking that acknowledges reality can benefit us all in the long run. Hope and growth are good for your health and wellness.

Some people are more optimistic than others, but that doesn't mean you can't learn to see the opportunities and silver linings in life.

The first thing to know about positive thinking is that it doesn't mean that you ignore facts or logic or force yourself to have only positive emotions. That’s not realistic.

Positive thinking means that you approach negative news or stressful situations with a positive outlook. You’re able to look beyond the crisis or setback rather than being consumed by it.

You may have to acknowledge and process the negative aspects, but you understand that you will get through it. You know that bad news doesn’t mean the entire world is bad or that you will never experience goodness again. 

A positive thinker assumes best intentions from others and interprets actions more favorably rather than jumping to negative thoughts and assuming the worst. A positive thinker can visualize good outcomes . 

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk . The thoughts running through our heads never end. Some may be from clear facts and unbiased, but many have a positive or negative outlook. 

If you practice more negative self-talk and think about all the downsides, you're probably more of a pessimist. But that's not to say we can't change our behavior to adopt a more positive mindset. 

It takes some effort, but after you practice consciously adopting a more positive approach, your brain will form new ways of thinking. Some optimists work hard to combat their negative emotions, but negative thought patterns can be changed with mindfulness and self-compassion .

Why is it important to have a positive mindset?

The power of positive thinking can impact your physical and mental health. The health benefits of positive thinking may surprise you, too.

Read over this list of 10 benefits that positive thinking can bring to your well-being, and think about how they could improve your life:

  • Better stress management and coping skills during stressful moments 
  • Lower risk of depression
  • More resistant to the common cold and a stronger immune system
  • Decreased risk of heart attacks and heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better problem-solving
  • Greater ability to adapt to change
  • More creative thinking
  • Consistent attitude with fewer mood swings
  • Stronger leadership skills


We all want to reap the benefits of positive thinking, but sometimes we need help getting started. A BetterUp coach will help guide you towards practicing more positive self-talk. Start experiencing what it feels like to have a coach that's focused on your growth with BetterUp.

6 tips to start "thinking positive"

Having a positive attitude takes practice. If you struggle with positive thinking, know that you can't completely change how you practice self-talk overnight. It can be challenging for people with more pessimistic thoughts to change their habits of thought. 

It's important to understand that sometimes you'll slip back into thinking negative thoughts, but that's okay. What matters is that you're trying to empower yourself to have a more positive mindset by becoming aware of your automatic negative thoughts and reframing them to be more positive.

Becoming aware lets you question your negative automatic thoughts. Many coaches recommend some version of these questions to ask of your thoughts:

  • Is it true? Meaning: Is the sky falling, or is there another possible interpretation?
  • Is it helpful? Meaning: Does this interpretation help me get through this moment productively or inspire me to find new solutions?
  • Is it kind? Meaning: Does this thinking help me feel capable and able to reach out to others for help or support?

Here are six more tips to help you start thinking positively:

1. Remember to be grateful

You can be grateful for many things in your life, both big and small, like having your family close by or the rain holding off during your walk to work. Write down whatever you're grateful for and keep it in a gratitude journal . When you're feeling pessimistic or upset, reflect on what you're thankful for in your life to boost your mood.

2. Get plenty of sleep 

Are you getting enough sleep each night, or at least trying to? Being well-rested sets you up for a better day. It helps us recharge and get our tasks done. Dwelling on how tired you are won't help your attitude, either. Your self-talk will be filled with wanting to get your day over with impatient thoughts, so try developing a good nightly routine that prioritizes your sleep schedule.


3. Accept situations as they are

If you're in a negative situation, there's no sense in being in denial and pretending it never happened. For example, if your brother has taken the car and you have to walk to an appointment, reframe the situation: this gives you the chance to get some exercise and fresh air.

Understand your locus of control . Accept what you can't change and do your best to think of the positives instead.

4. Identify areas you need to work on

Is there one particular situation or environment that makes you incredibly pessimistic? If you can identify areas that throw off your positive outlook on things, you can start to work on strategies that'll help. It can be something like your commute to work that gives you negative thoughts.

Try to have fun with the challenge. Next time, create a fun playlist of music to put on when you head to work. Avoid people or places that really drain your energy, and try spending more time with positive people.

5. Remember to laugh

Trying your best to find humor in your daily life helps you look on the bright side. It also helps you to manage your stress levels and reduce your heart rate, potentially improving your physical health.

If you can't laugh, then at least smile. Laughing along with yourself can help you accept any mistakes and calm yourself down . If you need to, watch a funny video or phone a friend that can make you laugh.

6. Keep it real

While we love positive thinking benefits, you have to remember to be reasonable and logical with your mindset. Only considering positive thoughts blocks out any thoughts about how you'd react or prepare for something negative. 

Plus, disappointment will hit you harder when things don't turn out as you hoped. You can’t avoid encountering some bad days and negative outcomes in life, so a realistic positive attitude is best.


Negative thinking can creep up on us in a few different ways. If you're used to practicing negative self-talk, you may not even realize when you're doing it. It becomes automatic and actually creates cognitive bias in how we view the world.

Here are two examples of when negative thinking can happen:

Filtering out the positive thoughts

You may only see the downside when facing a difficult situation. You might automatically filter out all positive aspects and only focus on the bad things. When we forget about positive affirmations, we forget that we're capable and have some control in our lives .

We also forget to look for humor in a situation. Positive thoughts may be attached to the situation, but you can't see them because you're too focused on the negative ones. Humor is a great way to bring the positives to the front.

Polarizing our thoughts and reactions

Negative thinking can happen when you polarize everything that happens to you right away. Things can only be good or bad with nothing in between. When we're experiencing anything from new changes or something from our usual routine, they're perceived as positive or negative.

Either things work out just as you wanted, or everything is a failure and a waste of time. This isn't reality. Life is shades of gray and most outcomes have a mix of highs and lows. Both are opportunities for learning how to improve the next round.

Positive thinking helps you change your attitude towards whatever situation or environment you're in. 

Read these two examples of positive thinking and imagine how a change in attitude and perspective could impact the experience:

1. Trying something new

Your coworker just called in sick, but their work still has to be completed to meet the deadline. You've never done their job before, and you're worried you'll fail and ruin the entire project. Rather than spiraling into thinking the worst, you see this as an opportunity.

Your team needs you, and you get to learn new skills, work with new people, and experience the tasks that your coworker handles. You might nail it, or you might just get by, and either is ok.


2. Getting out of your comfort zone

You're invited to a friend’s party. A few of your mutual friends were supposed to go, but they canceled at the last minute. You show up to the party and only know the host, making you feel awkward and bored.

Rather than feeling like a socially-awkward loser or feeling resentful toward your friends who canceled, you accept that you don't know many people here and feel grateful for seeing your friend on their birthday. You focus on your friend's special moment and do your best to meet new people.

Remember: You grow when you are uncomfortable .

Why wait when it comes to learning how to reap positive thinking benefits? Start experiencing what it's like to fill your life with positive self-talk. You’ll learn to leave behind your self-sabotaging negativity , be your best self, and meet your goals unhindered.

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Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

How (and why) to cultivate a positive mental attitude

Try a positive mindset for success and well-being, learn how to stay positive with these 15 tips, fake it till you make it: how to use what you don’t know to grow, learn how to be your own best ally for reaching your goals, how to do what you love and love what you do, the problems with hustle culture — and how it's tied to mental health, how to use fear as a motivator, dare to daydream: how to overcome lack of ambition, what causes a lack of motivation plus 9 tips to get it back, 41 tips to stay motivated even when it gets tough, fear of success: why we’re sometimes afraid of being our best, extrinsic motivation: what is it, and can it lead to fulfillment, what is grit 5 ways to develop it without burning out, using mindset coaching for lasting personal growth, what moves you understanding motivation is your key to success, how to answer “what motivates you” in a job interview, how to get inspired: 15 ideas to help you reach your potential, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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    Positivity means 'thinking optimistically, looking for solutions, expecting good results and success, and focusing and making life happier.'. When you think of positivity, the things that pop to your head are smiling, happiness, and being cheerful, but that's not all of it. Happiness is a mood and positivity is a mindset.

  9. Positive Thinking: Free Cause and Effect Essay Samples and Examples

    Positive thinking is a powerful tool for coping with hardships and improving the quality of one's life. It has nothing to do with ignorant optimism, when an individual refuses to notice a problem; positive thinking is a kind of self-talk. Thinking in a positive, self-encouraging way has numerous effects on human psychological and physical health.

  10. Concept and Importance of the Positive Thinking Essay

    Positive thinking helps build deeper and better relationships that are founded on trust, great understanding and support (Peale, 2003, p.54). In addition, this helps create a healthier lifestyle because being at peace with friends, family and society gives peace of mind that is important for a good life. It eradicates anxiety and fear because ...

  11. Positive Mindset: How to Develop a Positive Mental Attitude

    Optimism: a willingness to make an effort and take a chance instead of assuming your efforts won't pay off. Acceptance: acknowledging that things don't always turn out how you want them to, but learning from your mistakes. Resilience: bouncing back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up.

  12. Dr. Jordan B. Peterson's Essay Guide: 10 Steps to Clearer Thinking

    Journal of Essay Writing, 01, 15-24. Different conventions hold for different types of source material such as webpages, books, and articles. All the details regarding APA style can be found at ...

  13. The Power of Positive Thinking

    4. Journaling: Writing down positive experiences and thoughts also reinforces a positive mindset. Reflecting on these entries serves as a powerful reminder of the good in one's life and promotes ...

  14. Think Positive: 11 Ways to Boost Positive Thinking

    It can help develop your brain in ways that may make the other positive thinking strategies easier to implement. 3. Strengthen your brain's ability to work with positive information. Once your ...

  15. Benefits of Positive Thinking for Body and Mind

    Improved Wellness. Not only can positive thinking impact the ability to cope with stress and compromise immunity, but it also has an impact on overall well-being. Specifically, it is tied to a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular issues, lower depression risk, and an increased lifespan. While researchers aren't entirely clear on why ...

  16. Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk

    Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information or expectations due ...

  17. The Power Of Positive Thinking & How to Be More Positive

    Choose your words carefully in speaking, writing, and thinking. The words you choose affect how others respond to you. Stop complaining and make a habit of sharing positive information. Stay positive by choosing words like "I can," "I will try," "It is possible," and "I am capable.".

  18. 9 Ways to Think Positive

    2. Focus on positive self-talk. What you say to yourself can make a difference in your mindset, so consider talking with yourself how you would to a friend or loved one. Replacing negative self ...

  19. The Power of Positivity

    Here are some practices that can help you increase your positivity. 1. Write a self-compassion letter. Being comfortable with yourself—and showing yourself some compassion—can make it easier ...

  20. How to Think Like an Optimist and Stay Positive

    Keep Practicing. There is no on-off switch for positive thinking. Even if you are a natural-born optimist, thinking positively when faced with challenging situations can be difficult. Like any goal, the key is to stick with it for the long term. Even if you find yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, you can look for ways to minimize negative ...

  21. 10 Positive Thinking Benefits and How to Get Started

    Here are six more tips to help you start thinking positively: 1. Remember to be grateful. You can be grateful for many things in your life, both big and small, like having your family close by or the rain holding off during your walk to work. Write down whatever you're grateful for and keep it in a gratitude journal.