If anyone's ever told you to "just think positive" about
a tough situation, they've actually offered you a bit of medical advice.
Studies have found that people who are more pessimistic could be more
susceptible to heart disease, compared to those with a more optimistic
mindset. Negativity can breed stress, and too much of that can lead to
a high risk for various health problems, such as anxiety/depression, fatigue
and spikes in heart rate and blood pressure that, over time, may damage
Try some of the following tips and things may start looking up for you:
1. Give your day a good review. If you tend to focus on the bad part of the day (your co-worker didn't
finish a report, creating extra work for you) and not the good (your boss
complimented you for the extra effort), then it's hard to ever feel
positive. Take a few minutes and think about a highlight of the day--write
it down in a journal, post it on Facebook or text a friend. If you want
to get your family involved, ask everyone to share about the best part
of their day while sitting around the dinner table. Gratitude is a gateway
to a positive attitude.
2. Remind yourself to accentuate the positive. A longtime habit of negative thinking can be changed, but it will take
some effort. Commit to thinking a certain number of positive thoughts
each day--it can be done at morning, noon and night, or set alerts on
your cell phone to nudge you throughout the day to come up with something
positive. If it sounds daunting, start small--instead of thinking, "I
hate having an early meeting at work today," say to yourself, "I
don't have a long commute, so the drive will be easy and I can still
sleep in a little longer than most of my co-workers, who live farther
3. Be careful of the company you keep. Do you spend time with people who are gossipy, mean or negative? Then
chances are you will take on those same traits, too. To surround yourself
with positivity, it's important to surround yourself with people whose
optimistic outlook is infectious.
4. Laugh often. They say laughter is the best medicine for good reason: Not only can it
decrease stress, increase your immunity, and help relax the body, but
it's also a powerful mood booster that can help chase pessimism away.
Do something fun with a friend or watch a comedy or your favorite sitcom
5. Be kind to yourself. It's easy to beat yourself up with negative thoughts: "I'm
a failure," "I can't believe I'm so stupid," "I
can't do anything right." That mental self-image needs to be
revised with positive affirmations: "I'm loyal to my friends
and family," "I'm honest," "I have a heart for
helping others." Focus on the traits you like about yourself; if
you have trouble coming up with some, ask a trusted loved one for insight.
Write down those affirmations and memorize them so you can call them up
when you're being too hard on yourself.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical
care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.