Being positive

This page covers why we should think in a more positive way. Including a short self-study module on how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones to help you become more optimistic when overcoming challenging situations.  

Is the glass half full or half empty?

We’ve all heard this age-old saying which asks us are we optimists or pessimists? Can we find the positives or are we consumed with negative thoughts? Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand or brush things under the carpet during challenging situations. Positive thinking just means that you confront hurdles in a more positive and productive way.

How do you talk to yourself throughout the day?

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your mind throughout the day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative.

The human brain is naturally programmed to focus on negative aspects of life before recognizing the positives. However, it is possible to retrain your brain to form healthier thought processes and eventually have a more positive perspective on life. Even if positive thinking doesn’t come naturally to you, there are plenty of great reasons to start cultivating affirmative thoughts and minimising negative self-talk. Research shows that having a positive outlook may: lower rates of stress and depression, increase the immune system’s ability to fight illnesses, increase lifespan, improve cardiovascular health, and improve psychological and physical wellbeing.

This short self-study module below covers how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones to help you become more optimistic when overcoming challenging situations.  

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Being Positive
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Before you begin.
Before you begin.

Throughout this self-study module, remember:
• Participate fully
• Be open and honest with yourself
• Treat yourself with kindness and respect
• Be present
• Enjoy it!

Opening task
Before you start, take a minute or two to think about how you look at things in life. Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person?
We can learn to be positive.
We can’t stop negative thoughts, but we can learn how to turn them into a positive.

All it takes is a slight change of outlook to get out of the habit of negative thinking and see the bigger picture. Next time a negative thought arises, stop to examine the belief which is driving the thought and ask yourself, is it a rational or irrational?

Positive emotions.
Positive emotions can broaden our mind and build resourcefulness in ways that help us become more resilient to adversity.
Learning to be optimistic.
Optimism can be learned.

By making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. When faced with stressful situations, positive thinkers cope more effectively than pessimists.

Task: positive thinking
Next time you encounter a disappointment, focus on the things you can do to resolve the situation. Rather than dwelling on frustrations, devise a plan of action and ask others for advice.
Don't forget.
Don't forget.

If you actively take steps to change your perspective, you may naturally start to see more situations from an increased positive point of view. Write down three things each day that you are grateful for. This might be a challenge after a particularly difficult day but it's a good habit to get into.

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This page was last reviewed in February 2024

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