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Supporting Your Child’s Adoption Journey: Nurturing a Positive Mindset

Adoption is a beautiful way of building a family, but it can also be a challenging journey for children. From the moment they learn about their adoption status, they may face a range of emotions and questions that can be difficult to process. As a parent, one of your most important roles is to support your child’s adoption journey by nurturing a positive mindset. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of an “adoption mind” and provide tips on how to foster it in your child.

What is an Adoption Mind?

The term “adoption mind” refers to the unique perspective and mindset that many adopted children develop over time. This mindset encompasses their thoughts and feelings about their adoption story, as well as how they view themselves and their place in the world. A positive adoption mind is one that embraces the child’s unique story and sees it as something to be celebrated rather than hidden or ashamed of.

Fostering a Positive Adoption Mindset

Encourage Open Communication – One of the best ways to nurture a positive adoption mind in your child is by encouraging open communication about their adoption story. Let them know that you’re always available to talk and answer any questions they may have. Additionally, consider connecting them with other adoptees or adoptive families who can offer additional support.

Celebrate Adoption – Celebrating your child’s adoption story can help them feel proud of who they are and where they come from. Consider creating traditions around important milestones like Gotcha Day or National Adoption Day. You could also display photos or mementos from their adoption journey in prominent places around your home.

Embrace Differences – Adopted children often have unique cultural or racial backgrounds that differ from those of their adoptive parents. Embracing these differences can help your child feel valued and seen. Consider celebrating holidays or traditions from your child’s birth culture, or exposing them to books and media that feature characters who look like them.

Common Challenges and How to Address Them

Identity Struggles – Many adopted children struggle with questions about their identity and where they fit in. Encourage your child to explore their interests and passions, and support them as they navigate these questions.

Fear of Abandonment – Adopted children may have a heightened fear of abandonment due to their early experiences. Reassure your child that you’re committed to them for life, and consider seeking professional help if these fears become overwhelming.

Grief and Loss – Adoption involves a significant amount of loss for both the birth family and the adoptive family. Acknowledge these losses with your child, but also focus on the positive aspects of their adoption story.

Nurturing a positive adoption mindset in your child is an ongoing process that requires patience, empathy, and open communication. By celebrating your child’s unique story, embracing differences, and acknowledging any challenges they may face along the way, you can help support them on their adoption journey. Remember that every child’s journey is different, so be sure to tailor your approach based on your child’s individual needs and experiences.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


learning to think more positively

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  • Stress management

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:

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. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition. 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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7 science-backed tips to think more positively and how it can benefit your health

  • Positive thinking is the ability to maintain an optimistic outlook in the face of difficult situations. 
  • To think more positively, you can practice mindfulness, journal, and surrounding yourself with optimistic people. 
  • If you consistently struggle to think positively, you should check in with your doctor or a mental health professional. 

Becoming a positive thinker happens when you engage in habits and practices that allow you to face difficult situations while maintaining a positive sense of self. 

According to Danielle Casioppo, MS , Education Specialist at Being Well at Yale, thinking positively is about being an adaptable thinker with an optimistic outlook. A positive thinker has a growth mindset that is capable of seeing obstacles as opportunities and has hope for a good outcome.

Holding pessimistic views about yourself or the world and finding the worst in everything are signs of negative thinking. Positive thinkers don't block all negative emotions or thoughts during times of loss, stress, and loneliness , but they know they have the strength to overcome these moments of adversity. 

 "It is always okay not to think or feel positively all the time. To expect to do so is unrealistic and unhealthy," says Casioppo. 

It's important to note that having an excessive amount of negative thoughts may be a sign of deeper mental health issues. If you feel your negative thoughts and emotions are overwhelming, seek the help of a mental health professional.  

Here are the benefits of thinking positively and how you can train yourself to adopt that mindset.

Benefits of positive thinking

Engaging in positive thinking has proven to not only counter worry, but it also has a host of long-term benefits. 

Here are a few physical and mental health benefits of becoming a positive thinker: 

  • Improves depression
  • Better quality of social relationships
  • Higher quality of life
  • Better coping strategies in times of stress
  • Reduces vulnerability to disappointment

Although thinking positively is a mental attitude, it has physical health benefits as well, which include:

  • Lowers the risk of heart failure
  • Reduces the risk of hypertension
  • Improves fertility in women
  • Reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease and total mortality
  • Fewer chronic illnesses

7 habits that can help you think positive

Being a positive thinker isn't always something that is an innate quality. Positive thinking is something that you can consciously implement in your life over time by guiding your thoughts and feelings in a more optimistic direction and engaging in habits that improve your mindset.

"Cultivating a more positive outlook or mindset does not happen overnight. It's a learnable life-long practice that comes with experience and is even better when shared with others," says Casioppo. 

Here are several techniques that can train your mind to think positively:

  • Disengage from negative information. Although social media platforms provide plenty of benefits, like making meaningful connections and receiving social support, they can also affect your psychological health. Distressing news and social comparison all affect your capability to think positively, as well as your self-esteem. Taking a break from social media will help you focus on the present and disconnect from negativity.
  • Imagine your best possible self every day. By imagining your "Best Possible Self" or (BPS) for five minutes a day over two weeks, you can improve your overall mood and ability to think positively. During each session, construct an image of your BPS in terms of personal, relational, and professional development. This activity encourages you to think of what you want to be while encouraging that you can attain it. The ability to believe in yourself is beneficial to have a positive mindset in life. 
  • Practice positive self-talk. People often say that their harshest critic is themselves, but keep in mind that the language you use to yourself can affect your disposition. To direct your thoughts, feelings, and behavior in a more positive way, reframe how you talk to the voice in your head. Instead of thinking, "It's too difficult and I can't do it," shift to "I'll give it another try from a different angle." By consciously changing the way you talk to yourself, you can begin to think more positively. 
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Listing down what you are grateful for may help you appreciate the positive aspects of life, instead of dwelling on problems. Gratitude provides emotional and interpersonal benefits and is associated with better physical and mental health, increased happiness, and an overall sense of wellbeing . Keeping a gratitude journal can help you think more positively in life because you realize how well things are going.
  • Practice mindfulness. To avoid getting distracted by negative thoughts, consciously engage in the present and be more mindful. Take the time to acknowledge the good things. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings helps you understand yourself better and understand where your negativity may be coming from. The increased sensitivity to how you respond to situations helps you shift to a positive and more productive mindset.
  • Recognize when you entertain negative thoughts . To think more positively, you have to acknowledge and address the areas where you tend to be pessimistic. It can be about your career, social relationships, or even yourself. Focus on one aspect to tackle and consciously approach it in a more optimistic manner. Be introspective and identify why you tend to be pessimistic about that part of your life. Taking action to make positive changes will help you become a more positive person.
  • Be in the company of positive-thinking people . The people you often spend time with greatly influence you, which means that their mindset can rub off on you. Negative thinkers may discourage you from believing that situations can get better, but positive thinkers will inspire you to keep hoping for good outcomes, especially when you're having difficulty to look at the bright side. Surrounding yourself with optimistic people will help you have a positive mindset.

Eventually, these habits will come easily to you if you do your best to practice them every day. 

"Changing our thinking is a learnable skill that can have dramatic effects on our quality of life," Casioppo says. "The way we keep this mindset is by being open and adaptable in our thinking."

Insider's takeaway

Positive thinking is about adapting to unpleasant situations with a good attitude and hoping for a favorable outcome. It is a habit that improves your wellbeing with its numerous mental and physical health benefits. You can train yourself to have a more positive outlook by trying different techniques, but you also have to put in the effort to maintain it.

It is important to feel and acknowledge negative emotions because they help you deal with the problem. Everyone experiences emotions differently, but a positive thinker understands that negative feelings are normal and temporary.

Casioppo recommends practicing self-compassion to let go of any self-criticism about your thoughts. "To move towards positive change in our thinking, we can choose to shift our mindset to being more open to growth, gratitude, and hope, one baby step at a time," she says.

However, if you feel yourself having persistent negative thoughts, you may call the National Alliance on Mental Health helpline at 1-800-950-6264 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "HOME" to 741741.

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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."

learning to think more positively

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.

learning to think more positively

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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How to Think Positively

Last Updated: February 9, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS . Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011. There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 17 testimonials and 85% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,448,591 times.

Having a positive outlook is a choice. You can choose to think thoughts that elevate your mood, throw a more constructive light on difficult situations, and generally color your day with brighter, more hopeful approaches to the things you do. By choosing to take a positive outlook on life, you can begin to shift out of a negative frame of mind and see life as filled with possibilities and solutions instead of worries and obstacles. If you want to know how to think more positively, just follow these tips.

Assessing Your Thinking

Step 1 Take responsibility for your attitude.

  • An increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression and distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better mental and physical well-being
  • Better coping skills during times of stress
  • A more natural ability to form relationships and cement bonds

Step 3 Keep a diary to reflect your thoughts.

  • Your journal can take on any form that you like. If you don’t care to write long-winded reflective paragraphs, you can just make a list of the five most prevalent negative thoughts and positive thoughts you had that day.
  • Be sure to give yourself the time and opportunity to evaluate and reflect on the information in the journal. If you write every day, you may want to reflect at the end of every week.

Combating Negative Thoughts

Step 1 Identify your automatic negative thoughts.

  • An example of an automatic negative thought is, upon hearing that you have an upcoming test, you think, “I’ll probably fail it.” The thought is automatic because it’s your initial reaction to hearing about the test.

Step 2 Challenge your negative thoughts.

  • One way to challenge negative thoughts is to be objective. Write down the negative thought and think about how you would respond if someone else said the thought to you. It’s likely that you could offer an objective rebuttal to someone else’s negativity, even if you find it difficult to do for yourself. [4] X Research source
  • For example, you may have the negative thought, “I always fail tests.” It is unlikely that you would still be in school if you always fail tests. Go back through your files or grades and find tests that you received a passing grade on; these challenge the negative thought. You may even find that you have tests that you passed with As and Bs, which would further confirm that your negativity is exaggerated.

Step 3 Replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts.

  • For example, if you have the thought, “I will probably fail the test,” stop yourself. You’ve already identified the thought as negative and evaluated its accuracy. Now try replacing it with a positive thought. A positive thought doesn’t have to be blindly optimistic, such as “I will definitely get a 100 on the test, even if I don’t study.” It can be something as simple as, “I am going to take time to study and prepare so I do as well on the test as I can.”
  • Use the power of questions. When you ask your brain a question, it tends to find the answer for you. If you ask yourself, "Why is life so terrible?" your brain will try to answer your question. The same is true if you ask yourself, "How did I get to be so lucky?". Ask yourself questions which draw your focus onto positive thoughts.

Step 4 Minimize external influences that stimulate your negativity.

  • To avoid this type of thinking, embrace the shades of gray in life. Instead of thinking in terms of two outcomes (one positive and one negative), make a list of all of the outcomes in between to see that things aren't as dire as they seem.
  • You should also avoid thinking that the only outcomes of your test-taking are an A or an F. There is a lot of “gray area” between the A and the F.

Step 6 Avoid

  • Someone who is personalizing may think, "Betty didn't smile at me this morning. I must have done something to upset her." However, it's more likely that Betty was just having a bad day, and her mood had nothing to do with you.

Step 7 Avoid

  • For example, you may take a test and receive a C, along with feedback from your teacher saying that your performance improved greatly from the last test. Filtering can cause you to only think negatively about the C and ignore the fact that you have shown improvement and growth.

Step 8 Avoid

  • For example, you might think that you’re going to fail an exam you’ve been studying for. A catastrophizer will then extend that insecurity to assume that you’ll then fail the class and have to drop out of college, then end up unemployed and on welfare. If you’re realistic about negative outcomes, you’ll realize that even if you were to fail a test, it’s unlikely that you would necessarily fail the course, and you would not have to drop out of college.

Step 9 Visit a peaceful place.

  • If your workplace has an outdoor area with benches or picnic tables, schedule yourself a little down time to be outside and refresh yourself.
  • If you are unable to physically visit an outdoor peaceful place, try meditating and visiting a pleasant outdoor area with perfect weather in your mind. [11] X Research source

Living an Optimistic Life

Step 1 Give yourself time to change.

  • Consider taking up meditation as a way to center yourself and learn excellent focus. By meditating every day for 10 to 20 minutes at a time that's convenient for you, you can increase your awareness of self and the present, helping you to corral the stinking thinking with greater consciousness. [17] X Research source
  • Try taking a yoga class. Yoga can also help you become more aware of the world as you get in touch with your breathing. [18] X Research source
  • Even just stopping to take deep breaths and rest your mind for a few moments can make you feel happier.

Step 4 Explore your creative side.

  • Take a class to learn about something you've never done before: consider pottery, painting, mixed-media collage, poetry, or wood working. [21] X Research source
  • Try learning a new craft such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, or needlepoint. Craft stores and online tutorials are great resources for beginners who do not want to take a class.
  • Doodle or draw in a sketchbook every day. Try revisiting older drawings and turning them into something new.
  • Be a creative writer. Try penning a poem, short story, or even try your hand at a novel. You can even perform your poetry at an open mic night.
  • Try role-playing, dressing as your favorite TV or comic book character, or trying out for a part at a community theatre. [22] X Research source

Step 5 Surround yourself with positive people.

  • Avoid people who sap your energy and motivation. If you can't avoid them, or don't want to, learn how not to let them get you down and keep your connection with them brief.
  • Avoid dating anyone with a negative outlook. If you're already prone to negative thinking, you'll be falling into a trap. If you do wind up in a relationship with someone who struggles to think positively, though, seeking counseling together might be your best option.

Step 6 Set meaningful goals.

  • Working towards achieving your goals—even if you’re just taking small steps—can make you feel happier. [25] X Research source

Step 7 Don't forget to have fun.

  • Always make time for laughter. Hang out with friends who make you laugh, go to a comedy club, or watch a funny movie. It'll be hard to think negatively when your funny bone is being tickled.

Expert Q&A

  • "Positivity attracts positivity" in the same way that "negativity attracts negativity". If you are kind, nice and helpful to people, you can expect the same treatment back. On the other hand, if you are rude, lacking in manners and unkind to people, then people will not respect you and will avoid you because of your unattractive or belittling attitude. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 4
  • You can't always control events in your life but you can control what you choose to think and feel about them. You can choose to look at things positively or otherwise. You decide. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 2
  • Stay physically fit and eat healthily. These are important foundations for a positive outlook––it's a lot harder to feel positive when you're unwell and/or unfit. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 4

learning to think more positively

  • Sometimes worrying about the past or the future hinders positive thinking. If you're stuck in the past, letting sad or bad experiences from the past direct your present experiences, learn to acknowledge what happened without letting it impact today's thinking and outlook. If you're totally focused on the future to the detriment of now, try to be a little less worried about what's coming ahead and start living more in the present. Thanks Helpful 208 Not Helpful 24
  • If you feel suicidal thoughts, get help immediately. Not only is life worth living, you deserve to live it fully. There are plenty of people ready to help you through despair and hardship. Thanks Helpful 251 Not Helpful 44
  • Anxiety and depression are real conditions in need of caring treatment. They are not to be equated with the generic negative thinking, although such thinking can be a part of what precipitates/prolongs anxiety or depression. Seek immediate medical help for such mental illnesses––the sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you can get your life back on track and feel whole again. Thanks Helpful 226 Not Helpful 44

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Stay Positive when You Know Your Life Sucks

  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/scientific-proof-that-you_n_4384433.html
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950
  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/13/positive-thinking-day-steps_n_5810744.html
  • ↑ http://cmhc.utexas.edu/selfesteem.html
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/peacemeal/201301/what-happens-if-you-dont-watch-what-you-watch
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2
  • ↑ http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/spending-time-outdoors-is-good-for-you
  • ↑ http://greatist.com/happiness/thinking-negative-thoughts-mindfulness-meditation
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201409/6-ways-become-more-positive-today
  • ↑ http://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-tips-to-overcome-negative-thoughts-positive-thinking-made-easy/
  • ↑ https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/learn/creativity
  • ↑ http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/creativity/creativity
  • ↑ http://time.com/3111054/be-more-creative/
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/200806/goal-progress-and-happiness
  • ↑ http://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2011/01/your-happiness-project-have-more-fun/

About This Article

Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS

If you'd like to think more positively, try replacing negative thoughts like, "I'll probably fail this test,” with positive ones, like, “I’m going to prepare and do the best I can.” You should also avoid jumping to conclusions, like assuming your coworker is upset with you because they didn't smile at you when you said hi. Additionally, surround yourself with positive influences, like upbeat music and positive people, and limit your exposure to negative things, such as people who sap your energy. For more advice on how to set positive, meaningful goals for yourself, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Don't Worry, Be Happy—12 Ways to Stay Positive

Tips For Students

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Are you one of those people who are constantly negative? Do you find it hard to stay optimistic? If so, you're not alone. It's human nature to be pessimistic at times, but if negativity becomes your default attitude, it can harm your physical and mental health. So, if you’re wondering how to think positive thoughts, you’re in the right place. We're going to discuss ways to stay positive and improve your overall well-being.

What Is Optimism ?

Optimism, or positive thinking, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It's about looking for the silver lining and maintaining a hopeful attitude, even when things get tough. A person who thinks positively anticipates happiness, health, and success and believes they can overcome any obstacle and difficulty.

Positive thinking doesn't mean turning a blind eye to life's less positive moments. Positive thinking means approaching these difficult times with a more optimistic perspective, looking for the best outcome rather than immediately assuming the worst will happen.

Why Is Positive Thinking Important ?

When you're positive, you tend to be happier and more content with life. Practicing positive thinking can also have tangible benefits in your daily life, such as improved relationships and better decision-making skills.

Health Benefits of Positive Thinking

Committing to thinking more positively can improve your mental and physical health, boost your mood and confidence, and make your life more enjoyable. Many scientific studies have proven the power of positive thinking to improve overall health, with researchers continuing to study the link between positive thinking and optimum well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic , some benefits linked to positive thinking include:

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

How to Practice Positive Thinking

You could accurately consider positive thinking a habit you can develop. Some people are naturally better at it, while others are inclined toward pessimism. Whichever way your default attitude leans, positive thinking is a habit you can develop with practice.

1. Engage in Positive Self-Talk

Positive thinking usually begins with self-talk, the flow of thoughts that go through your head without being spoken aloud. Self-talk can be optimistic or pessimistic, logical or emotional. Perhaps you are wondering how to change your thoughts from negative to positive. You can develop a habit of positive self-talk by adhering to a simple rule: Don't say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend or loved one. Be as accepting, understanding, gentle, and encouraging with yourself as you would be with someone you hold dear.

2. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is an important aspect of positive self-talk that deserves its own entry on our list. It's easy to dwell on the negative things in life. We all have stressors and problems that can seem insurmountable at times. But if we take a step back and think about the things we're thankful for, it can help us to maintain a positive attitude. Make it a habit to remind yourself of what you are grateful for daily. You could keep a gratitude journal and update it each evening before bed. For example, you might be thankful for your family, your health, your job, or your home. Or maybe you're grateful for more minor things, like a sunny day or a good cup of coffee. Whatever it is, taking a moment to appreciate the good can help to chase away the bad.

3. Identify Areas for Improvement

While practicing positive self-talk and being more conscious of all you're thankful for, you will naturally encounter plenty of negative thoughts. When negative thoughts inevitably pop into your head, examine them from a logical perspective. When we have negative thoughts, our brains may be telling us something is wrong, but instead of beating yourself up, brainstorm ways to improve or build yourself up by reminding yourself of your positive attributes. And if you evaluate the negative thought and conclude it's illogical or not serving you and your happiness, try reframing it in a more positive light.

4. Spend Time with Positive People

It's no secret that the people we surround ourselves with profoundly influence our lives. Our relationships can impact everything from our physical health to our mental well-being. When you are around optimistic people, their good attitude can rub off on you. Being around positive people can help you to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Optimistic people tend to be more fun to be around and can help you enjoy life more. They may also help you to stay motivated when times are tough. Nothing can derail your efforts to develop a more positive outlook like Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers, so make an effort to spend time with positive people.

5. Take Care of Your Physical Health

Your physical health and your attitude are closely connected. Taking care of your physical health can help you have a positive attitude. When you feel good physically, you're more likely to feel good mentally and emotionally. When you're physically healthy, you have more energy and stamina. You're able to think more clearly and make better decisions. You're also better able to cope with stress and handle difficult situations. Taking care of your physical health is an integral part of taking care of your overall well-being. You can improve your mood, reduce stress, and increase your energy level by making healthy choices. These benefits can all contribute to a positive attitude.

6. Remember to Laugh

For those trying to maintain a positive attitude, laughter can be a valuable tool. Laughter has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and even improve immune function. When we laugh, our bodies release endorphins, which have natural mood-elevating properties. Laughter also helps to distract us from negative thoughts and worry, and learning to laugh when life tries to break us down can build resilience. And remember, laughter is contagious, so if you're feeling down, try spending time with friends or family who can make you laugh. You'll soon find that your outlook on life is much sunnier when you take the time to chuckle every day.

7. Treat Your Self

It's important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. When you make time for self-care, you're investing in your overall health and well-being. And while it may seem like a luxury, treating yourself to some self-care can actually help promote a positive mindset. When you take care of yourself, you're sending the message that you're worth taking care of, which helps to boost your self-esteem and confidence. Plus, taking care of yourself can help reduce stress and anxiety. When you make time for self-care, you're investing in your future health and happiness. So go ahead and book that massage, take a relaxing bath, or treat yourself to a new book or outfit. Your mind and body will thank you for it.

8. Develop Morning & Evening Routines

When it comes to developing a positive mindset, routines can be critical. By taking the time to establish a morning and evening routine, you can help set the tone for your day and promote a sense of calm and well-being. Start by taking some deep breaths and setting your intention for the day ahead in the morning. Then, take some time to stretch or do some light exercises to get your body moving. After that, you can enjoy a healthy breakfast and spend time planning your day. In the evening, wind down with a relaxing activity like reading or taking a bath. Then, write down three things you are grateful for from the day. Finally, spend a few minutes visualizing your ideal life and what you want to manifest in the coming days. By taking just a few minutes each day to focus on your mind, body, and spirit, you can help create a positive mindset that will lead to lasting success.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can help us become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings and positively impact our mental and physical well-being. For example, it can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and negative emotions. It can also improve our focus, memory, and sleep quality. In addition, mindfulness has been linked to several physical health benefits, including lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. By practicing mindfulness regularly, we can learn to be more present and focus on the positive aspects of our lives, promoting a more positive mindset and helping us to lead happier and healthier lives. You can practice mindfulness by taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breathing and noticing any physical sensations or thoughts that arise without judgment. Or, try a guided meditation or a yoga class to help increase your mindfulness skills.

10. Avoid Negative Language

Our words have power. The language we use can affect our mood and how we think about ourselves and others. Negative language, such as gossiping or complaining, can lead to a negative mindset. On the other hand, using positive language can help to promote a positive mindset. When we focus on positive words and affirming statements, it can help us to see the good in ourselves and others. It can also allow us to feel more optimistic about the future. So next time you're tempted to gossip or complain, take a moment to consider the impact of your words.

11. Be Curious

Being curious has many benefits. It can help promote a positive mindset, increase knowledge and understanding, and provide a sense of satisfaction. We are more likely to explore new ideas and concepts when we are curious. We are also more likely to be open-minded and receptive to new information. Additionally, curiosity can lead to greater creativity and problem-solving ability. So if you want to improve your mind, start by being more curious. Ask questions, seek out new experiences, and never stop learning.

12. Seek Out New Experiences

Why don't you take your curiosity further and actively seek out new, exciting experiences? A dream trip is an excellent way to discover novel sights and experiences. But, while packing your bags and jetting off to an unknown destination can be reinvigorating, new experiences don't have to be limited to physical travel. Trying something new—whether it's experimenting with a new recipe, learning a new skill, or exploring a different part of your city—can also promote a positive mindset. Why? Because when we step out of our comfort zones, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and ways of thinking. We also give ourselves a chance to learn and grow. So, next time you're feeling negative or bored, try something new. It may just be the change you need.

Curious about new experiences you could pursue? The College of Health Care Professions has a broad range of career-oriented healthcare education training programs that are designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge you need for various entry-level positions in the healthcare field. We even offer a Wellbeing Program to help you maintain your positive outlook on life.

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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 .

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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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How (and why) to cultivate a positive mental attitude

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Home » Positive thinking

How to benefit from positive thinking

Positive thinking is everywhere: Manifestation, vision boards and phrases like “No bad days” abound, and it seems that everyone on the planet wants to learn how to think positive . But what does it really mean to think positive? And can positive thinking alone help you realize your dreams?  

It is true that your thoughts affect your actions. Your actions, in turn, translate into whether or not you succeed – in your career, relationships and life. Your thoughts also play a part in your values and beliefs , which influence the quality of your personal relationships and how you view the world at large.  

It’s essential that we don’t get caught up in only thinking positively. You can sit in the garden of your mind telling yourself there are no weeds, but to build a truly fulfilling life , you need to stop covering up the weeds with positive thinking – and pick them instead. You need to get to the root of what’s holding you back and cultivate an overall positive mindset that doesn’t ignore negative emotions, but knows how to control them.

What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that focuses on the good and expects results that will benefit you. It’s about anticipating happiness, health and success instead of expecting the worst. Leveraging the law of attraction , this mindset creates a positive feedback loop that brings even more good into your life.

So what is positive thinking not ? It is not a cure-all that will automatically make you happier and more fulfilled. It isn’t a solution to deep-seated limiting beliefs like fear of failure and fear of success. And it doesn’t mean sitting around all day telling yourself you’re happy. To achieve your dreams, you’ll need more than a positive mindset . You’ll need to act.

Don’t just think positive – overcome your limiting beliefs and transform your entire mindset.

Ultimately, building a fulfilling life is about mastering your emotions , both positive and negative. Positive thinking is one tool in your toolkit, but there are others you’ll need. Here are six ways to fully embrace not only the power of positive thinking but also the incredible power of your mindset.

1. Empower yourself

man thinking positive in front of a waterfall and rainbow

You didn’t get the promotion you worked so hard for. You’ve been let go from your job. Your partner broke up with you. You have chronic health issues that hold you back. These are all difficult situations that many of us will face at some point in our lives. The real question is: How will you react to them?

Do you blame others when bad things happen to you? Or do you look to yourself for the solution? When you take responsibility for how you think, act and feel , you have an internal locus of control – and that’s a key trait of successful people. This type of thinking lends you a deep belief in yourself and a positive mindset that allows you to get up and start over after a failure. From there, everything else in your life can fall into place.

Remember: The only thing in life you can control is yourself. You can’t control every event – but you can control how you react to them. Once you empower yourself to change what’s in your control – you – only then are you ready for the power of positive thinking .

2. Take control of your state

Have you noticed that when you’re having a bad day, your body language shows it? You slump over in your chair, you have a hard time making eye contact with others and do things like cross your arms when you’re feeling uncomfortable. You stop being mindful and allow your environment and circumstances to control you. This is not a powerful stance. Your body tells those around you that you are uneasy, angry or sad and want to be left alone. This creates a feedback loop as your poor posture reinforces your poor mindset.

Positive thinking is as much about your body as it is about your brain. Take control of your physiology by taking pride in how you present yourself. Work on your posture to give those around you nonverbal cues that you are feeling strong and positive, and are ready to listen to them. Stop nervous habits like fidgeting or twirling your hair. This technique requires you to observe yourself; as soon as you catch yourself giving in to a nervous tic or starting to slump, straighten up. As you hold your body in a power pose, a more positive mindset will naturally follow .

Those around you will pick up on the physiological signals you’re sending and will respond with positivity. The more you portray positivity and others see you this way, the easier positive thinking becomes, creating a new feedback loop. You will then be able to focus on others and do things such as asking three vital questions to find out how you can give to the world and others.

3. Adjust your mindset

Adjusting your physiology is only one part of the puzzle; it’s critical to catch the other negativity trigger in its opening stages as well. Your mindset governs what thoughts flow through your head and how you feel and react to each one. If your mindset is poor, everything around you is going to seem all the worse.

For example, you’re at the airport and are unnecessarily delayed while going through security. Then the airline attendant checking you in is rude to you. Another airline worker overhears, apologizes and bump s your ticket up to business class.

Once you’re in the air, are you fixated on the hassles you faced in the airport, or are you grateful for your spacious seat and free cocktail? Do you think of the delay as wasted time or as a way to take time and reconnect with yourself ? Do you automatically revert to the power of positive thinking or do negative thoughts take over?


You can choose to focus on the negatives or the positives of this – and any – scenario, but if you choose to focus on what’s bothering you, it will begin to negatively impact your life. You’ll also attract more negative situations – people won’t be friendly to you when you’re scowling and hostile. You may punish your partner or others for not living up to your expectations, eroding your relationships and adding to more bitterness. You’ll forget that you can empower yourself to tackle any situation and start believing that a positive mindset is out of your reach.

Positive thinking bypasses that rage and inconvenience, allowing you to enjoy the moment and be fully present. By consciously choosing to focus on positive moments in your life, you’ll begin to reframe your thoughts , cultivating an abundance mindset that is grateful and open rather than negative and closed off.

4. Study your habits and form new ones

child with positive thinking

You can’t form new habits and harness the power of positive thinking if you’re unaware of your current ones. Are there things that set you into a negative spiral of self-doubt? Do you react to situations openly or do you utilize defense mechanisms ? If so, what are they?

Perhaps you become agitated whenever you start thinking about going after a promotion at work. Your thoughts take you to a dark place and positive thinking goes out the window. You calculate how long you’ve been with the company and start thinking about why you haven’t been promoted already. Do your bosses know something you don’t? Maybe they don’t think you’re capable of doing the job. You begin to question your skill set, and then you wonder if you’ll ever move up in your field. Maybe you’ll just quit.

Think of all the time you’re wasting by falling back on this negative habit. Self-doubt is almost always rooted in fear – often the fear of failure . Doing something and failing seems like it would be unbearable, so your mind comes up with all sorts of reasons as to why you won’t even make an effort. If you give in to these negative thoughts, you might not fail but you will stagnate, which is worse. As Tony says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” If you fail, at least you can learn something. If you stagnate, you won’t.  

What if, instead of getting swept up in a pattern of negative thoughts, you refocused your energy and developed empowering habits that use positive thinking ? Stop the spiral of doubt by blocking it with positive thoughts. If you’re able to cut off a negative thought pattern before it gets out of hand, you can shift to recalling positive affirmations instead.  

By training your mind to block negative thoughts with positive thinking , you’re steadily training yourself to stop thinking in a negative way. Fear won’t rule you anymore . That’s the power of positive thinking .

5. Choose your words carefully

One habit that is essential to positive thinking is to transform your vocabulary . The words you choose – both in conversation and in your own mind – have a deep impact on your mindset. Studies have found that positive self-talk improves psychological states , helps people regulate their emotions and more. Your conversation affect s how others respond to you, again creating a feedback loop that can be either positive or negative.  

Before you can choose different words, you need to recognize what words you’re already using. Take note of how you label and describe things in conversation, particularly your own emotions. Are you really “terrified” of that big work presentation or just a little nervous? Are you truly “angry” at your partner or mildly annoyed at one of their bad habits? When you dial back your vocabulary and use words that are less emotionally loaded, you’ll find your mindset becomes attuned to more positive thinking .

Many people find it helpful to write down negative words they find themselves using throughout the day. For every negative word, write a positive alternative next to it. Keep the alternatives in the back of your mind to use next time. Find this aspect of positive thinking overwhelming? Start with just one area of your life that causes negative thoughts, like work or your relationship status. Catch yourself in those moments, and build from there.

6. Identify those you admire

Think of someone who’s had a profound impact on your life. It can be a close friend, family member or someone you’ve never met, like a celebrity, professional athlete or renowned entrepreneur. What mottos does that person live by? Have they been able to unlock extraordinary lives due to their positive thinking habits?

Chances are, they use the power of positive thinking to find the success they seek – and you can, too. When you feel yourself falling into negative habits and can’t quite seem to figure out how to think positive , pull up a quotation from someone you respect. Read it and determine how you can best embody it. You can even write it down and post it somewhere you’ll see it often, such as the refrigerator or on the side of your computer screen.

how to think positively

The person you admire doesn’t have to be famous. The story of Jay and Fariha is a real-life example of how positive thinking can be contagious to our friends and loved ones . One of the first things Fariha noticed about Jay was his positivity – the “kick in his step.” Jay was cultivating positive emotions on a daily basis thanks to Tony’s philosophies. He shared those philosophies with Fariha and both attended Unleash the Power Within , where Fariha learned vital strategies she could use to change her mindset and start living the life of her dreams.  

If you have someone you think of as a mentor , even better. Get on the phone and ask them to share some positive thoughts. Tony often quotes his own mentor, Jim Rohn, when he says, “Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind, and you alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life.” Will you give in to the temptation to think negatively and stagnate – and then blame others when you don’t reach your goals? Or will you guard your mind and only allow in positive thinking that propels you toward the life you dream of? It’s up to you.

Positive thinking FAQs

Can positive thinking change your life.

Yes, positive thinking can change your life. Studies have found that positive thinking helps you live longer, reduces loneliness and more. But the most life-changing effect of positive thinking has to do with the law of attraction. This is the idea that what you focus on, you attract. As Tony says, “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.” When you focus on the negative, you’ll experience more negatives. But when you focus on the positive, the whole world opens up to you.

How do you train your mind to think positive?

The first step to training your mind for positive thinking is to identify your bad habits and negative thought patterns. Once you’ve recognized these, you can replace them with positive habits and words that aren’t as emotionally charged. If you find yourself spiraling into a thought pattern of worry and anxiety, ask yourself: What is this emotion really telling me? What am I really afraid of? Then make an action plan to overcome that fear.

How do you keep your mind positive?

Keeping your mind positive is a series of actions you take every day. It doesn’t always come easily, but experiencing the power of positive thinking in your life is worth it. One significant habit is to start your day with priming, meditation or affirmations. Your morning ritual sets the tone for your day and puts you in the right mindset to take on all your tasks with positivity.

Ready to harness the power of positive thinking?

Identify and assess the decisions and beliefs that are shaping your destiny by attending the legendary Unleash The Power Within event.

© 2023 Robbins Research International, Inc. All rights reserved.


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