Positive Thinking Day
Today is Positive Thinking Day, a time to focus on what you can do to have a more positive worldview. Author Norman Vincent Peale, whose seminal text, The Power of Positive Thinking, helped launch the positive thinking movement, believed that if you could change your thoughts, you could change the world. So how do you go about it? Here are 10 suggestions on how to celebrate Positive Thinking Day and how to get into the habit of thinking positively:
Reflect on the Power of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking can become part of your overall approach to living, if you fully understand how it can influence your perspective and your life. Take some time today to reflect on your personal history. When did you let negative thinking overwhelm you? When did you fail to take action because you didn’t believe in yourself? When did you practice avoidance instead of acceptance? Positive thinking could have helped you achieve different results in those circumstances. Think about what you’d like to be able to handle better in the future, and how positive thinking can make that possible.
Find the Humor
We’re all familiar with the aphorism “laughter is the best medicine.” There’s quite a bit of science that confirms that laughter has a host of medical benefits: reducing stress and anxiety, producing endorphins, increasing oxygen intake, relieving pain and stimulating the immune system. Humor also boosts creativity, collaboration and precision. But when it comes to positive thinking, it’s not enough to laugh with other people, you have to be able to laugh at yourself too!
Start a Gratitude List
There’s always something to be grateful for. Identifying those things helps people achieve greater happiness, according to research from Harvard. The simple act of listing the things you’re grateful for can improve your health, help you handle adversity and let you build better relationships.
Dismiss Negative Thoughts
You have about 30 seconds from the time a thought enters your mind to the time it takes hold in your deeper consciousness. Use that time wisely, and you’ll be able to stop negative thoughts from lodging in the deeper recesses of your mind. Practice, and even meditation, can help you take control of your thoughts.
Use Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are simple statements of positivity that help guide your day. Although the idea might seem overly simplistic, these powerful mantras can help you stay present and help your brain stay focused on positive thoughts. The best mantras start with the phrase “I am.” They are brief, specific, use present tense and include an action ending in –ing.
Engage in Positive Self Talk
That little voice in our head actually takes up a bunch of real estate, so when we engage in negative self talk, we can really sabotage ourselves. Instead, engage in positive self talk to reframe behaviors and experiences in a way that affords you more compassion and understanding. Research has shown that practicing positive self talk can help us be more confident and help us build better relationships.
Read motivational books
We’ve already mentioned The Power of Positive Thinking, but that’s certainly not the only book that can help you adopt a more positive attitude. Some others to check out include:
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Failing Forward by John Maxwell
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
We promise, we’re not being patronizing! We’re just letting you know that smiling has been scientifically proven to help you increase personal positivity—even when you don’t feel like smiling. Yup, there’s actually something to the “fake it til you make it” approach, at least with smiling! Not only can smiling decrease stress and heart rate, but smiling can also increase the production of a whole host of neurotransmitters that make us feel calmer and happier. And smiling has a ripple effect. When we smile at someone and they smile back, our brain’s reward center gets triggered, making us feel even better, and causing a positive feedback loop of happiness.
Share Inspiring Quotes
Some of our favorites include:
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” Willie Nelson, country music legend and activist
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
Michael Jordan, professional basketball player and principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets
“It makes a big difference in your life when you stay positive.”
Ellen DeGeneres, comedian and TV host
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Churchill, British statesman and Prime Minister of the UK during WWII
“I’m taking all the negatives in my life, and turning them into a positive.”
Pitbull, singer and songwriter
“Choose the positive. You have a choice. You are the master of your attitude. Choose the positive, the constructive.”
Bruce Lee, actor and martial artist
Identify Your Mood Changers
When Peter Pan helps the Darling children learn to fly, he tells them that a key ingredient to success is to “think of a wonderful thought.” The children come up with a list of happy memories—mood changers— including hearing sleigh bells and watching the moon. While we can’t promise thinking happy thoughts will actually make you fly (in fact, we’re pretty sure it won’t), what it can do is radically change your mood. Happy thoughts, as well as songs, objects and images, can help you experience a more positive emotion. So download some happy tunes or peaceful images to your phone and access them as needed.
No one is going to be positive all the time. But at least on Positive Thinking Day, we should all stop for a moment and appreciate the little joys in life.