“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
Positive thinking is looking at the brighter side of situations, making a person constructive & creative. Positive thinking is related with positive emotions and other constructs such as optimism, hope, joy and wellbeing. McGrath (2004) defined positive thinking as a generic term referring to an overall attitude that is reflected in thinking, behavior, feeling and speaking. Positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind; thoughts, words and images that are conducive to growth, expansion and success. Positive 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. Positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images that are conductive to growth, expansion and success. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. Positive thinking is related with positive psychology. The phenomena of positive psychology have been found in Greek and Eastern philosophy, the Bible, historical accounts and linguistic origins of words which provide important information about human strengths. “You can think your way to failure and unhappiness, but you can also think your way to success and happiness. The world in which you live is not primarily determined by outward conditions and circumstances but by thoughts that habitually occupy your mind” (Peale). While on the other hand, Negative thinking is thoughts that imply criticism or devaluation of self. These thoughts dominate the perception of a depressed person. People who think negatively do not expect things to go as planned therefore anticipating bad outcomes. Their coping with daily stressors becomes dysfunctional and they develop psychological and physical health problems. Positive thinking is also known as optimism.
Positive thinking is a powerful force, which plays an important role in the formation of life. The essence of such thinking is based on the psychological techniques, thanks to which thoughts, words and images that promote internal development and success are formed in the mind. All that happens on a subconscious level is possible to control. This thinking is aimed at achievement of a positive outcome. Positive thinking has number of positive outcome to an individual. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking is linked to a wide range of health benefits including, longer life span, less stress, Lower rates of depression, Better stress management and coping skills, Increased physical well-being and overall Better psychological health. There are two broad benefits of thinking positively under a stressful situation. For one, positive thinking will enable the person cope better. The other is that positive thinking increases the likelihood of a good outcome. Optimism has been shown to relate to higher levels of self-reported vitality and mental health ( Achat, Kawachi, Spiro, Demolles, ; Sparrow, 2000) and lower levels of depression . There is also evidence that positive thinking may provide a sense of control in certain situations and reduce the incidence of depression (Taylor, 1983).
Furthermore positive thinking is often highly correlated to success chances in life. Positive thinking helps a person find a way in a difficult task or a tough situation. Person starts feeling that something can be done to overcome the difficulties that are looming large at that moment. It is said that a serious person finds a way, while an idler finds an excuse. The difference between these two is that of attitude-of being hopeful or being without hope. A person who keeps hopes alive gives himself a chance to succeed, however difficult the task. He puts in earnest endeavors. He may get favors of luck, and help may come from unexpected quarters. On the other hand, a person who loses hope can never make a whole-hearted effort. His battle is half lost even before the start.
Additionally some researchers, including positive psychologist Martin Seligman, often frame positive thinking in terms of explanatory style. Explanatory style is how a person explains why events happened. People with an optimistic explanatory style tend to give themselves credit when good things happen, but typically blame outside forces for bad outcomes. They also tend to see negative events as temporary and atypical. On the other hand, individuals with a pessimistic explanatory style often blame themselves when bad things happen, but fail to give themselves adequate credit for successful outcomes. They also have a tendency to view negative events as expected and lasting. Positive thinkers are more apt to use an optimistic explanatory style, but the way in which people attribute events can also vary depending upon the exact situation. For example, a person who is generally a positive thinker might use a more pessimistic explanatory style in particularly challenging situations, such as at work or at school. Pessimism is destructive in the sense that it diminishes confidence, damages one’s performance, and worse, it affects the bodily system, particularly the mental aspect. Optimism, on the other hand, is everything that a negative mind is not. A positive individual grows and matures with high spirits, blissful atmosphere, and a successful achievement of goals.
An important question that arises in this regard is: Is positive thinking an inherent characteristic of a person or can it be developed in one’s psyche? The opinions differ in answering this vital question. Some people believe that it can be inherited from parents, and cannot be developed. Others believe that like other qualities it can be developed with proper practice and guidance. Still some others hold the opinion that it is hereditary to some extent but can be acquired to some degree. There is also a section of people who believe that all depends on circumstances or luck. Some people are born lucky. They get success with minimum effort; others don’t get it even after greatest of endeavor. There are, thus, various theories and opinions based on one’s experience and knowledge.
Positive and negative thinking are both contagious. All of us affect, in one way or another, the people we meet. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through thoughts and feelings transference, and through body language. People sense our aura and are affected by our thoughts, and vice versa. People are more disposed to help us if we are positive, and they dislike and avoid anyone broadcasting negativity. Negative thoughts, words and attitude bring up negative and unhappy moods and actions. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood, which cause more unhappiness and negativity. This is the way to failure, frustration and disappointment.