Positive Thinking Boosts Your Overall Health and Wellness

Helpful tools to integrate into your daily life to practice positive thinking
Helpful tools to integrate into your daily life to practice positive thinking

We all go through hard times and, most likely, we all handle difficult situations differently. We experience failure, we get a bad health report, we experience financial hardship, we experience a failed relationship or we lose everything in a natural disaster. For me, it was the loss of my 18-year-old daughter, Janelle. These are times when the pain and devastation can be overwhelming. You feel shock, numbness, denial, confusion and disbelief, all at once. In addition, one may feel helpless and have no sense of hope. Quite frankly, it feels like the end of the world. In these cases, it is helpful to have some guidance and support along the way to help manage your well-being. Circumstances like these can bring on a negative disposition such as overreaction, anger, violence, revenge, losing hope and faith, psychological distress, depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. As the year comes to an end and you reflect on the past year, would you have taken a more positive perspective on a negative situation? Did you know that doing so would have been more beneficial to you for your overall health and wellness? According to Rev. Dr. Charlene M. Proctor, founder of The Goddess Network, an on-line educational resource for topics on spiritual growth, positive thinking, consciousness and unity, a person practices positive thinking when they derive a positive sense of well-being, optimism, belonging, meaning and/or purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves.

The objective is to create an outlook that translates into a new or better chosen reality. In my case, it was keeping faith and belief in God that great things were in store for us, even though we experienced such a tragic loss. Speaking and thinking positively on a daily basis helped us cope and heal from our loss. It helped us build strength and encouragement to endure.

Ultimately, we were blessed with the opportunity to fund a scholarship in Janelle’s honor. We didn’t know where the funding would come from, but we knew God had a way. He did indeed. This year, after raising $25,000 via softball camps and the generosity of family and old and new friends, Monmouth University will award an annual scholarship in Janelle’s memory for as long as the college is in existence. Coincidently, Janelle’s softball jersey number was seven which, in the Bible, is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God’s creation of all things. Nothing could be more gratifying and relieving, and provide such closure than this.

It’s been proven that thinking positively when negative events happen in your life can actually have an effect on your overall well-being. The power of positive thinking won its scientific credibility in 1985 when psychologist Michael F. Scheier and Charles S. Carver published their seminal study, “Optimism, Coping and Health: Assessment and Implications of Generalized Outcome Expectancies” in Health Psychology.

Some health effects of positive thinking include increased life span, greater resistance to the common cold, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, better coping skills during hardships and times of stress or depression, slower aging, great relationships, reduced stress, increased resilience, increased tolerance to pain and hypertension prevention.

Developing the habit of positive thinking versus thinking negative thoughts is the most beneficial skill one could have. Consider these tips to help you overcome negative thoughts: 1. Smile 2. Make a conscious effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones 3. Remember, it’s only temporary and this too shall pass 4. Meditate or do yoga 5. Surround yourself with positive people 6. Express gratitude and remember, it could be worse

Additionally, for patients struggling with illness or dealing with a major life change, RN Central has compiled a list of “100 Positive Thinking Exercises That Will Make Any Patient Healthier & Happier.”