Improving Mental Health Through Positive Thinking



Positive Thinking Empowers

When we are down and depressed, our friends often tell us to think of the good things and get rid of the bad. We hibernate in our own corner, dig into self-improvement books and search for answers, mostly on how to feel good about ourselves and how to think positively.

Somehow, when we become optimistic about how things will go, we begin to feel happier, lighter, and more confident. When we learn to see the good in people and situations, when we realize that we have more to be thankful for than to grumble about – we are empowered to achieve our goals and accept every challenge that life brings.

Positive Thinking Improves Mental Health

Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, provides essential information about how positive thinking not only helps alleviate our problems but can ultimately improve our mental well-being. Her thesis on how optimism greatly impacts our minds and our quality of life in general made waves online and offline as well. It involved an experiment on certain groups, which were shown different images of different emotions – joy, happiness, sadness, horror, etc. The participants were then asked to finish the phrase, “I would like to…”


The results showed that the individuals who saw positive images wrote a lot more responses compared to those who saw negative images. This meant that positive emotions encourage people to be more hopeful of their circumstances. They also showed an improvement of their skills and abilities in certain areas. Those who saw negative images had only a few responses which reflected fear, hesitance, and low self-esteem.

Positive Thinking Reduces Stress

Another brilliant psychologist, Dr. Suzy Green, says that when individuals learn to think positively, they begin to change their mindset and their outlook on life. Optimistic people are healthier physically and mentally. Their stress and anxiety levels are significantly reduced or diminished. He adds that although all of us have our share of negative thoughts, the optimist acknowledges these emotions but is challenged by them, ready to take them on bravely and confidently.

Positive thinking reduces depressive symptoms and suicidal ideations in mentally ill patients

Old and new studies prove that teaching individuals with mental disorders learn positive self-talk have significantly reduced the incidence of suicide and occurrence of depressive symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy has also shown to help patients combat depression and develop better coping skills. These therapies encourage them to regain control of their lives one at a time so as not to overwhelm them.


Final Thoughts

Positive thinking truly impacts our mental and emotional well being to a great extent. It does not only affect us superficially through the radiant faces that we show when we are happy but more importantly, it is a force that pushes us to be better and to achieve the goals which we thought were far from reachable when we were full of pessimism.


The principles of optimism should be taught to mentally ill patients to help them recover and take control of their lives. Ultimately, each of us would do well to instill positivity in our lives, so that we can be happy and thankful for whatever we have – or do not have.


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