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Motivation, Health and Wellbeing Academy

Thinking positively...

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question can help you figure out whether you think positively or negatively!

positive.gif If you're 'glass half full', you're likely to think more positively about life, especially when you face set backs. If you are a 'glass half empty' person, you might think negatively, but don't despair — anyone can learn positive thinking skills!

positive.gif Positive thinking doesn't mean that you don't find things tough, because we all go through some difficulties. Positive thinking just means that you approach those difficulties in a productive way by focusing on the positives and what you have learnt rather than what's gone wrong!

Below we've listed some of the ways that you can work on thinking positively...

  • Self-Talk

    Self-talk is the stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head.

    mentor.gif Your self-talk can either be positive and productive or negative and untrue - if it's negative, the first thing you can do is identify those negative thoughts in order to eliminate them.

    If you do any of these you’re exercising negative self-talk:

    • Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out the positive ones. For example, if you've had a great day at work but you miss your bus on the way home, you focus on missing the bus.

    • Personalising: When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is cancelled and assume that it is because no one wanted to see you.

    • Catastrophising: You automatically anticipate the worst. For example, you're a few minutes late to an appointment and automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.

    • Polarising: You see things only as either good or bad, with no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or you're a total failure.
  • Learning to think positively

    Don’t worry if you're having negative thoughts! You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking, with time, patience, and a bit of self-kindness.

    Here are some ways you can think and behave positively:

    positive.gif Identify areas to change: Identify areas of your life that you normally think negatively about and think about why. You can start by focusing on just one area and work on unpacking your negative thoughts.

    positive.gif Write down positive alterntivesOnce you've figured out your negative thoughts, try and write down positive alternatives for each negative thought - check out the next box for some help with this!

    positive.gif Practice positive self-talk: Following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. 

    positive.gif Check yourself: Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If a negative thought enters your mind, stop, evaluate it, and respond with something that is good about you.

    positive.gif 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.

    positive.gif Surround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people that you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Don't let others project their negativity on to you!

  • Changing negative into positive

    If you find yourself thinking negatively, see how you can change your negativity into positivity...

             Negative Thinking Positive Thinking
     attention.gif I’ve never done it before.   positive.gif It's an opportunity to learn something new.
     attention.gif It’s too complicated.   positive.gif I’ll think about it from a different angle.
     attention.gif I don’t have the resources.   positive.gif It will make me more inventive.
     attention.gif I can’t do it.   positive.gif I’m willing to give it a go.
     attention.gif There’s no way it will work.   positive.gif I’ll do my best to try to make it work.
     attention.gif Too much change.   positive.gif This is a new opportunity.
  • The benefits of positive thinking

    Benefits of positive thinking:

      positive.gif Increased life span.    positive.gif You’ll be more motivated.
      positive.gif Lower rates of depression.    positive.gif You’ll be more creative.
      positive.gif Lower levels of distress.    positive.gif You’ll be more confident.
      positive.gif Greater resistance to the common cold.    positive.gif Helps you look for, and see, solutions.
      positive.gif Better psychological and physical well-being.    positive.gif Helps you identify opportunities.
      positive.gif Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.    positive.gif Helps you achieve your goals.
      positive.gif Better coping skills during hard times and times of stress.    positive.gif You'll have more energy.

    information.gif It's also thought that positive people live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

  • Daily positive thinking

    Practicing positive thinking every day!

    clock.gif If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight.

    clock.gif With practice, your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance, and you may even become less critical of the world around you!

    information.gif A great way to make sure you think positively every day is to keep a daily diary of good things that happen.  At the end of the day, try and find 2-3 good things that have happened that day, however small they are!

  • Useful Links

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