Positive Thinking Improves Mental Health

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Over the weekend I received a message from one of my favorite blogger friends, Becky over at Cuddle Fairy and she asked me a question. How do I find positivity? I answered her question and was asked if she could quote me in her latest blog post. Of course I said yes and you can read her positivity post HERE if you like. However, I got to really thinking about it and I want to elaborate on my view of Positive thinking.

How to I view positive thinking?

It’s a great question and I’m sure is different for everyone. For me, the best way to explain it would be to use examples. Right after Christmas, we got hit with a severe cold front that brought the temperatures down to the negatives. As a result, my battery died in my car. No big deal for me because I didn’t go anywhere during the holiday break. After the New Year I had to wait a few days but I knew I was going to be okay. I had to borrow a car for awhile but it was all good. Positive thinking. This helped to keep my mental health in check. Then we replaced the battery and for a few days, the car was fine.

Friday was a long and dreary day. It had been pouring rain all day and in several spots there was a lot of fog and the traffic didn’t help. After dropping Conner off at his dad’s then picking Adam up at school from his play rehearsal, I had been on the road for a little more than two hours. I was tired. Adam and I were both looking forward to going home, getting cozy in our pj’s and eating the chicken noodle soup I had in the crock pot waiting for us. But then the car died. Not the happy ending we were expecting.

So what does this have to do with positive thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you. I was stuck at the pump and the gas station was busy. I don’t like to hold up a line but I had no choice. My ex-husband was on his way to look at the car because I couldn’t afford to have it towed. I had asked a couple of people if they could give me a jump but to no avail. People are so unwilling to help strangers these days. So this was the moment I had to make a choice. I could have gotten mad and yelled at someone over the injustice of it all. That’s what I’ve done in the past. I could have sat in my car and sulked and cussed out my car, beating the steering wheel in order to vent my frustration.

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I’ve done that in the past as well. What I learned from those past experiences is that it got me no where. It didn’t accomplish anything to get mad and frustrated. As much as I hated being stranded at the gas station, I knew help was on the way and I knew my son and I were safe. So, I decided to watch a funny YouTube video. There is this company that posts videos of teens, kids, adults, and elders reacting to different things. I find these videos endlessly entertaining and they always cheer me up.

Positive thinking took hold of my thoughts and before I knew it, my ex-husband had shown up and as it turns out, it was nothing serious. He fixed the problem and we were on our way home to enjoy that chicken soup. Which, by the way, came from Heather over at Shank You Very Much  Thank you Heather for your recipe. It was delicious and hit the spot!

And how does positive thinking affect Mental health?

Positive thinking isn’t always easy to do. Sometimes its downright difficult and we are all going to have our bad days no matter what. However, Friday could have turned into a disaster had I let my negative thoughts and feelings take over. Friday wasn’t the greatest day but thanks to my awareness to keep on a positive thought track, it wasn’t a disaster either.

Lately I have been struggling with keeping myself centered and thinking positively. Negative thoughts creep in from time to time and I tend to overthink. Overthinking leads to paranoid thoughts and with my history of depression, this isn’t a good thing. So when my good friend Becky posts her positivity challenges I take them because I know they are great exercise in keeping my depression at arm’s length.

I often challenge myself in this way because I know, first hand, that while positive thinking doesn’t keep bad days from happening, they do alleviate the stress those days can take on us. What about you? What do you think of positive thinking? How do you use it in your own life to combat those pesky negative thoughts? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Thanks so much for reading!

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32 thoughts on “Positive Thinking Improves Mental Health

  1. This is all so true. There is a quote somewhere along the lines of it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Like you I struggle with negative thoughts and overthinking and over the last couple of years I’ve been making a conscious effort to use positive thinking to turn things round. It’s not always possible, but I’d say 9 times out of 10 it makes all the difference.
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky x

    1. Oh yes! I have seen a quote like that floating around Facebook and its so true. It’s not about eliminating negative thoughts altogether. We are human with all sorts of complex emotions running through us. Even reacting negatively is okay from time to time because of how we are feeling in the moment but we can try our best to turn those negative feelings and reactions around into something positive:)

  2. I love this post! I am a negative person by nature (or maybe nurture). I was brought up in a very negative family. Everything was perceived as terrible and it wasn’t till I left home and went away that I started to notice how my thinking was affecting everything in my life. I have made a conscious effort in the last ten years to think positively in all situations and the difference it makes to your mind frame is amazing. If I break down, I now see it as a pleasure to have an excuse to have some quiet time. If something bad happens, I try and see how I can make it a benefit. I’ve noticed the more positive I am, the more opportunities and good things come my way.

    I think it’s amazing that you dealt with such a crappy situation in a really positive way and you tried really hard to not let it bring you down! The soup sounds delicious by the way. I’m off to have a peep at the recipe! 🙂 xxx

    1. I was brought up in a very negative environment myself so I get where you’re coming from and it’s so hard, especially when you’re young, to not succumb to the same way of thinking as your family. But I think we both made great progress in overcoming that and changing our mindsets to live a happier life. I hope your enjoy the soup! Thanks so much for reading!

    1. I am a realist by nature and I do have a strong pessimistic side so when I think positive it’s really small stuff that I’m thinking positively about. It makes all the difference in changing my perspective and has helped me to think more positively about everything else in my life. Thanks so much for your thought:)

  3. I agree that positive thinking is hugely important. Sometimes it can be best to just not think too much and not to over-interpret situations. I am certainly guilty of over-thinking situations and it is something that I am working on. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. I am an over-thinker too and in the past it has definitely gotten me into negative situations where I would instigate arguments over something I misinterpreted. I’ve seen a huge difference in my overthinking though since I’ve made a conscious effort to think more positively. Thanks so much for having me at #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Yes they do but once they get a taste of it, it changes their perspective on so many things. Thanks so much for reading!

  4. I very much agree with this Michelle. I’ve properly started a gratitude journal. We all have those bonkers moments ie your car and you could sometimes just get dragged down with it but it doesn’t actually help, does it. Things start to snowball and before you know it, you can feel like you’ve been walking under ladders. I’ve always been a bit cynical about the gratitude journal but everything I read says that you must keep at it. So I am. Particularly helpful if you are working towards a goal where set back are inevitable. Have you got one? Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…Tweens, Teens & Beyond Linky Week #34My Profile

    1. No, I don’t have a gratitude journal but I do write in a journal. I’ve been writing in journals since I was 11 years old and mostly its all the negative stuff that happens or negative thoughts I’ve had. I have to get them out of my head so I write them in a journal but you’ve given me an idea. I think now it’s time to start writing about the positive stuff. Thanks so much for giving me the inspiration to do that:)

  5. I couldn’t agree more with this positive thinking is so important for mental health and I find that if I’m feeling negative doing a gratitude practice or positivity meditation really helps with that.

    1. Meditation has become my go-to for staying in a positive frame of mind! When I was younger I never imagined I would ever see mediation as a sort of life saver but here I am in my early 40’s advocating for such a great method of staying positive but also helping with mental health:)

  6. I definitely agree that positive thinking is not an easy thing to do but I find that it does help my mental health as it allows me to approach certain situation from a ‘determined’ viewpoint rather than ‘why does this always happen to me?!’ point of view.

    1. I agree completely! I used to think “why does this always happen to me” but you’re right. It does help my mental health immensely to view it from the determined viewpoint because it makes such a huge difference in how I see each new situation:)

    1. It can be hard to let the positive vibes flow naturally, especially when you’re not used to it. It takes a lot of conscious effort on our part to turn the negative around but it does get easier as you go. Thanks so much for reading:)

  7. Overthinking things is definitely something I do a lot, and as a result that can lead to a lot of negative thoughts and anxiety. For me, if I know I’m heading down that route I try to keep myself busy but also read or watch something that injects some positivity. It’s very important to try to maintain that positive thinking, but like you mentioned it can be quite difficult.

    1. I think the difficulty of it for me is the challenge that I accept. I like a good challenge so sometimes when its really hard to put a positive spin on something, I remember the challenge of it and that alone can help me think more positively. Sometimes though, negative thoughts need to be negative thoughts. It’s not about ignoring them altogether. We should acknowledge that they exist within us all. It’s more about knowing they’re there and not letting them take over our mindset. Thanks so much for your thoughts:)

  8. I was actually just talking about this, and I totally agree we can look at things in different ways and it cares completely different outcomes. We can choose to focus on the crap or look for the brightness. I do struggle though with it though in terms of mental illness. When I was at my lowest I couldn’t see the good, I knew it was there, but with all the fog I just couldn’t feel it. (Does that make sense). I would say to my hubby, I am not unhappy, there is nothing about my life that is making me down, it is just my head!! My head was so confused, foggy and I was so tired, so tired I wanted to hide forever even though I knew logically that my life was good. In those moments it is hard to be happy even though you know you should be.

    1. Oh yeah I totally understand. I’ve been there in the midst of suffering from PTSD it was really hard for me to see any brightness at all. It can still be a struggle but I look at it this way: We are human beings with all sorts of complex emotions running through us. We are going to fall down and we are going to have negative emotions. It’s not about ignoring them but about how we deal with them that matters. So when I am feeling depressed for example, I let myself feel it for a day or two then I get myself back up and work on making myself better. It’s the getting back up part that is the most important part of the process for me because I know that I will ALWAYS get back up and I believe that this is you too because you are a very strong person but I suspect you know that already:-)

  9. I really like the way you have written this. Too often “positive thinking” is portrayed as a way to live a completely happy, fulfilling life. That, to me, seems completely unrealistic. But when you put it as reducing the stress of bad days, it seems much more worthy. Thanks. #GlobalBlogging

    1. Yeah to me its not about ignoring the bad. The bad days are going to happen. Bad situations are going to happen. It’s a part of life and we shouldn’t ignore that. It’s about how we deal with the bad and getting ourselves back up from the fall that matters. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this. I agree with you completely:)

  10. There is real power in positive thinking and changing mindsets can absolutely change lives. I have experienced this myself time and time again. Obviously sometimes you might need a little medical help too but there is a lot you can do for yourself and it is important to be proactive in changing that self-talk to ensure it celebrates you and your moments. Popping over via the Family Fun linky
    Kate recently posted…No Good At Goodbye – Helpful Ways To Cope With Your Child Leaving Home To StudyMy Profile

    1. Yes, the self-talk is important because whether we are conscious of it or not we all do it. So turning that negative self-talk into positive self-talk is essential. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this:)

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