Accentuate the Positive

Do you remember Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh’s depressed, gloomy donkey buddy? He was the one who was always staring at his feet, saying things like “Thanks for noticin’ me”. He was one glum donkey. Now imagine if he wasn’t stuffed with sawdust and had to deal with health problems and other personal crisis. How long do you think he’d get along? Not long right? Eeyore’s pessimistic outlook and depression would eventually drag him down.

The world we live in caters really well to pessimists. There’s always something depressing on the news. Personal relationships are extremely difficult to maintain. Money is hard to come by and even harder to hold onto. And the minute you start feeling good about things, there’s always someone there who’s happy to knock you down and stomp on you. The world gives you many a reason to make like Eeyore and be gloomy.

Problem is, scientific studies show that there are very real benefits to positive thinking and having a good attitude. Some of these benefits include:

  • Lower risk of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater Resistance to the common cold
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better skills for coping with hardships and stressful times
  • Increased life span.

Studies have suggested that pessimism corresponds to a 19% increase in mortality, so it’s in your best interest to cultivate a positive mental attitude. But how do you do that in a world that seems bent on keeping a brother (or sister) down? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. No one walks the same path in life and comparing yourself to someone who’s more successful, better looking, or more talented is a great way to lose perspective. Not only that, but you’ll likely lose sight of the good qualities you possess.
  • Realize that you control your reactions. You don’t control everything that happens to you, but you do control how you deal with it. This realization should help ease the feelings of frustration and powerlessness you feeling when things go wrong.
  • Remind yourself that most things are possible if you work hard enough. You can dig yourself out of any hole you may find yourself in as long as you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard.
  • Give everything a chance before you reject it. You never know when you’ll try something new that fills a void in your life and gives you something to feel good about.
  • Remember that you are powerful. You are so much more than your conscious mind defines you as. You’re more capable than you realize. Keep that in mind.
  • Focus on what you have instead of mourning what you don’t have. Be grateful for your blessings and you may just forget about what you don’t have.
  • Don’t let other people drag you down. Don’t keep Negative Nancys or Pessimistic Pauls around. Spend time with people who fill you with hope and support you.
  • Serve others. It’ll give you the satisfaction of doing something nice for someone who needs it. Service also gives you license to forget about yourself for a little while.
  • Do things that you love doing. If you love running, go out for a run. If you love to sing, turn up the radio and sing along. It’s amazing how much better doing something you love can make you feel.
  • Groom yourself. You feel a lot better about yourself when you take care of yourself and look presentable.
  • Smile! Even when you’re down in the dumps, smiling keeps you feeling happier than not smiling. Plus, it takes almost no effort and is one of the most attractive things you can do for yourself.