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.