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Having a positive outlook in life is a choice. You can choose to see the brighter side of life instead of letting depressive and negative thoughts to poison your mind. Doing so can have a positive impact on many levels of a person’s well-being. Researchers suggest that optimists are better skilled at coping with stress, have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and they tend to develop stronger immune systems. Not only that, there’s a direct correlation between bone diseases and unresolved anger and negative thinking.  Hey, that reminds me of a bible verse. “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22. The word cheerful doesn’t just mean happy.  It means joy and to rejoice.  We can do that even when things aren’t looking so great! Good medicine means healing and a cure. That word “dries”, in Hebrew, can also mean wither up in a shameful way. Ouch!

Here are 4 ways to see the glass half full.

Although optimism has been associated with many health benefits, the truth is, positive thinking does not come naturally to everyone. So, if you are more of a skeptic, what can you do to become an optimistic thinker? Well, getting on the path to positive thinking may require different approaches, but they all revolve around identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with those that are more positive i.e. taking all thoughts captive to Christ. While it may take some time, with continued practice you will find that positive thinking will start to become second nature.  Cheerfulness is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.  There have been recent studies done that show our memories are imprinted inside each of our cells. Not just in our brain.  Meaning, negative thinking can literally poison every single cell in your body.  Positive thinking can infuse every cell of your body with healing.  This may sound woo-woo to you, but I’m just taking the Bible at face value here, and once again, even modern science is finding it to be true. They just don’t like to attribute the credit where credit is due.  To get started with this important character-molding endeavor, here are 4 tips to help you think more positively.

  1. Cultivate Positivity

The best way to develop any virtue is to adopt behaviors that reinforce that trait, and this applies to positive thinking as well. So, if you want to become a positive thinker, it is helpful to engage in activities that cultivate those emotions. Relaxation techniques such as prayer, praise and worship, and meditating on scripture are effective ways to ease your mind and cultivate positive attitudes that transcend your circumstances. An article in Psychology Today even found that the simple act of smiling seems to boost ‘positive effect’. You can also develop a powerful positive mindset by reciting daily inspiring affirmations.

4 ways to see the glass half full

  1. Stay Away from Pessimists

The people you associate with can influence your behaviors, beliefs and overall perspective on life. It’s imperative that you choose your friends and associates wisely. If you hang around the wrong crowd, eventually some of their bad traits will begin to rub off on you. So, if you want to develop optimism, you should surround yourself with positive people and spend less time with negative individuals. Pessimists will only feed your mind with doubt while optimists will inspire and encourage you.  If you can’t stay away altogether, at least be the voice of optimism and steer the conversation towards a more positive topic.

  1. Tame the Fear of Failure

Negative thinking often stems from the fear of failure. It takes root when thoughts of a bad outcome become deeply rooted in your expectations. To think more positively, you should not fear failure because in doing so, you are inviting failure itself. Instead, view mistakes and failure as opportunities to learn. It becomes much easier to maintain a positive outlook when we have forgiving expectations for ourselves.  Or, no expectations except for trying something new. Learning keeps your mind young, but learning comes with failure. That’s OK.  Failing at trying something makes you courageous. How many people are sitting around not trying something new because they don’t want to fail?  Failing doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you strong, and by failing you learn something new.  I think failure should be embraced, or even renamed altogether.  Failures are people who don’t try.

  1. Listen to Music or Read Books that Feed Your Positivity

What we feed our minds tends to manifest in our thoughts, words, and actions. Therefore, if you want to be a positive thinker, you need to be careful of what you expose your mind to. You can increase optimism by listening to music or reading books that encourage positivity. Positive messages and stories can shape your thinking and lead to a more upbeat attitude toward life.  I listen to various podcasts and sometimes they sometimes seem to try to make listeners fearful.  I always say, the worst thing that could happen, is that I could die.  If I die, that’s the best thing that could happen. It’s an upgrade.  Or, even suffering produces endurance, and persecution guarantees rewards if you’re a Christian.  If your eternal future is secure in Christ, there is literally nothing to fear.  If you’re finding yourself fearful or acting because of fear, then your identity in Christ needs to be examined.  That’s the only identity you should have.

There are many other approaches to improving positive thinking. The four methods shared above serve as a good starting point on the journey to mastering optimism. In conclusion, remember that being a positive thinker does not happen overnight. It takes time to nurture this trait and therefore a consistent effort will be required.