Closing out what undoubtedly was a challenging 2020, we look ahead to the promise of a new year. To kick off 2021, reflect on the good, bad and ugly of the past 12 months and consider how to improve your life going forward.
New Year’s resolutions surrounding fitness and health always seem to be the most popular, and a fitness equipment company, we’re totally on board.
However, this past year proved one in which we were drilled in the power of our perspective. Facing seemingly unending losses, constant changes and continual uncertainty due to COVID-19 certainly stoked some pessimism among even eternal optimists. (And no condemnation here, as I’ll admit to being a negative thinker and cynic at heart, even without a pandemic.)
So in the spirit of new beginnings, here we take a moment to address why and how you should start practicing positive thinking.
Practicing Positive Thinking
According to WebMD, positive thinking is “the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation,” which actually can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. The experts acknowledge, “It doesn’t mean you ignore reality or make light of problems,” but is a conscious choice to approach the good and the bad in life with a positive expectation and outlook.
For many of us, that’s way easier said than done.
However, practicing positive thinking is not solely an innate skill, but can be learned and practiced to become habitual. Although it takes effort to retrain your predisposed thought patterns and personality type, with determination, it’s possible for pessimists to change.
Benefits of Positive Thinking
Backed by scientific research, practicing positive thinking is associated with multiple physical and mental health benefits.
- Better overall health
- Greater immunity
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of heart attack
- Increased pain tolerance
- Enhanced stress management
- Longer life span
- Better mood
- Stronger coping and problem-solving skills
- Clearer thinking
- Less depression
- Greater creativity
How to Think Positive
- Ditch the negativity. Acknowledge the bad, but don’t automatically assume that everything going forward will be awful as well. Losing your job indeed is difficult, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t ever land a good position again. Skipping your workouts isn’t helpful, but it doesn’t prevent you from starting a new routine anytime.
- Lose the extremes. Forget “never” and “always” when lousy things happen. For instance, while COVID-19 restrictions have been unpleasant, assuming that normal life will never return is wrong.
- Reframe your situation. Sounds trite, but it’s helpful to look for silver linings. Dealing with gym lockdowns has been a drag, but hopefully you’ve been able to take advantage of new virtual workouts or have bought fitness equipment and created a home gym. During stay-at-home orders, perhaps you’ve been able to take up a new hobby or clean closets and get organized.
- Maintain perspective and seek gratitude. While bad things are a part of life, there likely are others worse off than what you. Recognizing how your situation could actually be worse, and identifying ways you can be grateful, shifts your thinking. For example, in a car accident, be appreciative that you weren’t hurt or that your vehicle wasn’t totaled.
- Find humor where possible. Sometimes you just have to laugh – or at least smile – to cope with life’s many challenges. Not everything is funny, of course, but seek the lighter side when you can.
- Surround yourself with optimists. Hanging out with positive people can help shift your perspective and adjust your thinking. Friends, family and coworkers all can have a noticeable impact in your quest to embrace positivity.