What is positive thinking?
To put it simply, it is a mental and emotional state of mind that focuses on the brighter side of life and expects a positive outcome from most things. People who are positive, think about what they want from life and search for means to get it. They do not keep dwelling on the obstacles that they may have to face in order to reach their goal. As a consequence, when one dwells on thoughts that are pleasant, it makes the person happy and happiness is indeed contagious. Thus being positive is like a butterfly effect whereby you are happy and in turn make others around you happy. It is indeed a sweet feeling that swells and fills your heart, akin to love.
How does one develop positive thinking?
All of us live in a world that is ever changing. There are times of immense happiness and deep sorrow. In order to be positive, one needs to develop a right balance between the good and the bad. While it is easier said than done, it is not something that cannot be accomplished. Optimism plays a major part in positive thinking. Try to think of the good in any situation, since that is the mantra of an optimist. Whether you look at the glass as ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ lies in the way you want to look at it. So first step to change your way of perceiving things. Once perception changes, along with it our outlook on life itself changes to a great extent.
Second step towards developing a positive attitude is to learn to be happy and thankful for all the blessings that you have received. If you just stop for a second and think what you have (and what others don’t have) you would indeed feel blessed. There are so many little things that make one feel blessed every minute of every day. There are thousands of people in our country who do not even have the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing. We should be thankful that we have all those and more.
Next step is quite simple. Have a smile – always. A warm smile for everyone around is positive thinking in action (just don’t overdo it & make it creepy!). I feel it rather unusual that foreigners smile a lot more that Indians. Having travelled to quite a few places (in India) I get to see that people from other countries have a ready smile or a nod of acknowledgement or a quick handshake for almost everyone they meet (mostly strangers in a strange land!). Most of this does not seem to catch the Indian citizen. We always seem to be on guard (against an invisible foe!); we hesitate to smile at people whom we have not met before (sometimes even those whom we have met!); this should change. Maybe the phrase ‘do not talk to strangers’ is instilled a little too deep for our own good. Try to break your walls and have a ready smile for those around it. It costs nothing but spreads the joy of living.
We all know that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so visualize. If you want something good to happen, first visualize how you want it to happen. You are what you think, so think good and good will come to you. By visualizing good, we will our minds to make it happen and there is no greater force than will power (other than God himself) to conquer the world. That’s the reason why our parents and elders always ask us to think no evil, lest it should happen. So, starting now, think of only good things and it will surely come to pass.
Being affirmative is another good habit that aids in positive thinking. When I was young, I had this habit of saying NO for most things that was asked of me…whether it was a type of food or a toy or a book or to go someplace, I would answer by saying ‘No’. While my mother ceaselessly advised me to stop saying ‘No’, I did not give any heed to her (as with most growing up youngsters!) As days went by, gradually even things that I wanted I could not get. If I wanted a certain flavor of ice-cream, all other flavors except the one that I wanted would be available! That was when I realized the depth of my mother’s advice. I started being affirmative. I began by trying to say YES (make sure it is for the right thing!) and my luck started to change for the better. There are certain things we might not fully comprehend but the universe works in mysterious ways. So try to be affirmative and you will definitely start thinking more positively.
You can’t choose your parents but you can definitely choose your friends. Stay away from bitter and angry people, else you might just end up learning their ways! Be wise in who you choose as your friends since they reflect who you are. Surround yourself with those who think positively and you will also learn from them.
All said, a happy mind is a healthy mind. While it may not be possible for us to follow all the above said at all circumstances as we are only human, but try to do the best possible. Most importantly do the things you love and love the things you do both in your career and personal life. Let me conclude with the words of Winston Churchill “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty”. Stay positive, now and always!