The Power of Positive Thinking for Your Life And How to Do It

Updated May 3, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When we face obstacles in life, the outcome is often dependent on how we perceive and react to the situation. An increasingly large number of studies shows that learning to develop a positive, productive mindset can help you navigate difficult times and grow. Positive thinking—a way of looking at your world and the world around you with optimism, confidence, and enthusiasm—can be a powerful force in your life. And it is a mindset that can be nurtured with the right approach. In this article, we’re discussing the power of positive thinking and how you can transform your thoughts to start focusing more on the positive side of life.

The Right Mindset Can Help You Face Life’s Challenges And Thrive

What Is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is a way of perceiving your circumstances and surroundings through an optimistic, affirmative lens. It is an attitude that can help you to see the good in every situation, or at least avoid dwelling on the negative aspects. Positive thinking has proven benefits when it comes to our mental health, including improved mood and . A positive outlook can even reduce symptoms of physical health challenges. 

Positive thinking does not mean that you completely ignore negative events in your life or the feelings that accompany them. It is normal to experience hardships and respond emotionally. Rather, it is characterized by optimism and confidence, even in the face of adversity. 

Positive thinking is heavily influenced by self-talk, or the way we narrate our own lives. When practicing positive thinking, your self-talk will likely take on a hopeful, optimistic view. For example, if you have a job interview that did not go the way you wanted, negative thinking may tell you that there is no way you will get the job and the interview was a waste of time. Positive thinking, however, would flip the narrative to remind you that even if you do not get the job, it was a good experience, and you will be even more prepared for the next job interview.

As you can see, the way you frame the narrative in your mind can greatly influence your emotional response to an event. Positive thinking and self-talk can make even bad situations seem more manageable and lessen the emotional impact these events will have on you.

The Benefits Of Positive Thinking

Research shows that by actively working toward a more positive attitude, you can reduce stress and anger and improve happiness and overall life satisfaction. Cultivating positivity can help improve your productivity and give you the confidence to overcome challenges that are thrown your way.

Another proven benefit of positive thinking is decreased depression. Not only can it lead to greater happiness, it often helps you look at the big picture instead of getting bogged down by potentially negative details.

Research suggests that positive thinking can also have physical health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health and increased lifespan. It is thought that these benefits are produced by lower levels of stress that may negatively impact the immune system and other important bodily functions. 

Tips For Positive Thinking

Like any lifestyle change, positive thinking can be a hard habit to get into; but with consistency you can practice it in your everyday life. Follow these tips to start on your positivity journey.

Do Some Digging

In most cases, beginning a practice of positive thinking does not require an entire mental overhaul. Rather, it can help to identify the circumstances and emotions that cause you to think negatively and write them down so you remember them. This list may include situations like your daily commute to work, a weekly meeting with a colleague, or even just a trip to the grocery store—anything that causes you to think negatively about your circumstances.

Start small by committing to changing your thoughts towards one of the things on the list, and make an effort to practice positive thinking during that situation. Once you feel you have a grasp on positivity in one area of your life, expand it into the other areas that you’ve identified. 

Check In With Yourself

It may take time for you to change your mindset, and there will likely still be times when you find yourself with a primarily negative outlook. Because of this, it can help to check in with your thoughts and emotions frequently. If you find that you’re focused on the negative in your life, think about the circumstances that brought about this mindset. This can help you identify similar situations in the future in which you might start to think negatively. You can check in with yourself through a daily journal, regular meditation, or simply asking yourself how you feel each day. 

Get Moving

Exercise has proven benefits for both mental and physical health. One way exercise affects your outlook is through the release of endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are released during exercise and promote relaxation and happiness. 

The Right Mindset Can Help You Face Life’s Challenges And Thrive

In addition to the endorphin boost exercise can give you, physical activity also helps reduce anxiety, which can make positive thinking easier. When you are in a calm state of mind, you may be better able to develop a new perspective. Getting into a regular exercise routine can also boost your self-esteem, which may help you maintain confidence.

Look For The Lesson

It is normal to have a negative reaction when you take a misstep or experience failure. When this happens, though try to look for a lesson. If you missed an important deadline at work, think about what you are going to do in the future to prevent this from happening. By looking for the lesson in every mistake, and thus using your mistakes as learning experiences to improve yourself, you are putting a positive frame on a negative experience.

Utilize Affirmations

Positive self-talk can improve performance on tasks, boost self-esteem, and enhance mood. Repeating affirmations to yourself in the morning can put you in a positive frame of mind for the whole day. Start your morning by looking at yourself in the mirror and saying something uplifting, like "Today will be a great day."

You can also utilize an affirmation that’s more personalized to your life. If you do not feel comfortable saying them out loud, you can write affirmations in a journal. Either way, starting your day with a positive affirmation sets the tone and helps you continue thinking positively all day.

Practice Mindfulness

Focusing on the present moment can also help with positive thinking by eliminating distractions related to past or future events. Mindfulness is centered around bringing your awareness to your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. By quieting your mind and focusing on the present, you can relax and re-center, giving yourself the opportunity to develop a fresh perspective without the worries we tend to accumulate throughout the day. 

Surround Yourself With Positive People

Do you have people in your life with whom you tend to engage in negativity or commiseration? Interacting with people who have a negative mindset can influence your thoughts and behaviors, making it hard for you to foster positivity. If you have people like this in your life, try to change the tone of your conversations to focus on positive aspects of your shared circumstances. You can also try to spend most of your time with people who practice positive thinking themselves. This can help reinforce the outlook you’re trying to cultivate. 

Practice Self Care

Often, we are so busy with work, school, relationships, and other obligations that we do not take time for ourselves. Self-care is a necessary component of mental and physical wellness, though, helping to empower us, provide us with confidence, and value ourselves highly. It can remind us that we are worth caring for and deserving of compassion. Taking some time for yourself and your hobbies can help you recharge your batteries, improve your health, and develop a positive mindset. 

Fostering Positivity With Online Therapy

Research shows that online therapy can help individuals shift their outlook, even in the face of significant life challenges. For example, in one study, researchers found that online therapy could help participants who were living with chronic pain develop a more positive mindset. Participants reported elevated levels of happiness and reduced depression, both immediately after treatment and at a six-month follow-up.  

If you’d like help fostering positivity in your life, consider utilizing an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. With online therapy, you can connect with a therapist remotely—through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging—which can help you avoid potentially negative experiences like traffic. Your therapist can also help you access useful resources, such as at-home exercises that can assist you in practicing positivity on your own time.


Positive thinking can produce significant, measurable benefits, often leading to improved mental and physical well-being, personal growth, and a new approach to life. With the above tips, you can tap into the power of positive thinking and gain a new point of view. If you’d like help developing a new perspective on life, consider online therapy. With the support and guidance of a professional, you can change your outlook, improve your mental health, and flourish. 

For additional help & support with your concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started