advertisement
Home » Library » The Power of Positive Thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking

How to be Positive

We’re not saying that you should deny life’s darker side or interpret every calamity as a blessing. But when calamity does strike, try not to give in to despair or fatalism. Concluding that you personally have been singled out for suffering, refusing to see any silver lining, and abandoning all hope may not only be a recipe for illness: Such attitudes are also not such great ways to go through life. Try to recognize that your grief and pain, however real and deep, are only part of a larger picture — and that this picture includes many elements of pleasure, success, and meaning.

Another approach is to try to “use your pain” for good. Many people who have suffered from life-threatening and incapacitating illnesses — including cancer, heart attack, and the like — say that they consider their illness to be “a gift.” The illness taught them to value each day, appreciate the moment, and get their priorities straight. Sometimes they discover that they have the power to do things they never knew that they could.

Losing a breast to cancer, for example, has led some women to stop pouring all their energies into cultivating perfect bodies. As a result, they discover other interests and talents, such as French literature, tutoring, or race walking. Being forced to give up a high-powered job because of a disabling illness has given other people the time they always wished they had to pursue sculpting, chamber music, gardening, or other passions. We’re not saying that you should wish cancer, heart disease, or AIDS upon yourself, of course; but if you keep an upbeat perspective, even life’s blows can bring rewards beyond your wildest imaginings.

Remember that even if you can’t change the circumstances of your life, you can change your attitude! If you need help, talk to a health professional about whether psychotherapy, support groups, or other structured approaches might help you.

Attitude definitely seems to influence the course of illness. But some people take this link too far and make you feel that your bad attitude caused your disease or is keeping you from healing. Walk the other way if anyone makes you feel guilty for being sick or treats your physical ailments as if they were emotional or mental problems (included are physicians who banish you to a psychiatrist when you have no obvious signs of physical illness).

The Power of Positive Thinking


Lynn Ponton, MD

APA Reference
Ponton, L. (2020). The Power of Positive Thinking. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-power-of-positive-thinking-2/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 29 Jul 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 29 Jul 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.