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How Positive Thoughts and Emotions Help You

People who have plenty of positive thoughts and emotions in their everyday lives tend to be happier, healthier, and get along better with others.

Here are some benefits of positive thoughts and emotions and ways to practice being more positive.

How Do Positive Thoughts and Emotions Help?

We all know that positive thoughts and emotions help you feel better, but they also do some other pretty cool things. They help you:

  • improve your memory and attention
  • take in more information and hold several ideas in your mind at once
  • understand how different thoughts relate to each other
  • handle tough situations more easily

Positive thoughts and emotions help open you up to new possibilities. You’re better able to learn and build on your skills. That leads to doing better on tasks and tests.

How Can I Be More Positive?

Building habits that encourage you to think and feel more positive can help you be more satisfied and have fewer unwanted feelings. This is especially important if you’re already dealing with a lot of negative emotions like fear, sadness, anger, frustration, or stress. Everyone has negative thoughts and feelings sometimes, but try to look on the bright side much as you can.

Try these tips:

  • Notice and name any positive emotions you feel during the day. Track them in a list to be more aware of positive feelings you experience and situations or activities that cause them. For example, you might feel proud when you answer a question right, joyful when your dog or cat does something funny, or loved when a parent shows up at your game.
  • At the end of each day, try to find at least 3 good things that happened to you. This trains you to notice positive things and encourages you to do more stuff that causes positive emotions.
  • Pick a positive emotion and make it stronger. Let’s say you choose confidence. What helps you feel confident? How can you get more of that feeling? You might give yourself a “Yes, I can!” pep talk before a test. Or maybe you stand up straighter and try walking through the halls in a confident way, feeling strong. Think of positive emotions as muscles you should exercise by the way you look at things and what you do.
  • Be grateful. Make an effort to practice gratitude every day. This means pausing to notice and appreciate the things you often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. It's taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate you are when something good happens — whether it's a small thing or big thing.
  • Gather reminders of good experiences. Consider making a positivity box or folder filled with things like photos of good times, cards from special people, and favorite song lyrics. If you have trouble thinking or feeling positive some days, the box can lead you back to a happier emotional place.

Positive thoughts and emotions are powerful tools. So find ways to make time for them in your everyday life. Try to create room in your day for joy, fun, friendship, relaxation, kindness, and gratitude.

Reviewed by: Sabrina Gretkierewicz, PhD
Date Reviewed: Jun 21, 2023

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