There are a wide variety of beliefs on positive thinking. Some people go as far as to believe that your thinking creates your reality. While that might be true on a certain level, let's look at the less disputable effects of positive thinking.
According to the Mayo Clinic, health benefits of positive thinking include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Positive thinking isn't going to change what happens to you but it can change your ability to deal with what happens to you. Some people think that positive thinking means you can never be sad, down, or angry. Being positive doesn't mean you have to walk around with your head in the clouds singing "la la-la la-la," or pretend that the world is a perfect place. And of course, it isn't an all or nothing thing - there are degrees of positive thinking.
If you're not already a positive thinker and want to start moving that way, chances are that it will build over time - you probably won't be there overnight. It can take some time and effort to change your thinking unless you're willing to use some practice that helps change your unconscious thinking (like Neuro-Linguistic Programming or hypnotherapy). However you choose to do it, it's worth learning to think more positively to improve your health and quality of life.
Is your glass half-empty, half-full, or somewhere in between?
 Mayo Clinic. (2009). Positive thinking: Reduce stress, enjoy life more, accessed April 11, 2011 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/positive-thinking/SR00009
Image: Graur Codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net