The Power in Positive Thinking
At a recent school board meeting for the Redbank Valley School District, acting superintendent Dan Hawkins reminded everyone to be more positive, to look for the good in the school system rather than what is wrong. Positive psychology points to the wisdom and benefits in framing the mindset to see the glass half full rather than half empty. There are surprising benefits to optimism. And it is indeed a choice.
Former professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, Christopher Peterson points out several phenomenon that he has found to be true about positive psychology that are not necessarily in psychology books:
- Most people are happy;
- People who are satisfied with life do better at school and work and have better social relationships;
- Thinking positively leads to good health and long life;
- Most people are resilient;
- Religion matters;
- Money makes an ever-diminishing contribution to well-being;
- Work matters if it engages the worker and provides meaning and purpose;
- "Heart" matters more than "head" and while schools teach critical thinking, they should also teach unconditional caring;
- With good days comes a feeling of autonomy, competence, and connection to others;
- The good life can be taught.
Another individual who has done extensive research on the topic and is well known in the field of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman, offers the following insight:
"If you are a pessimist in the sense that when bad things happen you think they are going to last forever and undermine everything you do, then you are about eight times as likely to get depressed, you are less likely to succeed at work, your personal relationships are more likely to break up, and you are likely to have a shorter and more illness-filled life. That's the main discovery I associate with my lifetime."
Norman Vincent Peale knew what he was talking about when he stated emphatically that there is power in positive thinking!
Hence, if we find that we are on Team Pessimism, it's time we switch over to the other side. Optimism begins with gratitude. If we believe that "por algo pasan las cosas" (everything happens for a reason) and that all things work together for the good, we are on our way to an enlightened mindset. Let's stop whining and let the gifts of life flow … integrity, courage enthusiasm, faith, hope, love, happiness!