The positive process

The practice of positive thinking has been scientifically proven to improve your mood.

Erin Lengas

At home, scattered around my kitchen, my parents cut out positive quotations from newspapers and magazines and taped them on the cupboards and put them on the fridge. Some are motivational, some inspirational and others simply positive phrases.

I read these quotes by Mark Twain, Wayne Gretzky and others mostly because they were there when I wanted something to eat. I read them so often that I overlooked the meaning.

IâÄôm not always a ray of sunshine, but I think IâÄôm a fairly positive person. I can sometimes get on a negative kick and complain to anyone who will listen and even to those who wonâÄôt. Inside, I know that I will survive, but for me, voicing my concerns is a way of bringing them to my attention so I can deal with them, as annoying as that may be.

I think many students have this problem. We have just taken our first midterms and maybe didnâÄôt do as well as we would have liked. For some, at this point, keeping up good study habits and earning a high grade point average seems virtually impossible.

It is so easy to think negatively about difficult classes, a bad grade or a huge project looming overhead. Instead of thinking, “I will never make it,” try telling yourself that youâÄôll be proud of the grade you earn because it reflects your hard work. Thinking positively instead of negatively can be more than blind optimism âÄî it can help produce real results, too.

My parents reminded me of the importance of positive thinking when they sent me an email of a quote that hangs in our kitchen. It goes like this: “Positive thoughts become positive words, positive words become positive actions, positive actions become positive habits, positive habits become a positive character, and that positive character will deliver you to a positive destiny.”

The beneficial effects of positive thinking outlined in this quote have been scientifically proven. The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania believes in training positive thoughts, called “learned optimism.” They say being optimistic is self-reinforcing, so once a person masters the skill, they arenâÄôt likely to relapse back into negative thinking. They have also proven that learned optimism prevents depression and anxiety.

LifeCare, a company that supports businesses and employees in times of need, created a guide dedicated to the power of positive thinking. They advise pessimists to pay attention to their thoughts and counteract any negative comments with something optimistic.

LifeCare also suggests making a list of personal strengths and achievements. Our generation has accomplished so much so quickly, it is easy to forget all we have done in such a short time.

This advice is not telling you to shrug away your problems, but to think of creative ways to handle them. Charles Swindoll, an advocate of positive attitudes, famously said, “I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.” So react, and react positively. It is up to you to change your attitude, no one else. Why waste a day being crabby when you could be enjoying yourself?

We get so caught up in our personal crises that we forget how relatively small our problems are and how good we have it.

If you notice negative thoughts dragging you down, or your roommates rolling their eyes when you gripe about your problems, make like everyoneâÄôs favorite Little Engine That Could and say, “I think I can, I think I can.”