I had someone ask me once “Are you really always this happy?” and “Is it genuine?” 95 percent of the time, yes, I am really this happy. Is it because my life is perfect? Not even close.

I just choose to be happy. My philosophy is that there is so much negativity in this world that we don’t need any more from me. If I can give people a happy smile when I see them than maybe I can brighten a sour day. I also believe, thinking positively can be helpful to your health. Research on this topic says the same thing.

Thinking positively may:

1. Increase your life span.

2. Decrease depression.

3. Help with stress management.

4. Help your immune system.

5. Help with psychological and physical well-being.

6. Help with cardiovascular health.

Positive people tend to live healthier lives. They get more exercise, eat healthier, sleep better and usually don’t smoke or drink very much.

We all have crabby days, but the goal is to have more positive days than negative ones. You can do that by turning your negative thinking into positive thinking. Here are some ways to think and act more positively:

1. Identify areas of change. Are you the most negative at work, on your route to work, with your kids, etc.? Find an area that you think you can focus on first.

2. Check yourself. Periodically check in with your thoughts and see how you are feeling.

3. Have a sense of humor. Laughing at things that can be stressful does make you feel better about it.

4. Try to focus on a healthier lifestyle. Try exercising and try eating better.

5. Surround yourself with more positive people. It is easier to think more positively if the people you are around are more positive.

Thinking positively does take practice, but it is another way to live longer and healthier. Thinking positively will make you feel positive. Positivity attracts positivity. Whatever comes out of your mouth will come out of your life.

“Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for this moment.” 

Resources: Stress Management. Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk. Mayo Clinic.

Jen Brownlow is the wellness director at Columbus Family YMCA.

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