It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness.” Unfortunately, the real benefits of happiness are often forgotten in a pessimistic society. But optimists and those with a positive mental attitude can enjoy lower stress levels, better mental health, better immune systems and a lowered chance for heart diseases, according to MayoClinic.com. If you're ready to ditch the rain clouds for a little sunshine, a more positive attitude can affect just about every aspect of your life.
Banish negative self-talk from your repertoire. Women are notoriously hard on themselves, so whether it's a few extra pounds, a messy house or a parenting slip-up, catch yourself before you start thinking negatively about your performance. Instead, pick out the successful parts of your day. Maybe you ate a forbidden chocolate bar, but you remembered to walk 10,000 steps or made it to the gym instead -- awesome!
Exercise on a regular basis. Not only is daily exercise responsible for a release of endorphins in the brain, but it can also contribute to a more satisfied and confident positive mental attitude. Strive for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day and make it something you enjoy. If you love to dance, take a Zumba class. If you're more into the outdoors, map out a hike near your home. That way, you're combining your interests with exercise for a positive experience.
Identify the silver lining in the negative experiences that you have. While bad things will always happen to good people, those with positive attitudes know how to pull the good from even the worst experiences. The next time you're feeling down about something that happened, grab a pen and paper and scribble down three positive things that came from the experience. Whether it's meeting someone new, gaining better insight or even using that experience to help others, the silver lining can help you look on the bright side.
Sleep for seven to nine hours each night. While much of positive thinking is conscious decisions you make for yourself, other components are health related. You'll have a better outlook on life in general if you make rest a priority and ensure that you get the sleep you need. It'll banish grouchy mornings and a woe-is-me attitude by giving you the energy you need to tackle your day.
Address areas of stress in your life and learn to cope. When stress is present, it's hard to think positively. Instead, you're zoning in on the stuff that makes you pessimistic and worried. If you can't do away with stress altogether, learn ways to cope with those anxious feelings. A round of yogic meditation, a "night off" with a good book or even a relaxing bath can help you combat stressed-out feelings so you emerge with a more positive attitude overall.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.