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May 01 2017
The Power of Positive Thinking
DeAnna Leahy, CCE, Sunroc Corporation

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." - Martha Washington (1732-1802)

"The Little Engine That Could" is a children's book that taught us at an early age about the power of positive thinking. In the story, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain. Several larger engines are asked to pull the train, but they refuse. A small engine is asked and agrees to give it a try. The little engine succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain while repeating the words, "I think I can - I think I can."

Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results. A positive person anticipates happiness, health, and success, and believes that he or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty. I have always heard that if you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought again. 

With a positive attitude, we experience pleasant and happy feelings. Our whole being broadcasts happiness and success. Even our health is affected in a beneficial way. Positive and negative thinking can be contagious. We affect, and are affected by, the people we meet, in one way or another. We want to be around positive people and try to avoid people who are negative. 

Livestrong.com gives ten helpful suggestions for staying positive:

  1. Identify negative thoughts - discard them and replace them with positive thoughts.
  2. Start your day positively - focus on the aspects of your day that could go right and what you are looking forward to about your day.
  3. Live a healthy lifestyle - eating right and exercising at least three times a week will help reduce stress and will help create a more positive mood.
  4. Say a daily affirmation - affirmations are positive thoughts you say aloud to encourage yourself.
  5. Assess what could be different - identify what areas of your life you would like to change.
  6. Find positive friends - surround yourself with positive people.
  7. See humor - laughing can help you feel more positive.
  8. Do something you love - find something that makes you happy and continue to practice what you love.
  9. See a situation in a different way - our outlook matters. Assess a situation you view as being negative and think about how you can approach it positively.
  10. Practice - the more you practice positive thinking, the more likely you are to continue thinking positively.

Remember, the little engine reached the top of the mountain by drawing on positive thinking and then went on down the other side, congratulating itself by saying "I thought I could; I thought I could."