The Power of a Positive Mindset

INDIANA – Everyone knows someone with a “glass half-empty” attitude about life. It seems like a dark cloud follows them around, and spending too much time with them can be exhausting.

We also know people who are the opposite; they always see the “silver lining” and fill the people around them with hope. Being positive or negative is not just a personality trait; it’s a way of thinking. Our brain is a muscle that can always learn new tricks. Training your brain to be more positive has many benefits – not just for the people around you – but also for you!

Even the most positive people have negative things happening in their lives. Being positive does not mean bad things won’t happen; it means you will be better equipped and more resilient when faced with adversity.

According to the Mayo Clinic, thinking positive is good for more than just your mental health. It also has physical health benefits, such as increased life span, decreased depression, and better coping skills during times of stress, which impacts cardiovascular health.

Knowing that thinking positively is good for you is one thing, but changing your thinking is something else entirely. The first thing to do is notice when you feel yourself sinking into negative thoughts. Noticing the behavior is the first step to correcting it.

If you consistently blame others for things that go wrong, catastrophize events, or expect perfection from yourself or those around you, you could be following an opposing line of thinking. Once you notice yourself doing these things, calling yourself out on the thought process (or asking someone to help you see them) is the first step.

Practicing positive self-talk can also be beneficial for this change. We tend to be our own worst critics. You can improve your self-talk by identifying your strengths. Focusing on individual strengths can be challenging if the practice is unfamiliar. It is also gratifying when your brain starts learning to focus on the positive. Try using daily positive affirmations to help rewire your thoughts about yourself.

The company you keep can also influence your outlook on life. Surrounding yourself with people who think positively makes you more comfortable thinking this way. You also want to be sure that the people around you support you and your goals. Being with people who put down your ideas or view things more negatively can impact your thought process and your self-esteem.

The power of positive thinking is limitless. Consistently and purposefully focusing on the good around us can improve many areas of our lives. Practice leads to progress. The more you start integrating these skills into your day-to-day life, the easier it will be to have a more positive attitude and reap the benefits of positive thinking.

Haley Droste

Haley Droste, MSW, LCSW, is a Youth First Mental Health Professional at West Side Catholic School in Vanderburgh County. Youth First, Inc., is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families. Youth First provides 90 highly trained mental health professionals (primarily master’s level social workers), prevention programs, parent engagement coordinators, and bilingual support personnel to 125 schools across 14 Indiana counties. Over 52,000 youth and families per year are served by Youth First’s school-based social work and community programs that promote mental health, prevent substance misuse, and maximize student success. To learn more about Youth First, visit or call 812-421-8336.