What is positive thinking?
Positive thinking, or
healthy thinking, is a way to help you stay well or cope with a health problem
by changing how you think. It?s based on research that shows that you can
change how you think. And how you think affects how you feel.
you think in a positive way, you may be more able to care for yourself and
handle life?s challenges. You will feel better. And you may be more able to
avoid or cope with
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also called CBT, is a therapy that is often used to help people
think in a healthy way. It focuses on thought (cognitive) and action
(behavioral). Studies have shown that CBT can help people sleep better and help
them lose weight.1, 2 It also
can help treat depression and keep it from returning.3
CBT can help you notice the discouraging
thoughts that make you feel bad. These thoughts are sometimes called irrational
or automatic thoughts. Using CBT, you can learn to stop these thoughts and
replace them with helpful thoughts.
Healthy thinking also involves
calming your mind and body. You can use one or more techniques. These may
include meditation, yoga, muscle relaxation, or guided imagery.
Many people work with a therapist or a counselor to learn CBT. But you
also can practice healthy thinking on your own.
How does CBT help you think in a healthy way?
involves techniques that you can practice every day so that healthy thinking
comes naturally. For example: Maybe you're upset about a job review at work.
Your boss praised several things about your work. But you're feeling down
because she had one small criticism. You might even think, "I'm no good at my
job" or "She doesn't like me. I must be bad."
Focusing on only the
bad and not the good is an example of negative or distorted thinking. You can
teach yourself to watch for negative thinking. You can ask yourself how true or
helpful your thoughts were. "What did my boss say exactly?" "Were there
positive comments?" "Why do I focus only on one criticism?"
can learn to see that the harsh things you say to yourself may keep you from
enjoying your life and work. With time and practice, you can learn to tell
yourself more accurate and helpful statements. You might say, "I've done a lot
of good work this year, and my boss noticed it. She thought there was one area
I can improve. So I'll think of some things I can do to get stronger in that
CBT combines several ways to help you change how you
- You learn to notice irrational thoughts about
- You learn to stop the thoughts.
- You learn to
replace the negative thoughts with more positive thoughts.
- You can
learn to relax your mind and body. This can lower your stress.
can learn to manage your time better. This also can lower your stress.