05 Sep 5 Scientific Benefits of a Positive Attitude + 10 Ways to Improve Yours
Energy is real! So much so that I tell every coaching client that developing a positive attitude is equally as important as reaching their success goals. I even created a 52-week affirmation journal that every client receives before we work together. I have seen first-hand what happens when a person with a negative attitude tries to be successful…. It does not work.
Your attitude doesn’t just shape your view of the world, it also strengthens your health, helps you become productive, and attracts the right people to you.
And science can prove it.
5 Scientific Benefits of a Positive Attitude
When your mindset is elevated and your attitude reflects that, you can use it to your advantage in life, business, and at home. Here are 5 science-backed ways that show how a strong mindset enhances success:
1 – You’ll be able to handle “success stress”.
As humans, we have a limited ability to handle stress and anxiety, however, it’s no mistaking that success without any anxiety is almost impossible. Having a positive attitude allows you to stay focused during times of stress so you don’t sabotage your success.
According to Travis Bradberry, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, anxiety and stress are necessary emotions for high achievers.
Here is a graphic he produced that shows the correlation between performance and anxiety. As you can see, some levels of anxiety are necessary for high performance and vise versa. They work hand in hand.
The trick is being able to stop your anxiety from taking over. To do that you need to develop a strong mental mind and stop negative self-talk in its tracks. According to Bradberry, “The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them.”
2 – You’ll level-up your network
Successful people are surrounded by those who are doing better than them. They know that increasing their network is a direct correlation to their net worth. And let’s be honest, no one wants to be around someone with a negative attitude and a poor mindset.
In a study by the University of California titled ‘Does Happiness Promote Career Success,’ professors concluded that positive people receive more support from coworkers and are less likely to be unemployed.
Your attitude doesn’t just change the way YOU see the world, it also changes the way others see you. When people see others with a positive attitude they correlate that with abundance and opportunity. Making it easier to meet people, negotiate, and close deals.
This also affects the longevity of your relationships, a key factor to long-term success. Ask yourself, would you rather spend time with someone who’s positive or negative? It’s an easy question to answer. Positive people are uplifting and make others feel good. Positive people are energizing.
Bottom line: Successful relationships are easier to create and maintain if others enjoy spending time with you.
3 – You’ll have more control over your life.
People with positive minds believe that they have more control over their lives. When your attitude is negative, it’s most likely because you believe that things are happening to you. When you are in a positive mindset you believe that you can change what happens to you.
These two contrasts are powerful concepts that not only change the quality of your life but allow you to create the life you believe you deserve.
And science agrees. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario studied functional MRI imaging while subjects grasped at objects. The brain imaging showed that the intentions and thoughts your brain set around distance, reach, grasp, and size of an object were predicted accurately every time.
Your brain can accurately predict outcomes down to the minute details based on your thought processes. Your brain hates to be wrong and it will try to successfully prove your thoughts.
4 – You’ll be healthier.
There are a gazillion studies that show the link between attitude and health.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace citing, “stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.”
A negative attitude can slowly kill you, literally.
On the flip side, researchers around the world have agreed that positive thinking paired with a realistic outlook can improve your health, including:
- Improving the ability to cope with stress
- Lowering depression
- Increasing cardiovascular health and reducing heart disease
- Extending human life
- Bettering psychological and physical health overall
- Increasing resistance to the common cold
5 – You’ll get more things done.
As a productivity and success coach, I’ve seen a direct correlation between productivity and positive thinking. When a client is struggling to get things done, 90% of the time they are feeling negative or their inner critic is on a rampage.
According to research, when you have a positive mindset before sitting down to get things done, performance increases across the board including productivity, engagement, and creativity.
In a study titled ‘The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?’, researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener found compelling evidence that directly links positive thoughts and successful business outcomes. The study was the first in it’s kind to show that positive thinkers have better resources, skills, and an increased ability to solve problems and complex tasks.
How to improve your attitude
If you are struggling to stay positive. The main thing to keep in mind is that the combo of inspiration, positive thoughts, and motivation can lead you to a healthy and positive attitude.
Here are 10 simple and easy things you can do each day to help you develop a maintain a positive mental attitude. Follow these strategies daily and you’ll notice a boost in your spirits!
- Listen to music that you love. There aren’t many things that can influence your emotions faster than hearing a song that you love. You can find just about any song you please online for free these days. Set aside a few minutes each day to listen to a song or two that boosts your mood.
- Be grateful. It only takes a moment to think of the good things in your life. You probably have food to eat, a friend or two, or a place to sleep that’s out of the rain. In fact, you probably have more than that. Remind yourself of the good things you have instead of focusing on the things you lack.
- Spend some time outdoors. Sit in the sun, take a walk, or work in the garden. Your mind, body, and spirit need a little sun and fresh air each day. It can do wonders for your outlook on life.
- Think happy thoughts. Your thoughts lead your emotions. If you think about something stressful, you’ll feel stressed. Think about something that makes you happy and you’ll feel happier. What are your happiest memories? There’s no harm in spending a few minutes thinking some happy thoughts!
- Make progress. Studies have shown that one of the most powerful ways to increase happiness is to make progress toward a goal. It could be doing one extra push up, learning a new word in Italian, losing a pound, or learning a new scale on the piano. It doesn’t take a lot of progress to feel good.
- Spend time with others. Back in the day, it was hard to find time to spend by yourself, but we’re more isolated these days. We chat with people online, text, and spend a lot of time alone. It’s important to have a meaningful face-to-face conversation once in a while.
- Forgive quickly. It’s very challenging to be happy when you’re holding a grudge. Forgive quickly and easily if you want to be happier. That doesn’t mean you have to give the other person another chance. Forgiving someone doesn’t have to include the possibility of a repeat performance.
- Be optimistic. An optimistic perspective produces a happier mood than a pessimistic perspective. It’s important to be realistic, too. Foolish optimism might feel good in the moment, but the pain is on its way. Have a hopeful, but reasonable, outlook on life.
- Exercise. If you’ve been sitting all day, going for a long walk or a bike ride changes how you feel for the better. Being sedentary is hard on your mood. A little exercise can definitely boost your happiness.
- Relax. Relax at least once each day. You could close your eyes and sit in the sun. Meditate. Take a nap. Watch your favorite show on TV. Do a little yoga. It’s up to you. Stress is an obstacle to happiness.
A note on toxic and relentless positivity.
It’s important to note that I do not believe that anyone should be positive all the time. Not only is that not possible but trying to always be positive can cause depression and be counterintuitive to productivity and success.
Many of the studies mentioned above clearly show what happens when positivity is taken to a toxic level. Not only does problem-solving decrease, but the ability to sustain that level of thinking is detrimental to your mental health.
You do not have to immerse yourself in relentless positivity. I call myself a positive realist. I know what is going on around me, I understand that some negative thinking is important for problem-solving and mental health, and I realize that life is complex and things happen.
When done in a healthy realistic way, there is no downside to having a positive attitude. A positive attitude improves your health, happiness, life outlook and relationships allowing you to be more successful and productive.