Question: What are the benefits of positive thinking?
Dr. Howard: When we talk about “positive thinking,” what we mean is to look for the things to be grateful for now or hopeful about in the future. Positive thinking doesn’t mean sugarcoating an awful situation or pretending the reality of a situation is different than it is. This pandemic is awful. It’s causing ongoing illness, stress, and isolation. And yet, there are still some things to be grateful for within your own life right now and things to look forward to in the near future.
Try to balance acknowledging how hard this situation is with an appreciation for what is going well, or even just okay. This can help prevent depression, which is characterized by globally negative patterns of thinking. Positive thinking can also allow for more frequent pleasant moments throughout the day. In order to get through this stressful time, we need to string together as many pleasant experiences as possible.