How to Use Positive Thinking to Increase Happiness

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A lot of times, especially when stress levels rise, negative thoughts enter the mind, and it is hard to get back to positivity. Everybody wants to be happy and positive, but that feeling of happiness can be elusive. 

Sometimes our happiness is impacted by poor sleep, challenging situations, mental illness, or problems in relationships. If you want answers about happiness from mental health professionals, check out However, mixing their advice with positive thinking can also be very helpful.

Sometimes it can take more than just strategies for positive thinking, but if you want to give positive thinking a shot, it may help you more than you realize. Before we look at how to use positive thinking to boost your happiness, let’s look at the impact of positive and negative thinking. 

How Do Positive and Negative Thinking Affect Mental and Physical Health?

Our thoughts and thinking patterns can have a huge impact on the way we feel. In fact, positive and negative thinking affect both physical and mental health. 

One study shows that participants who were positive and optimistic had a lower risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more. Positive thinking may help to lower cortisol levels and reduce risk of infection as well.

Positive thinking offers a range of different benefits. Being optimistic can improve your quality of life and contribute to better energy levels. It can also help you recover from illness or injury and protect against colds. It can even help to lower your risk of depression and help you live longer. 

Negative thinking often correlates with higher stress levels. Stress can have a negative impact on your health as well. It can increase inflammation and cause symptoms including headaches, nausea, fatigue, and poor sleep. 

All of these effects show that your happiness and wellbeing can be drastically improved by learning how to think positively. So how can you do it?

How to Use Positive Thinking

It may take some effort to start thinking positively, but it does not have to be difficult. There are different techniques that can help. Following these tips and regularly utilizing them throughout your days and weeks may go a long way towards your overall happiness. 

Focus on Positives

A lot of times, we focus on all the negative aspects of a situation or event and disregard the positives. Instead, try focusing primarily or even solely on the positives. When you meet a challenge or have high stress, think about any positive aspects of the circumstances. While the positives may seem insignificant at first, as you look on the bright side of things you may start to feel less stress and in a better mood. 

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When you start to have negative thoughts running through your mind, learn to stop and think to yourself, “is there anything positive about this experience?” You may find that there are more positive things that you realize. For example, you may find that even when getting laid off, you can look at it as an opportunity for a better job. Find the silver lining and your mood may improve. 

Be Grateful

Research shows that being grateful can be great for optimism and wellbeing. It may help to reduce your stress levels and boost your self-esteem. Think about the things in your life that you are happy about. At least once a day, try to express gratitude for something. This can change your negative perspective and foster better positive feelings. 

You may find that it is most beneficial when you write down the things you are grateful for. This is called a gratitude journal. Each day, write down one or two things that you feel grateful for. Be sure to do this even when you aren’t having a very good day. 


According to some studies, laughter can lower stress levels and improves coping skills and self-esteem. Try to find humor in everyday situations. Even with challenging experiences, allow yourself to see the humor. This can lighten the mood and build resilience to negative feelings. 

You should also try to spend more time with friends and family members that make you laugh. Sometimes it is harder to see the humor in normal situations when we are alone, but with our friends it may be easy to spot the funny aspects of any experience. Just make sure that the people you spend time with are positive. Spending too much time with negative people can bring down your mood even more. 

Positive Self-Talk

Part of focusing on the positive aspects of situations is to use positive self-talk. When things do not go right, we tend to think negative thoughts that cloud our opinions and judgments. Instead, try to examine the thoughts in your head so that you can identify when the thoughts become negative. 

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Trading these negative thoughts with more positive ones is known as positive self-talk. Research shows that a change to positive thinking can help with emotional management and improved behaviors.

Start with Positivity

Sometimes when we wake up, our mind becomes jammed with negative thinking. We may think that we need more sleep or that work is going to be boring or bad. Instead, try to start off each day with something positive. 

You may find it helpful just to tell yourself positive things like, “It is going to be a great day,” or, “I can’t wait to do better than yesterday!” You may also find it helpful to listen to a happy song or two in the morning. 

Enjoy Life

Sometimes we get too caught up in life’s challenges and responsibilities. We may start to think only about work, bills, and chores. This does not promote a positive mindset. Instead, try to spend some time each day doing something that you enjoy. 

Some people like to participate in hobbies, others like to talk with their best friend. The important thing is to find something that brings you joy. This can help you become more positive and satisfied with the quality of your life. You may also find that mindfulness mediation can help you enjoy the moment. 


Your negative thinking may contribute to your low happiness levels. Instead, it is a good idea to use positive thinking to see the positive aspects of every situation. Try to enjoy life and laugh whenever possible. Look for the humor and joy in the little things and express gratitude each and every day. 

marie maguelMarie Miguel Biography: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.