News readers might have witnessed the positive self-affirmations from Donald Trump. Words such as “We are in great shape”, or “this will go away”, or that “hydroxychloroquine is a game-changer” in reference to treatment for the coronavirus. Positive thinking is one of the tools in teaching our minds to be positive than to be burdened by negative bias. However, Trump seems to be living in his own reality, which has no relevance to what is really happening. Although it is important to give ourselves a pat on the back and to let go of unhelpful beliefs, we also need to understand that positive thinking includes facts and friendliness.
What is Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking is the idea that you can change your life by thinking positively about things. Having positive thoughts help with stress management and could even help to improve your health according to Mayo Clinic. Of course, thinking positively and being optimistic can help to increase life span, build a greater resistance towards the common cold, lower the level of distress, and is a coping skill for life’s stresses. People who are optimistic also tend to live a healthier lifestyle.
Despite these advantages that optimism brings, we have to understand that positive thinking does not mean we bury our heads into our own positive reality and ignore life’s unpleasant situations. In fact, positive thinking is being able to keep upbeat about life’s challenges without ignoring facts.
How Positive Thinking Include Facts?
Perhaps one of the most challenging events in life is to face a deteriorating health condition of a loved one, or of our own. Is it possible to be cheery and optimistic in this situation? Can we have a positive mindset in dire situations such as life and death? We do not need to be obsessed about clinging onto a good medical outcome, especially if the doctor does not give a favourable result of the treatment.
But we can try our best to remember the best moments spent here with family and friends. We can take the time to remember the good we have done for others such as the family or the community. Or in the last months towards death, we could take the time to benefit others by donating to certain charities. This scenario reminds us the importance of positivity while we are still alive, so that in the moments leading to death, we can recall all the good we had left behind.
Positivity Contains Friendliness
Positive thinking would include mentally wishing others happiness and wellness. To say that positive thinking is only reserved for the self and allowing negativity to arise against others seem contradictory. Shouldn’t positive thinking arise most of the time if not all the time?
In order to be optimistic and to lift our minds as much as possible, it would be an error to think that friendliness is excluded from positive thinking. That is because our lives are about getting along with others. In the true story of Christopher McCandless in the book “Into the Wild”, he wrote just before dying that happiness is to be shared with others. McCandless had left home, disgusted with materialism that had stolen harmony in his family. He left and traveled alone. He wanted to be alone and to be out of the rat race and in the end, he died alone in Alaska on a dilapidated bus.
Also, having had a positive attitude towards others including ourselves, helps us recall at our own final hour the good we have done with our time on earth. Earning a lot of money and keeping it in the bank or having a successful company means little in our last hours if we had not shared our happiness with others. Not that being successful in our career isn’t important, but seeing life as it is – that it will come to an end one day, provides a proper perspective on how to live and to let go of emotions and bickering that cause unhappiness.
Mindfulness with Positive Thinking
Mindfulness is a useful mental tool to balance positive thinking with the facts and realities of life. Mindfulness is the mental attitude of coming back to the present. Coming back to the present means to know what we are doing right now. Is our mindset positive? Is our mind ignoring the facts presented in the present? Are we friendly to ourselves and those around us at this moment? Do we remember the purpose of life – to leave something good here on earth that we can recall in our last moments?
Bringing the reality of death to mind isn’t pessimistic as most people might believe. It is because there is the certainty of death, that we make an effort to be better persons and to live better positive lives with others. However, the busyness of life and the advent of medical treatments have given us the false reality that death is far away. Remember the present moment, remembering that death is a certainty, then positive thinking cannot exclude facts or friendliness. Mindfulness recognizes and observes and so it allows us to be aware of our attitude and the train of our thoughts.