Why You Need a Positive Attitude

If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one. ~ Cavett Robert

Life’s challenges come to all of us. The Bible says they are ‘common to man’. But some of us seem to cope better and recover faster than others. “They have all the luck,” we say. “Nothing ever seems to bother them.”

Actually, positive people simply choose to think differently about their situations. They remain hopeful, despite the circumstances. When something bad happens, they assume things will get better. Optimists anticipate a positive outcome. Pessimists, on the other hand, spend their mental energy thinking about all the problems, and expecting negative results. Both attitudes are a result of their thoughts.

Two of my favorite story characters are Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore. Pooh Bear is always looking for fun, always expecting to find the honey. He strolls through life, arms swinging, visiting his friends and going on adventures. Eeyore, on the other hand, wanders slowly through each scene, head down, trying to be inconspicuous, telling himself (with a sigh) that ‘it doesn’t matter’ if he’s neglected and forlorn. He’s rather like a man I know who is convinced that Murphy (“If something bad can happen, it will”) lives at his house. “No matter what,” he thinks, “there’s a problem here somewhere.”

If you are one of those people who are less than optimistic about life, there are several reasons why you might want to improve your outlook. Here are a few:

A positive attitude pleases God.

God expects us to have a positive attitude. He calls it faith. The Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please Him. With faith, we can always anticipate a good outcome. We can trust Him to lead, provide for and protect us without fear or anxiety. In fact, His Word admonishes us often to ‘fear not’.

Faith says that no matter what, God can work this out for my good. With faith in God, even the most negative situation is easier to handle. Instead of surrendering to the circumstance, we begin to anticipate a positive result. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  ~ Jer. 29:11

Consider Joseph. He was beaten and sold into slavery by his own brothers, yet he remained positive, focused on the vision God had given him. When his brothers showed up on his doorstep decades later, he said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring much to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Gen. 50:20). Joseph’s journey through slavery and imprisonment gave him the wisdom and ability to save not only Egypt, but his own family, from starvation. All those many years, he trusted God to give him ‘an expected end’.

Let’s talk about that word, expected. Expect means to anticipate something that is likely to happen. Do you expect to have a good day? Do you expect to be blessed and appreciated? The power of expectation, anticipating good things to happen instead of bad, can help you cope with life’s disasters and come out with a positive result.

A positive attitude contributes to good health.

Studies show that people with a positive attitude are healthier and happier. Why? Mostly because their stress levels are lower. They are optimistic that, no matter what, things will turn out OK. Romans says it this way, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose (8:28). That doesn’t mean that everything is always wonderful. It just means that a positive attitude, expecting something good to come out of the ashes so to speak, makes life easier to deal with.

Positive people live longer and have healthier lifestyles. They are less affected by distress or depression. Their mental and emotional health is better. They naturally develop better coping skills because of their faith in a positive outcome. They also have lower risk of cardiovascular disease because of their lower stress levels.

A positive attitude helps strengthen the body’s immune system. Positive people are less susceptible to colds and other contagions. If a more serious disease attacks their physical bodies, they have an increased chance of overcoming the challenge or finding ways to improve their quality of life, despite the circumstance. Overall, they simply enjoy life to the best of their ability.

A positive attitude leads to positive action.

People with a positive attitude seem to have more energy. They focus on the result they want and make plans to make it happen. They quickly forget or forgive any negative circumstances. They refuse to be drawn into negative thinking. … Let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: (Dan. 5:10)

Studies also show that positive people are more active. They are more involved with family and community. Pessimists often have higher levels of stress and depression. They usually don’t volunteer, don’t socialize and often smoke or drink to excess.

Positive thinkers are pro-active. They refuse to accept dire predictions or wallow in self-pity. Instead, they consider options and make choices that lead to a better lifestyle.

  • Job loss? – “Maybe now I can start that business I’ve been thinking about.”
  • Disease? – “Where can I find the best care? What can I change to improve my chances for recovery?”
  • Relationship challenges? – “How can I look at that person differently? What can I do to make it better?”
  • Death or divorce? – “I will get through this, and I will be a stronger person. I’m OK.”

Notice all the “I”s. Positive people don’t place blame or wallow in guilt and unforgiveness. They take responsibility for themselves and find positive steps to overcome the challenge. Like Pooh, they anticipate finding something sweet and go looking for it.

One of my favorite lines from A.A. Milne (author of the Pooh stories) is this: Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

A positive attitude helps us cope with life on a more satisfying level. We believe that we are braver, stronger and smarter than life’s circumstances. We trust God’s divine guidance and intervention. We live healthier, happier lifestyles. And we contribute our joy and energy to the world around us with positive thoughts, words and actions.

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