happyIn recent years, a lot of people have been talking about the power of thinking positively. They claim that just by thinking good thoughts you can obtain everything you might want in life. I don’t necessarily go that far but I do believe having a positive attitude, especially about yourself and your life, will help you find more happiness.

In another article, I talked about the importance of eliminating negative people from your life. Well, it is equally important that you eliminate the negative thoughts from your mind because those negative thoughts will undermine your happiness at every turn.

Recently, I overheard a conversation between a mother and her adult daughter. The daughter was talking about a recent job interview she’d had, and I was struck by her attitude. She told her mother, “It doesn’t even matter if I get the job or not. I’m just really proud of how well I did in the interview.” To me, that’s the epitome of a positive attitude. She could very easily have thought/said: “I thought I did well in the interview but they will probably hire someone else because I don’t have much experience.” Instead, she focuses on what was positive about the experience, and this makes her happy.

The same idea can be seen throughout our daily lives over and over again. If we dwell on the negative, it negatively affects our mood. You simply can’t be happy if you focus so intently on the bad aspects of life, on your own personal failures, or on what you don’t have in your life.

Here’s another conversation example I overheard. The man was in his early thirties and had apparently gotten divorced recently. From his posture, expression, and voice it was clear he was unhappy about the end of his marriage. His friend was trying to point out the positive aspects of the divorce: he had gone back to school to pursue a career dream, he had more time to spend with his friends and family, he was able to enjoy his hobbies again, etc. However, the divorced man simply replied, “Yeah, but I don’t have my wife.”

Obviously it is hard to be happy when a relationship fails but dwelling on the negatives only prolongs the sadness and grief. Taking a more positive attitude and looking at the good aspects of even the worst situation can help you recover more quickly and move on with your life and regain your happiness.

Negative thinking drains you of happiness. It can sabotage your attempts at moving on after a tragedy but it can also blind you to the positives associated with any experience. While all of us fall into the trap of negativity occasionally, it is important not to get stuck there. Taking a positive view of the world doesn’t make you naïve and doesn’t make you unprepared for calamities, as some might argue. Instead, it helps you enjoy your life.