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Hope and positivity help people make better health and life decisions and focus more on long-term goals. Studies also find that negative emotions can weaken immune response, as well as increasing the health risks of stress, strokes and brain trauma.

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Consistency, self-belief and a positive mindset are so important when we are striving to reach our goals or make changes in our life. But positivity doesn’t refer to simply smiling and looking cheerful - positivity is more about one’s overall perspective on living and your tendency to focus on that which is good in life.

There are many traits and characteristics associated with a positive mindset, including:

  • Optimism: a willingness to make an effort and take a chance instead of assuming your efforts won’t pay off.
  • Acceptance: acknowledging that things don’t always turn out how you want them to, but learning from your mistakes.
  • Resilience: bouncing back from adversity, disappointment, and failure instead of giving up.
  • Gratitude: actively, continuously appreciating the good things in your life (Blank, 2017).
  • Consciousness/Mindfulness: dedicating the mind to conscious awareness and enhancing the ability to focus.
  • Integrity: the trait of being honorable, righteous, and straightforward, instead of deceitful and self-serving.

Not only are these characteristics of a positive mindset, but they may also work in the other direction. So actively adopting optimism, acceptance, resilience, gratitude, mindfulness, and integrity in your life will help you develop and maintain a positive mindset.

However, developing the right thoughts is not about being constantly happy or cheerful, and it’s not about ignoring anything negative or unpleasant in your life. It’s about incorporating both the positive and negative into your perspective and choosing to still be generally optimistic. It’s about acknowledging that you will not always be happy and learning to accept bad moods and difficult emotions when they come.

Above all, it’s about increasing your control over your own attitude in the face of whatever comes your way. You cannot control your mood, and you cannot always control the thoughts that pop into your head, but you can choose how you handle them.

Giving in to the negativity, pessimism, and doom-and-gloom view of the world means you are missing out on an important opportunity for growth and development.

Cultivating a positive mindset can “broaden and build” our resources and skills, and open us up to possibilities. Other benefits can include better overall health, better ability to cope with stress, and greater well-being. Research at the Mayo Clinic has proven that a good mindset can increase your lifespan, stave off illness, reduce depression and increase coping skills.