Can Positive Thinking Make You More Successful?

Research shows that these 4 surprising things can boost your positivity now and pave the way to more abundance.

positive thinking woman

- by best-selling author, and strategist, Susan Sly | 4 mins 1 sec read

You may have heard the phrase, ‘your attitude is your altitude,’ and read books such as Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich.  You may do affirmations every day and may have watched The Secret.  Friends may be telling you that you are crazy and that nebulous world of personal development is like a cult however research shows that not only are your critical friends wrong, they are more likely to be broke and unhappy if they continue with their cynical views.

Researchers Julia K. BoehmSonja Lyubomirsky from The University of California, at Riverside,  reviewed dozens of studies on the topic of positivity and workplace success.  They concluded that people who are positive do indeed make more money, are promoted more often, and have greater happiness.  In other words, a positive attitude can be the key to becoming financially more abundant.

The challenge, I have found, with many of my students and clients, is that they vacillate between being positive and extreme negativity.  If they attend an event, get on a motivational video conference, or listen to a powerful audio, they feel great, are more likely to take action toward their goals, and then, much like a child who consumes a sugar-filled desert, crash and become apathetic.  My observation has been that these individuals rarely sustain any level of success and have a massive challenge retaining any semblance of productivity.

To stay positive is demanding however the rewards are worth the effort.  If research illustrates that the right mindset will make us more money, help us excel in our career, and ultimately achieve more then why wouldn’t we want to expend the effort to make that happen?

In the past, I have written about various ways to improve your productivity including making sure you exercise, meditate, and get your sleep however my research in this area came upon four less common strategies that you can implement right away in order to achieve a more positive mindset.

1. Watch Positive Movies and Shows

friends watching a happy film_blog350Shouts out to the Game of Thrones folks however I had to stop watching it.  I found that several episodes, especially where there was a violation of women, torture, and murder, left me having restless sleep which in turn robbed me of productivity.  Instead of focusing on ways to help more people, create more revenue, and lead a more fulfilling life, I found myself reliving Hodor’s death and vividly recounting Sansa’s numerous assaults.  When I made the conscious decision to watch only media that caused me to feel better, I found myself more positive and research agrees.

Barbara Frederickson, from The University of California, divided subjects into five groups and had them watch videos with the following themes:

  • Joy
  • Contentment
  • No Prolific Emotion
  • Fear
  • Anger

After this, she asked the subject to write as many answers as possible to the following:

‘I would like to…’

Needless to say, the subjects who watched the images with joy and contentment listed the most answers; answers that aligned with positive outcome goals.  The subjects who viewed the content with fear and anger, wrote the least number of responses.  The conclusion was that viewing positive images was a catalyst for positive thoughts which inherently would lead to positive actions.

Strategy – make a list of uplifting movies, and shows, that you can watch over the summer.  Afterward, pull out your journal and start setting goals.  A couple of my favorites are – The Blind Side, Not Your Guru with Tony Robbins on Netflix, and with kids, Inside Out.


2. Write About Positive Experiences

A study published in The Journal of Research in Personality,featured an experiment where 90 students were divided into two groups.  The first group wrote about a powerful, positive experience over the course of three days.  The second group wrote about a neutral, control topic.  Three months later the writers of the positive experience had better mood and fewer illness.

Strategy – think back to a positive memory and spend time each day journaling on it.  Find a friend, partner, or family member to share this memory with and observe how your thinking begins to shift.


3. Play

Playing with Hulahoops_blogLab experiments by Glyn and Webster concluded that adult who play were more likely to experience innovative attitudes and intrinsic motivation.  When was the last time you played?  When was the last time you put your phone away and let lose?  This study illustrates that play can make us much more likely to be self-motivated and more creative which in turn can uplift our mood.

Strategy – schedule time to simply play.  If you have kids, let them direct the flow.  Gather your friends and go play Frisbee, touch football, or mini-golf.  Play definitely elevates our mood.


4. Ditch Inflammatory Foods

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry  found that clinically depressed patients exhibited 30% higher brain inflammation.  Sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed foods, trans fats, food additives, and preservatives all increase inflammation.

Strategy – cleanse your body.  Detox yourself from simple sugars and artificial anything.

susan sly work-life balance expert and speakerSusan Sly is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, certified NLP practitioner, coach, and trauma recovery specialist.  Susan specializes in helping people become more productive so they can lead ridiculously fulfilling lives.  She is the mother of five and has been working in human potential for over two decades.


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