How powerful is the power of positive thinking, really?

Chronic Evolution Issue 1

Hey, stranger. Remember me?

Probably not. You’re getting this email because sometime between July 2022 and now, you signed up for my Chronic Evolution newsletter:

A promo for my newsletter, posted on July 7th, 2022.

I’m ever so happy to have you here. I first advertised this newsletter nearly an entire YEAR ago. 😬

So why is this the first official issue? I’ll be honest with you — there were two main reasons.

Big Reason #1:

Impostor syndrome got the best of me.

I started to question the wisdom I had to share. Who am I to share this? Why should people care about anything I have to say? Can I really pull this off? You know, the typical downward mental spiral that occasionally plagues Turbulent personality types like me.

Big Reason #2:

Though I started this newsletter to talk about chronic pain, I no longer identify as someone who has chronic pain. That was past me, and I moved mountains to work through it. (I even wrote a pocket-sized guide under a pen name sharing my story.)

When it was time to sit down and write, I realized that doing a weekly deep dive into that pain felt like I was moving backward. It was no longer aligned with what I wanted in my life and who I wanted to be.

But you know what? There is something really big that I had to change in order to trigger my healing — and it’s a change that’s stuck with me to this day. I had to alter my mindset.

Before I could heal my pain, I had to cultivate a mindset conducive to healing. So THAT is what I want the focus of this newsletter to be.

Yes, it will still help you manage your chronic pain if you’re in the trenches of it now.

But it will also help you do so. much. more. 

Because how you think has a tremendously powerful impact on how you behave and how likely you are to accomplish whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

So I hope you’ll continue to tune in weekly as we dive into all things mindset.

Expect to hear from me every Monday (for real this time) with a blog-style email you can learn from and apply as you begin your week.

If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into these newsletter issues, then you can follow the journey on Medium (no opt-in required.) I’ll be publicly crafting this newsletter to keep myself on track. Keep an eye out for the first post detailing this issue in the coming days.

Without further ado, let’s get into today’s topic.

A snapshot of what we’re covering today:

  • Does positive thinking really work?

  • What are the benefits of positive thinking?

  • What are some positive thinking exercises?

How Powerful Is the Power of Positive Thinking, Really?

I’m going to assume that you don’t live under a rock and have heard of positive thinking by this point in your life. Perhaps you dismiss it as a buzzword, but like it or not, it’s become a part of your vocabulary.

But maybe — like I was back when I was in chronic pain — you’re a little fuzzy on the details. Does positive thinking mean you can never have a single negative thought, even when having a bad day? Does it mean you must be happy that you stubbed your toe on the coffee table? Or that you woke up with a sore back?

You’ll be happy to hear that cultivating a positive mindset does not mean eradicating any and all instances of negative thinking. If it did, you would just end up feeling bad about feeling bad, because negative situations are inevitable.

In fact, the health benefits of positive thinking start to diminish if, in an effort to think only positive thoughts, you end up invalidating your true emotions. That’s not doing your mental health any good in the long run, and it’s certainly not what I’m here to advocate for today.

For our purposes, let’s define positive thinking as the intention to approach life with empowering, optimistic beliefs.

In that context, I’m a firm believer that positive thinking really does work. And it has oh so many health benefits to offer. Let’s dive into some of them, shall we?

5 Surprising Benefits of Positive Thinking:

Better physical health 

Positive thinking impacts your mental well-being. Studies show it’s associated with decreased depression and anxiety, but were you aware it can affect your body too? It’s true! Positive thinking has been shown to strengthen the immune system and lower blood pressure. That means your thoughts alone can make you less (or more) likely to get sick. How cool is that?

Improved creativity 

Struggling to tap into your creative side lately? Positive thinking helps with that, too. Thinking new, positive thoughts continuously can actually open up new, creative pathways in your brain. So try looking on the bright side today. It may well open the floodgates to all sorts of innovative ideas.

Better resilience and coping skills 

No matter your goals, setbacks and challenges are inevitable. Embracing a positive attitude despite them can not only help you cope when bad things happen, it can also help you bounce back faster. It doesn’t mean you have to flip every negative situation into a positive one. It’s more about leaning into your ability to choose feeling better thoughts and lift yourself up in the face of adversity.

Live longer 

Believe it or not, positive thinking might just help you expand your lifespan. How’s that for biohacking? Studies show that people who look for the positive things in life tend to have lower stress levels (or perhaps better stress management techniques) and lower rates of chronic diseases, including the big ones like heart disease and cancer.

Enhanced self-worth and confidence 

By focusing on positive thoughts rather than a negative outlook, you’re shifting your mindset into one of empowerment. From this place, it’s easier to hold a greater appreciation and love for yourself. You’re more likely to feel confident in your problem-solving abilities and your capacity to overcome stressful situations. From that place of positivity, your self-esteem naturally flourishes.

Start Cultivating a Positive Mindset Today:

If you want to start thinking positively, you need to optimize two areas of your life: your inputs (what you’re taking in) and your outputs (what you’re putting out into the world).

Here are three ways you can optimize your inputs right now:

Read the right books

What you read impacts what you think about, and where you choose to focus your thoughts trickles down to affect your likely behaviors and actions. Whenever I’m feeling down or unsure about something, I turn to law of attraction books, not for the practical tips or exercises they provide, but because they’re a masterclass in helping you to focus thoughts and beliefs in a positive direction. It’s like instantly surrounding yourself with positive people without having to leave your house. My favorites are The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks, The Power by Rhonda Byrne, and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Clear your mind 

It’s hard to change your way of thinking before you’ve first identified your habitual thinking patterns. In general, are you more likely to have a negative outlook or a positive one? If you aren’t sure (or even if you are), I suggest setting aside five minutes each day to sit silently and just observe the thoughts that come up for you. You don’t have to try to change them; just note what they are and whether they’re serving you. Are they worth latching on to, or would you rather let them pass you by? You’ll be amazed how clear-headed you feel after doing this for one week straight. It also makes a great segue into a more formal meditation practice.

Set boundaries in your relationships 

All of this self-work is applaudable, but it won’t do you much good “out in the wild” if you aren’t willing to remove yourself from situations that don’t serve your positive thinking endeavors. If a friend or family member is constantly complaining or focused on a negative outlook, consider speaking up and explaining to them that you no longer want to engage in those types of conversations or focus on such negative emotions. You now know that what you focus on expands, and it’s okay to set those boundaries. If they don’t respect your boundaries, perhaps it’s worth cutting back on the time you spend with them or finding others aligned with your new direction.

Here are three ways you can optimize your outputs:

Keep a gratitude journal 

Start your day by writing down 10 things you’re grateful for and why (that last bit is key). If you’d like, you can follow this template: I am so grateful for _____ because _____. Or make one up that speaks to you. This small practice will get you in the habit of looking for the positive aspects of your life rather than dwelling on the negative ones.

Practice positive affirmations 

I have two sticky notes on my bathroom mirror with affirmations on them. They’re the first thing I read when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see when I get ready for bed at night. Repeating affirmations day in and day out, and truly feeling the positive emotions they evoke, will help you train your brain to focus on the good and believe in your own potential.

Reframe negative self-talk 

When you notice a negative thought or negative emotions holding you back, first identify them and ask yourself where they came from. Is this your belief, or are you mirroring the belief of someone close to you? Is this connected to something that’s already happened, or are you worrying about the unknown future?

Next, consider whether there’s a silver lining to be found here. If there is, great, focus on that. If not, then try reaching for a better-feeling thought anyway. It might be totally unrelated to the situation at hand, but it can be a catalyst for positive self-talk and may help you climb out of a negative spiral before it begins. Finally, treat yourself with compassion. Everyone has negative moments. Cut yourself some slack and treat yourself as you would a friend.

Wrapping Up Positive Thinking

Now you have a much better understanding of what positive thinking is and, perhaps more importantly, what it is not. You know why positive thinking really is so powerful for your mental and physical health, and you understand how to look at your life with a more positive outlook.

I hope these lessons serve you well as you head into this new week.

Please let me know what you think of this email or if there is anything specific you would like to request for an upcoming issue.

See you next time,


P.S. You can learn more about my personal story of applying positive thinking and how it helped me reduce my chronic pain and achieve better health in my e-book. Grab your copy on Amazon.

If these emails ever become a burden rather than something you look forward to opening each week, I encourage you to unsubscribe here. (No hard feelings.)