The Power of Positive Thinking in Mental Illnesses

change thoughts2Being diagnosed with a mental illness  may not be a positive thing. However, if you look at the diagnosis in a positive way, you most likely will do better than someone who takes the diagnosis in a negative way.

It is not fully understood why a positive attitude helps people recover more quickly from surgery or cope better with illnesses. However, evidence suggests that positive thinking does help.

Positive thinking is not something that comes naturally to everyone.  In fact, many people develop negative thinking early in life and don’t even realize it.

“Positive thinking  means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.” Ref2

It is not always easy to change your thinking.  “If the ‘operating system’ that your brain functions on is negative, than first responses will be negative. To have basic instinct and first responses be positive reactions, thinking patterns have to be changed. Your brain’s ‘operating system’ has to be wiped out and new updated ‘software’ has to be installed. This takes time, work, and dedication.”  Ref1

While depressed, it is easy to get caught up in negative thinking.  People may tell you to snap out of it. However, that is almost impossible to do. However, if you put effort into changing how you think about things it will help.  Every day, you should try and think positive thoughts. Although it is hard while depressed, it is important that you try.

Some things you can do to start thinking more positively:

  • Hang around positive people
  • Read positive quotes. You may want to write them down and hang them up on your mirror or refrigerator.
  • Journal and talk about positive things in your life and positive things about yourself. You may want to do this when you are not depressed so that you can reflect back on these things when you are depressed.
  • Listen to upbeat music
  • Limit watching television. If you do watch tv, don’t watch the news as that can be depressing. Pick shows that make you laugh.
  • Watch a comedy
  • Call a friend who will make you smile.
  • Exercise
  • Set small goals every day and do them. At the end of the day, you will feel like you accomplished something.
  • Treat yourself to something that you enjoy eating once in awhile.
  • Live in the moment.  Deal with your problems as they arise and then leave them in the past where they belong.
  • Start a thankful journal. Write 1-3 things you are thankful each day. At the end of the week, you could have 21 things you are thankful for.

It can be so easy to be trapped in negative thinking while depressed.  The longer you think negatively, the longer you will remain depressed.  It is easy to dig yourself into a deep hole and the longer you stay in that hole, the harder it will be to get out of it.

If you are skeptical about if positive thinking can help you with your struggle with bipolar disorder, it won’t hurt anything to try.  Start thinking positively now and give it a try.

Here are some other articles on Positive Thinking:

What Is Positive Thinking?

The Power of Positive Thinking 

Can positive thinking make you well?

Positive Thinking Keeps Your Bipolar at Bay

Think Positively Positively

How Positive Thinking Changed Bipolar Disorder for Me

About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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5 Responses to The Power of Positive Thinking in Mental Illnesses

  1. Nicole says:

    Love the comedy advice. New girl is a personal favorite of mine. Always makes me smile

  2. I just printed this for my son. Thanks!

  3. r c says:

    Being positive makes a huge difference.

  4. Amrita Basu says:

    Hi Michelle really liked what you wrote.My father suffered bipolar illness and I have to fight anxiety and depression during stressfull conditions.
    I garden ,exercise,read and try positive thinking, meditate and count my blessings when the going gets tough.
    I believe just like physical health,mental health needs nurturing too .By writing this blog you are helping others and by the effect of karma you will also be helped.
    God bless

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