100 Positive-Thinking Exercises That Will Make Any Patient Healthier & Happier

Sometimes even the best medicine and healthcare is not enough for a full recovery. For patients struggling with illness or dealing with a major life change, these positive thinking exercises can mean all the difference. Here are 100 that we've compiled to help you channel your negative or angry thoughts into a happier and more productive positive outlook.

General

Practice these simple exercises and suggestions to keep your thoughts on the positive side.

  1. Only use positive words when talking. If you're constantly telling yourself "I can't" you may convince yourself that's the truth. Replace these negative words with positive ones instead. Tell yourself you will do your best or that you will try your hardest instead.
  2. Push out all feelings that aren't positive. Don't let negative thoughts and feelings overwhelm you when you're feeling down. Even if it's only for a few hours a day, push your negativity aside and only focus on the good things in your life.
  3. Use words that evoke strength and success. Try filling your thoughts with words that make you feel strong, happy and in control of your life. Make a concentrated effort to focus on these words rather than those that make you feel like you are failing or incompetent.
  4. Practice positive affirmation. One of the most popular positive thinking exercises is positive affirmation. This means you repeat a positive phrase to yourself on a regular basis like "I deserve to be happy" or "I am worthy of love". Believing that these things are true, and reminding yourself of it can help give you a more positive outlook on life.
  5. Direct your thoughts. This technique, used by psychotherapists, can help you to control your thoughts when you start to feel down or anxious. Create a happy thought, a positive image, or give yourself positive feedback to keep bad feelings in check.
  6. Believe you will succeed. There is nothing like believing in yourself to create a successful reality. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and believe that you will succeed at fulfilling your goals.
  7. Analyze what went wrong. Thinking positively doesn't mean denying that there is anything wrong. Instead, give yourself some time to think about the things that led up to your current situation so you can avoid future mistakes and look toward a more positive tomorrow.
  8. Give yourself credit. Often when we feel frustrated or upset we only concentrate on the bad things or the mistakes we've made instead of giving ourselves credit for what we do right. Allow yourself to feel confident about the things you have accomplished, even if you've messed up in other areas.
  9. Forgive yourself. Constantly beating yourself up about things that have gone wrong won't change them. Tell yourself that you're forgiven for your mistakes and allow yourself to move on.
  10. Learn from the past. The past is behind you and no matter how badly things went there is nothing you can do to change them. Whenever you feel negative thoughts about the past come up, replace them with positive thoughts about the future.
  11. Remember things could be worse. No matter how bad things get remember that they could be worse and be grateful for all the good things that are in your life, even when it seems there's more bad than good.
  12. Think of it as an opportunity. Sometimes even the seemingly negative things in our lives present us with opportunities we wouldn't have been strong enough to pursue otherwise. Maybe losing your job is just the chance you need to start your own business or go back to school.
  13. Come up with ideas of how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. If you find yourself thinking you should have done this or that differently, try changing your thoughts around. Instead give yourself credit for what you did do, remember that you are not perfect or that you can do better next time.
  14. Work on visualization. Picturing what you want to accomplish or the person you'd like to be can be a great motivator to getting you there and helping you feel more positive about the distance you have to go yet.
  15. Think of ways to turn visualization into action. The next natural step of this is to think of just how you're going to get to where you see yourself. Just picturing it isn't going to make it happen, so create a plan to take it one step at a time until you've made it.
  16. Practice self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis brings about a highly conscious state of mind that is willing to follow instructions. This means you'll be more open to positive suggestions that will allow you to be happier and hopefully healthier in your life.
  17. List the reasons you will get what you want. If you are having trouble believing that you'll get that big promotion or that your book will get published try sitting down and coming up with a list of reasons that you will get what you want rather than focusing on the reasons you might not.

At Work

Work can be a stressful place but use these techniques and ideas to keep yourself looking on the bright side.

  1. Be constructive. Giving yourself cruel and unwarranted criticisms will not only put you in a bad mood it surely won't help you improve either. Be constructive in your criticisms of yourself so you can grow and learn.
  2. Visualize a successful outcome. Sometimes it can be helpful to picture yourself completing a project successfully or getting the promotion you desire. This can encourage you and make you feel better about the situation.
  3. Sit up straight. Slouching down in your chair isn't going to make you feel any better about anything that's bothering you. Sit up straight in your chair and see if it improves your thinking.
  4. Surround yourself with positive images. Make your desk your own private happy getaway. Put up pictures of things that make you happy or that remind you of your goals to create a calming and positive environment.
  5. Relax and let things happen. Sometimes the best way to deal with problems is to relax and let them take their course. Things can often appear to be a bigger deal than they really are and reminding yourself of this can help you to relax and not feel so stressed.
  6. See it from another point of view. Change your pattern of thought by trying to see things from another point of view, whether it's your coworkers, your bosses or just someone impartial. It can help you see where you went wrong and understand why others might be upset.
  7. Keep track of your thoughts.When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, try jotting them down. You may find a pattern and figure out some ways to reverse how you're seeing yourself or negative situations.
  8. Don't dwell. So you made a mistake. It happens to everyone. Don't dwell on your mistakes. Make peace with yourself and move on to other projects.
  9. Stop being your own worst critic. There's no one else who knows just how to make you feel terrible like you can. Lay off on the harsh criticism and think good things about yourself when you feel you're at your worst.
  10. Look at yourself rationally. It's easy to get down on yourself for messing up at work, even on the little things. But try taking a step back and looking at the situation. You may find that what you thought was a big deal really doesn't matter that much.
  11. Believe in yourself. Want that promotion? Hoping to get that huge account? Believe that you can do it and it just might come true.
  12. Avoid negative coworkers. Nothing can ruin a positive attitude like coworkers who bring out the negatives in everything. Avoid talking to those you know will only make you feel worse.
  13. Truly believe you are the best at your job. If you're constantly looking for failures in your work and put on a sour attitude you're much more likely to actually be putting in a poor performance. If you think that you're good at your job you're much more likely to put in the effort and performance that will make you good.
  14. Look for opportunity. In every failure there's an opportunity to improve. Spend time thinking of ways you can turn your setbacks at work into ways you can get ahead in the future.

Family and Personal Life

Whether you're struggling with keeping a positive attitude about yourself or about issues within your family, try these positive thinking techniques.

  1. Associate yourself with those who think positively. Positivity is contagious, so find friends and family members who look on the bright side to surround yourself with.
  2. Be glad your life isn't boring. If nothing good or bad ever happened to you, likely you'd start to get pretty bored with your life. Take everything that is coming to you as a challenge and a way to keep yourself busy and interested in your life.
  3. Look at the big picture. Is that parking ticket you got a bummer? Of course. Will you still feel bad about it later this week? This month? Learn to let go of the things that don't really matter.
  4. Let go of the past. It does not determine your future so why focus on it? If you feel yourself ruminating on the past make a conscious effort to take your thoughts in another direction.
  5. Benefit from the attitudes of others. Have a friend that always knows just what to say to make you feel like things will be alright? Take comfort in those around you that have positive attitudes and can make you feel better about anything going on in your life.
  6. Develop a personal mantra. No matter what you choose to repeat to yourself, make your mantra words you want to live by each and every day that can remind you to be positive and take whatever life has to offer.
  7. Find someone to share with. Knowing you are not alone can be a healing experience. Share your negative feelings with a friend, a family member or a even a mental health professional. You'll likely feel better after you've gotten things off your chest and had someone to sound off with.
  8. Do something nice. Want to feel better? Try doing something nice for someone you care about. You'll get to feel good for being nice and you just might make someone else's day.
  9. Indulge yourself. One way to remind yourself of the positive things that life has to offer is to indulge yourself in whatever it is you love. Whether it's a box of chocolates, a massage or a new video game, give yourself a break to relax.
  10. Remind yourself of your blessings. Whether you feel blessed by your family, your friends or even that you just have food to eat each day remind yourself of these things, however small you may feel they may be.
  11. Say thank you. Most of us have a lot to feel grateful for that we simply take for granted. Thank those in your life that make it better and happier to get a positivity boost for yourself as well.
  12. Come up with positive things about those you love. Making someone else feel good about themselves can strengthen relationships and give you a positive thought to concentrate on, instead of the negative.
  13. Avoid laying blame. So the water bill didn't get paid. You could get mad and start a fight with your spouse or roommate. Or, you could let it go, take it in stride and work together to remedy the situation.
  14. Be playful. There's nothing to lift your mood and change your thinking like taking some time to embrace playfulness and your inner child.

Fun and Relaxation

Don't spend your free time feeling bad about things that have happened. Change your thoughts from the bad to the good with these helpful tips.

  1. Read an inspiring book. If you're having trouble finding something inspiring about your life right now try getting inspired by the life of someone else by reading a book meant to inspire and uplift.
  2. Watch your favorite sappy movie. Get a quick pick me up by watching your favorite movie or just your favorite scenes. You'll get a smile or a laugh and forget whatever was getting you down.
  3. Take a break from the news. The news is often filled with all kinds of depressing information. If you're already in a bad mood take a night off from the news and do something that you find enjoyable instead.
  4. Engage in physical activity. Working out releases chemicals that give you a mood lift. Take a jog, play a sport or just walk around the block to improve your outlook.
  5. Listen to something upbeat. Music can be a great mood enhancer. Whether you're driving in your car or hanging out at home, crank up the tunes with something that makes you feel happy.
  6. Monitor your stream of consciousness.When you're just sitting and thinking do negative thoughts overtake everything else? Monitor where your mind goes when it's at rest and learn to redirect your thoughts towards happier memories.
  7. Engage in activities that work towards your goals. If you're trying to lose weight don't spend the weekend baking cookies that will only tempt you towards falling off the low-cal wagon. Instead, pump yourself up by going on a hike, playing tennis with a friend or just getting active.
  8. Concentrate on breathing. When things just seem to be too much to deal with, try concentrating on simply breathing. It will relax you, eliminate some of your anxiety and allow you to focus on more positive elements in your life.
  9. Focus on all the fun in your life. While you might spend 40 hours a week slaving away behind a desk you likely have some things in your life that are fun and enjoyable as well. Focus on these things and spend time thinking of new and exciting ways to have fun when you're feeling down.
  10. Explore the world around you. Distract yourself from your negative feelings by embracing your sense of adventure. Check out a part of town you have never been to, take a day trip to a local winery, or just spend time reliving the happy memories from things around your house.
  11. Get excited. Even if there are a million things you're dreading doing come Monday try to find one thing that you're excited about. Even that one thing can have a big impact on how you feel and how you approach your day.
  12. Find something to laugh about. If you don't have anything in your day that's been particularly funny, think about a memory that never fails to make you laugh. It's hard to be negative when you're laughing and smiling.
  13. Count down to total relaxation. All of us have been so upset or frustrated at some point that we just feel like we want to explode. If you feel yourself reaching this point, stop, and start counting. For an additional bonus, try relaxing each body part in turn as you count so you end up completely relaxed and ready to think logically.
  14. Meditate. The benefits of meditation are many, and one of them can be encouraging positive thinking. By clearing your mind and relaxing you can push out a large amount of negativity that may be troubling you.
  15. Think of 100 things you enjoy doing. Feeling like your life is one big, horrible sinkhole at the moment? Sit yourself down and try to come up with a list of things that you enjoy doing. Even small things like taking a hot shower or enjoying a walk in the snow can make you realize that your life isn't so bad after all.
  16. Create something. Negativity inspires a lot of destructive feelings and one way to counter that is by working to create something instead. Paint or draw, sew some new curtains, build a model or even put together a puzzle.
  17. Imagine yourself in a happy place. Visualization can be a powerful tool and you can use it to remove yourself from whatever situation you feel unhappy in to one that makes you smile. Just close your eyes and imagine whatever makes you feel best.

Facing Challenges

Everyone has to face challenges in their lives from time to time. Whether they're difficult personal goals to meet or unexpected problems these tips can help you make it through with a smile on your face.

  1. Fake it till you make it. One way to deal with a challenge is to create a feeling of confidence and happiness in yourself. At first this feeling might not be real, but over time you'll start to actually feel happier and maybe even closer to your goal.
  2. Believe you will get well. Those facing illnesses can feel a sense of hopelessness and fear. These feelings aren't going to help anything. Concentrate on getting better and living each moment as if you will soon be well.
  3. Understand the obstacles are there to challenge you. Along your path to success you're going to encounter some roadblocks. Understand that these aren't necessarily there to stop you from doing what you want, just to ensure that you truly want it.
  4. Picture yourself at the weight you want to be. Losing weight can be a huge challenge, even for the most determined. Picturing yourself at the weight you want to be can be a great motivator to getting you on the track to success.
  5. Start small. Working at a huge goal all at once can be overwhelming and sometimes discouraging. Take things one step at a time and chip away at your ultimate goal until you get there.
  6. Don't let yourself quit. Giving up is usually taking the easy way out of a situation. No matter how negative you're feeling, never let yourself quit pursuing something you truly want. You'll thank yourself in the long run if you don't give up.
  7. Don't expect change to be easy. No one ever promised that making a big change in your life would be easy or that overcoming obstacles would be a walk in the park. It's not supposed to be. Don't let opposition let you lose your confidence and adapt a negative attitude.
  8. Find the bright side. Every cloud has a silver lining and you just need to find yours. Try finding the bright spot amidst all the turmoil surrounding a situation and focus on that to get you through.
  9. Understand that the situation is not forever. Even if you're dealing with the grief of a lost loved one, remember that in time you will feel better. You may always feel sad about a loss, but it will only get easier as time goes on. Take it day by day and keep in mind the transience of any bad situation.
  10. Truly believe you will succeed. If you want an extra edge on success, believe that you will be successful. This may give you the confidence and assurance you need to make the difference.
  11. Face up to change. The world is constantly changing and you and those around you are changing as well. Make peace with these changes and understand they don't always mean the end of happiness just because they're something different.
  12. Make a conscious decision to be resilient.In life you can either let a challenge break you down and make you see the world in a negative light or you can draw on strength you didn't even known you had and rise above it. Choose the latter-- it's never too late.
  13. Take it head on. Sometimes the best way to deal with negative things in your life is to take them head on. Reaching a resolution or at least working towards one will likely make you feel better about just about any situation.
  14. Focus on finding a solution. Don't wallow in your problems. Instead, work towards finding a solution and getting them resolved. You'll be able to feel proactive and feel in control of your life.
  15. Don't let loss stop you. When pursuing any goal there are bound to be setbacks along the way. Don't let these stop you from heading towards your ultimate goal.
  16. Keep yourself on track. It's easy to be weak and get off track to whatever goal you're pursuing because it's easier right now. Don't let weakness get the best of you-- you'll only feel worse later. Provide yourself with reminders to stay in a positive mind set and stay with the program.

Daily Attitude

If you really want to change your outlook on life, try using these techniques to change how you deal with problems and see the world.

  1. See the beauty in everything. Even if you're in the worst mood, taking the time to look at all the beautiful things that surround you in the world can provide an instant and insightful way to lift your spirits.
  2. Realize that your thoughts do not own you. Stop your negative thoughts in their tracks by realizing that you're in charge of what you think, not the other way around.
  3. Take time to figure out what you really want. When you feel yourself feeling negative about things that you haven't accomplished, take time to think if you really want those things. Finding out what is really important to you can help eliminate bad feelings over things that you don't truly want.
  4. Accept the good things. Sometimes we get so caught up in the bad stuff coming our way that we forget to appreciate the good things. Take a minute to sit down and think of all the positive things that happened in your day, no matter how small.
  5. Get excited about all the possibilities that lay ahead. Even in the midst of the biggest disasters there are a multitude of possibilities that await you to make changes or take on the world tomorrow.
  6. Believe the world is a good place. If you look at the world and only seem doom and gloom laid out in front of you you're not doing yourself any favors. Believe the world is a good place and you're likely to find many more ways good things can come your way.
  7. Stop making excuses. There are always a million excuses for any person not to do something even if that something can make them feel happier. Stop putting up obstacles to your happiness and ditch those lame excuses when you hear yourself making them.
  8. Don't play the victim. Bad things happen to everyone from time to time. Pitying yourself and wanting others to feel sorry for you isn't going to make things better. Pick yourself up and start working towards a happier future.
  9. Don't place your future in someone else's hands. Your future is yours alone to shape. Remember this and take control of where you're going in life.
  10. Create realistic goals. Of course you're going to feel frustrated if you make your goals so unattainable that you can't reach them no matter how hard you work. Create smaller or more realistic goals so you can feel accomplished instead of defeated each day.
  11. Choose joy. Every day when you wake up you make the choice whether to be happy or miserable. Make the choice to be happy and you'll live a much more joyful life.
  12. Believe you can change. Everyone has qualities they don't like about themselves and that sometimes make them feel bad about themselves. Believe you can change these things and you'll start to see little ways that you can.
  13. Start immediately. Want to make a positive change in your life? Do it now. Putting it off just gives you time to make excuses so get started as soon as possible.
  14. Believe you deserve good things. If you don't truly believe that you deserve good things in your life you likely aren't going to encounter many. Believe that you are worthy for good fortune to come your way and it just might.
  15. Stop letting negative thoughts control you. Negativity can be an overwhelming emotion, one that can make you feel out of control and unhappy in every aspect of your life. Put a stopper on these negative thoughts and take control of how you're feeling.
  16. Smile. Sometimes all it takes to feel good is to put a smile on your face. Practice putting on a happy face even when you just feel so-so.
  17. Take control of your decisions. You're the boss of what is going on in your life, even when you feel like you don't have a choice. Take back control of your decisions and make the choice to be happier and more positive.
  18. Change your vibe. Some people think that you get back what you put out, so stop putting out bad energy and change to a more positive outlook. Whether it truly works or not doesn't matter, you'll feel better either way.
  19. Keep the bad out. You're in control of the good and bad you choose to let into your life. When you can, limit the amount of negative things you let into your life, including your thoughts.
  20. Make positive thinking a habit. Don't just practice thinking positively when you're feeling down. Make it an everyday occurrence whether you're in a good mood or bad.
  21. Decide why you want what you want. If you're feeling upset because you feel like you aren't achieving the things you want in life, take a moment to sit back and figure out the reasons you actually want those things. You may find you're not as attached to them as you think.
  22. Look at things with fresh eyes. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to sleep on a problem so you can look at it the next day when you're not feeling so emotional.