It has been well established by science that humans possess an intrinsic instinct for mimicry. Frown at someone, and they will often glower back. Smile and you’re likely to inspire a reciprocal grin. A similar theory underlies the power of positive thinking: When we consciously choose to introduce a positive thought into our minds, our bodies respond instinctively. Positive thinking can reduce stress, improve immunity, and even make us more resilient in the face of adversity. When our bodies get the signal from our brains that all is well, they, in turn, signal our brains to feel more content. It’s a positive feedback cycle that can be quite powerful.
Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that life will have its ups and downs, but if we can try to see the low points as part of the normal fluctuations that we all experience, we can turn our focus toward the positive, and help ourselves move in the direction of the things we want. More than anything, positive thinking is about setting intention and being open to possibility. These encouraging quotes remind us that whether we’re striving for an Olympic gold medal, aiming at a big promotion, or working tirelessly to raise a happy family, staying on the bright side will always be a benefit to both our bodies and our minds.
Sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.
— Vince Lombardi
One small positive thought can change your whole day.
— Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
— Abraham Lincoln
If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
— Mary Engelbreit, artist
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.
— Willie Nelson
Optimism is the most important human trait because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow.
— Seth Godin
Just think happy thoughts and you’ll fly.
— J.M. Barrie, “Peter Pan”
Choose the positive. You have a choice. You are the master of your attitude. Choose the positive, the constructive.
— Bruce Lee
Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.
— Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gymnast
Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
— Colin Powell, U.S. politician
The choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.
— Oprah Winfrey
The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.
— Winston Churchill
Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
— Theodore Roosevelt