Turn “I think I can” into “I know I can”.

Do you think you’re training enough? Sure, you might be putting in the work building your legs, abs, back, shoulders, and chest – but what about your brain?

Keeping mentally strong is just as important as keeping physically strong.

While not a muscle, the brain is the most complex organ in the human body. Day in and day out it works around the clock sending and receiving messages that control your thoughts, movements and overall system.

Something this great of importance should be taken care of. Here’s how:

What is positive thinking?

As defined by The Mayo Clinic:

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.1

In layman’s terms, positive thinking can be as simple as assuming the best, rather than assuming the worst. This may be easier said than done for some people, but you can train your brain to develop healthier ways of thinking that can improve your overall wellness.

The Placebo Effect

An interesting article posted by CNN posed the question: “can positive thinking make you well?”

Dr. Deepak Chopra argues that thinking is a powerful form of medicine. His theory is based on the fact that “when given a sugar pill, an average of 30% of subjects will show a positive response.”3

This is not the cause of a physical substance, but what Dr. Chopra describes as the mind-body connection, “If you think you’ve been given a drug that will make you better, often that is enough to make you better.”4

Unfortunately, changing your thinking isn’t as simple as the placebo effect, but with practice comes perfection.

How does this effect the body?

Positive thinking boasts numerous health benefits, including2:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any new fitness routine, it will take some getting used to. Creating a new healthy habit doesn’t happen overnight. It takes training, but this type of training can be done anywhere!

Turn negative thinking into positive thinking by implementing these new behaviors suggested by the Mayo Clinic5:

  • Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about, whether it’s work, your daily commute or a relationship. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.
  • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
  • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break it up into 10-minute chunks of time during the day. Exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Think about things you’re thankful for in your life.


  1. “How to Stop Negative Self-Talk.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Feb. 2017, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950.
  2. Ibid
  3. Chopra, Deepak. “Can Positive Thinking Make You Well?” CNN, Cable News Network, 5 Dec. 2011, www.cnn.com/2011/12/05/health/positive-thinking-deepak-chopra/index.html.
  4. Ibid
  5. “How to Stop Negative Self-Talk.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Feb. 2017, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950.