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The Balance Between Positive And Negative Thinking

1947 words - 8 pages

The Power of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking can be a useful, powerful tool to get through difficult situations that life can bring and it can also be used to help improve the overall quality of one’s life. Those that believe in the power of positive thinking, such as motivational speakers, life coaches, and self-help gurus, claim that taking an optimistic approach to life has shown great benefits. Some of the benefits that believers of positive thinking claim to experience are more stability during stress, physical and psychological well-being, recovery from illness, and healthier relationships. However, there are those that have a different view of the power of positive thinking. They argue that it does little to improve health, the quality of life, or difficult situations. Some believe that too much optimism can pose more harm than good and that having a more negative approach is, at times, the better route to take. Studies, research, and analysis of personal experiences from experts on the power of positive thinking has been done to examine the benefits and potential harm of positive and negative thinking.
Two notable advocates that stand behind the power of positive thinking and the benefits gained from it are Norman Vincent Peale and his wife, Ruth. Mr. Peale is a progenitor of the theory of positive thinking and is best known for authoring “The Power of Positive Thinking”, a New York Times bestseller. His book outlines principles and techniques for gaining achievement, happiness, and health. Peal states that “these principles have worked so efficiently over so long a period of time that they are now firmly established as documented and demonstrated truth” (Peale xii). The proof that Peale’s techniques can work is seen in the lives of millions who put their faith in Peale’s teachings. They are experiencing energy like never before, peace of mind and improved health. Ruth Peale’s life serves as an example of these principles at work. When she turned 100, she was asked how she managed to continue to do all that she did at her age. She stated that “It’s all about thinking positive” and that “Norman and I always were positive about everything, in our marriage, our work and our whole lives” (qtd. in Neuharth).
Unlike the unscientific proof that Norman Vincent Peale presents in his teachings, Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson brings to view new scientifically proven discoveries of how a positive state of mind can enhance relationships, health, and work, relieve depression and build lives. Dr. Fredrickson, one of the world’s leading voices on emotional positivity, shares her lab tested experiments and findings on positivity in her book “Positivity”. One of Fredrickson’s findings, backed by scientific evidence and coincides with a claim made by Ruth Peale, is that “positivity doesn’t simply reflect success and health; it can also produce success and health” (Fredrickson 18). Frederickson goes on to say that positivity can...

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