About This Book

Attitude is everything. And this book will uplift and inspire readers with its 101 success stories about the power of positive thinking and how contributors changed their lives, solved problems, or overcame challenges through a positive attitude, counting their blessings, or other epiphanies.

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Five Ways You Can Use Positive Thinking

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark

Positive thinking is a wonderful tool for dealing with the ups and downs of life. It is a skill that can be deliberately learned, not just a trait that some people have and others don’t. The contributors to Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Positive share the ways they used positive thinking to overcome both major challenges and everyday issues. Here are five ways to stay positive.

1. Seek the good in everything. When Rita Bosel moved to Guangzhou, China for a two-year assignment, she was not prepared for the culture shock. The smog, language barrier, and traffic made her depressed and homesick. She challenged herself to find three positive things in her environment each day. Eventually, the positive things became easier to recognize and she stopped feeling sorry for herself. Later, on a plane leaving Guangzhou, she noticed many parents with newly adopted babies. She learned that all U.S. adoptions from China had to be finalized in Guangzhou. "I felt my eyes swelling with tears as it dawned on me that I was surrounded by hundreds of miracles coming true right there, right then. I sat back in my chair and allowed the energy of care and compassion to permeate me," Rita says. "I had to chuckle at the thought that Guangzhou — polluted, crowded, noisy Guangzhou — of all places, had such a special meaning. How could I not be joyful in this place of answered prayers, of love, happiness, and new beginnings?"

2. Stop the negative self-talk. Sara Matson struggled with bullies her entire life. But the biggest bully of all was herself. After years of feeling inadequate, she learned that she had an autoimmune disease called Sjögren’s syndrome where her white blood cells attacked her moisture-producing glands. She realized the connection: after years of attacking herself mentally, her body was following suit. On her 40th birthday she decided to stop listening to the bully in her head. "Are my efforts making a difference? I’m certain they are — at least, mentally and emotionally," Sara says. "As far as the effect my new thoughts have on my physical health, I’ll have to wait and see. A body takes time to heal. But I can say this: when my bully tries to capitalize on the mind-body connection that I now believe in, whispering, ‘Look what you did to yourself!’ I will stand straight and counter him with confidence: ‘Yes, but look what I’m learning to do differently.’"

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. After a frustrating visit to a crowded post office, Ferida Wolff noticed another woman scowling and looking grumpy, just as Ferida did. Ferida smiled at the woman, noticing how both their body languages changed immediately. The encounter showed her the power of a simple smile. "The rest of the day felt like a meditation on smiling. I became aware of people’s expressions and my own, of the way we show our emotions so plainly. Now I use that awareness on an everyday basis, letting it remind me that when I am fighting the world, or see someone else in that position, I can try a smile," Ferida writes. "More often than not, the energy of the moment shifts with that one little gesture."

4. Attitude is everything. Nafisa Rayani was working as a retail store manager when she met a wheelchair-bound man named Mr. Musau who had recently had a stroke. Although she didn’t even think he was listening, she told him about her father who had a stroke but was determined to regain his independence. Eventually her father was even able to walk without any help. Later, Nafisa left her retail job to go back into the corporate world and forgot about Mr. Musau, until she got a phone call from him months later. He had tracked her down to tell her how her story about her father had inspired him to take control of his own recovery. "His next words moved me a great deal. ‘My dear, I want to show you what your words have done for me. Thanks to you, I can now drive myself or walk to wherever it is convenient for you to meet! I want to thank you in person for helping me to realize that it was up to me to make sure that I did not waste away,’" Nafisa says, "As a tear escaped and rolled down my cheek, he asked, ‘Isn’t it indeed incredible what the power of the mind can do?’"

5. Give thanks. Linda Jackson was disappointed with her writing career, so she decided to celebrate all the little things she had accomplished the previous year, even though there wasn’t anything big to celebrate. As her family celebrated their small victories — her daughter making the basketball team, her son surviving his first week at kindergarten — more and more blessings came into their lives, such as her husband receiving a surprise bonus check. "And, I believe with all my heart that those blessings were a direct result of our decision to count our blessings and be happy right now rather than waiting for our big payday to come and make us happy," Linda writes.

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