“Positive thinking” may seem modern, but the belief that our thoughts can positively impact our well-being is nothing new. The Greek philosopher Epictetus, born 50 AD as a slave in a wealthy family, discovered that “it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” In other words, we can free ourselves and change our reality by dreaming big and training our minds toward possibilities rather than focusing on limitations.
His owner permitted him to pursue liberal studies, which is how Epictetus discovered philosophy. He obtained his freedom shortly after emperor Nero’s death and taught philosophy in Rome for nearly 25 years. Since then, numerous scholars, leaders, and thinkers have helped to champion the power of positivity. Ralph Waldo Emerson is often credited as a forefather of positive thinking. In 1904, he said, “We must adjust our attitude first, in order to change our lot in life. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” More recently, the Mayo Clinic determined that positive thinking could cause physical changes as well. The power of the mind can lead to a better immune system, an increased life span, better cardiovascular health, and lower levels of stress and tension. So stay positive. It makes you more pleasant to be around and allows you to be around longer.
Something to Think About
James Stockdale, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for over seven years, credits Epictetus for providing him with the mindset to endure his torture. When he was confined in leg irons, he remembered that Epictetus had a disabled leg, which was probably broken by his master, although there is no certainty around this. However, Epictetus would say in regards to this, “Sickness is a hindrance to the body, but not to your ability to choose unless that is your choice. Lameness is a hindrance to the leg, but not to your ability to choose. Say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens; then you will see such obstacles as hindrances to something else, but not to yourself.”
This week be positive every day!
Words of Wisdom
Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. – Alice Morse Earle
Mind is a flexible mirror; adjust it to see a better world. – Amit Ray
The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. – Hippocrates
Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you. – Mary Lou Retton
Positive self-talk is to emotional pain, as a pain pill is to physical pain. - Edmond Mbiaka