Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic — and it may even affect your health.

Indeed, some studies show that personality traits such as optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being and ability to take in new information and retain it, according to Mayo Clinic.

The positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. “If you tend to be pessimistic, don’t despair — you can learn positive thinking skills,” explained Mayo Clinic.

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
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 or expectations due to preconceived ideas of what may happen. If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

Unlocking the mind is aided by positive thinking
Picking up a book and take some private time to read
(Getty Images)
Staying active and engaged helps create positive thinking

The health benefits include:
• Increased life span
• Lower rates of depression
• Lower levels of distress and pain
• Greater resistance to illnesses
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke
• Reduced risk of death from cancer
• Reduced risk of death from respiratory conditions
• Reduced risk of death from infections
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress