The Power of Positive Thinking

Jennifer Hansen, Extension Educator, 4-H & Positive Youth Development

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

We have been taught since a young age to “be positive”, but, it is more than a useful thought. Positive thinking is an emotional and mental attitude that focuses on the bright side and expects positive results.  A positive outlook is an incredibly powerful asset to have, as positive thoughts breeds positive results. Benefits of a positive attitude include success, happiness, health, and believing you can overcome any obstacle.


Think of the people you know.  Do you enjoy spending time with those that are positive, believe in themselves and others, and don’t give up?  Or is your preference for someone who is a “negative Nancy” and doesn’t believe something can be accomplished? You tend to feel happier around someone who thinks positively rather than negatively.  But how do you encourage and increase positive thoughts and actions?


There are countless ways to increase positive actions.  Everyone will have a method that works best for them. Generally speaking, anything that sparks feelings of joy, contentment, and love create positive thoughts. As a 4-H leader, find things that you enjoy, your hobby or passion for example.  Share it with your club.  Youth will sense your joy and love for it and feed off your positive thoughts.  However, that is not the only way.


Here are some other ways to increase your power of positive thinking.

  • Consciously replace negative thoughts with a constructive one.  If the negative thought returns, replace it with a positive one.
  • Use positive words with both inner dialogues and to others.
  • Smile a little more, as it helps to think positively.
  • No matter what your circumstances currently are, think positively and expect only favorable results and situations.
  • Use your imagination to visualize only favorable and beneficial situations.
  • Give affirmations, to both yourself and to others.


In “The Power of Positive Thinking”, author, Norman Vincent Peale, said that the way to happiness is to “Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry.  Live simply, expect little, give much.  Scatter sunshine, forget self, and think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.” 


Take what Norman said, and give it a try.  You might be amazed by the impact positive thinking has on your life!


(Sources: Sasson, Remez “The Power of Positive Thinking”,; Lejuwaan, Jordan “The Power of Positive Thinking”,

This article comes from a series of resources developed by 4-H Youth Development professionals.  Learn more about 4-H at


For more information, contact the author – Megan Burda (, Extension Educator in York County