The Correlation Between Positive Thinking, Success and Happiness

Research has shown that there is a link between positive thinking, success, and happiness. Understanding the correlation between positive thinking, success, and happiness is the beginning of being able to reap the benefits. Once you know how a positive mindset can help you achieve your goals, you will be more motivated to make that mindset shift.

Impact of Negative Thoughts

Before we jump into discussing all the benefits of a positive mindset, we need to address the impact that negative thoughts have on us.

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Depression and Anxiety

People who have a negative mindset are often plagued by depression and anxiety. If you routinely engage in negative self-talk, it can worsen symptoms of depression. In addition, the longer this goes on, the worse the depression can get.

If you’ve been diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety, those issues might be the cause of your negative thinking. It’s very cyclical in nature. If you’re depressed, you think bad thoughts about yourself, which makes you more depressed.

Improving your mindset can help ease the symptoms of the mental health issues. It’s not a cure. The depression and anxiety are still there, but how you feel can improve.

Relationship Problems

Negative thinking can also cause challenges in relationships. Often, negativity comes from poor self-esteem or insecurity. You might be seen as needy or jealous and then you have more negative thoughts along the lines of “no one will ever love me” which will worsen your mindset.

More Stress

There is evidence that suggests negativity leads to increased stress. We know that excessive stress is bad for our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It can impact your sleep, cause headaches, and increase anxiety.

Knowing that negativity can have this kind of impact should help you want to make changes to your mindset.


If you struggle with ideas of perfectionism, you probably also struggle with negative thinking. You get so caught up in what something should look like or what the results should be that anything less is a total failure. When you don’t achieve exactly what you’ve envisioned, you will feel more stressed out and disheartened.

You won’t be able to see the value in mistakes made or obstacles you’ve overcome. If you beat yourself up over not getting it perfect, you won’t appreciate what you have done or be able to see a way to do it better.

The correlation between positive thinking, success, and happiness - woman with arms raised in celebration

Benefits of Positive Thinking

Once you can recognize how negative thoughts seep into your life, you can focus on being more positive so you can reap the benefits of a positive mindset.

Optimistic Viewpoint

A positive mindset allows you to view life with more optimism. When you are faced with a challenge, you will consider how to overcome it because where there’s a will there’s a way. Fear and self-doubt won’t hold you back.

If you can get yourself to look for the positive side to any situation, you will be happier overall. You won’t be happy all the time, and bad things will still happen, but you will be able to face them because you truly believe there is a bright side, something to learn or gain from the experience.

Increased Confidence and Self-esteem

Having a positive mindset also boosts your self-confidence. By learning to push the negative thoughts aside, you can look clearly at a situation. Not everything will be worst-case scenario. More confidence means you will stress less about the outcome of a situation because you will see the value in experiencing it.

In addition, increased confidence and self-esteem make you feel better about yourself, which will make you happier. Having confidence will also allow you to take more risks to try new things. You won’t be too afraid to go after an opportunity.

Increased Problem Solving

With your increased confidence also comes an increase in your ability to problem solve. Everyone experiences successes and failures. A positive mindset can help you learn from the failures. When you are faced with a challenge, you don’t give up and think it wasn’t meant to be.

When problems arise, you will look for different solutions. You won’t try one thing and be done. You will consider the problem from many angles because surely, there is a way to find success (other people have done it, so can I).

Increased Motivation

When you are happy, you are more motivated. When you achieve success, you want more. It’s a fundamental reward system. A positive mindset will help you achieve more because you will be more willing to put in the effort.

As noted, if you feel good about yourself (confidence) you will take on new opportunities. When faced with an obstacle, you will problem-solve, which will lead you to success. More success = More motivation.

Less Stress

As I mentioned, negative thinking can increase your stress. Positive thinking, on the other hand, can help lower it. A positive outlook can help you cope with whatever life throws at you. With your new skills and abilities (confidence, problem-solving, motivation), challenges won’t take you out of the running.

Everything will not be a constant stream of sunshine and roses (or rainbow-farting unicorns), but having a positive mindset will put you in a position to have less stress and have the stress you do experience have less of an impact on your life.

More Success

In general, successful people tend to be more positive. Negative thinking can cause you to get stuck. It’s hard to make progress when you don’t see a path or a purpose. Positive thinking, on the other hand, can allow you to see opportunities and solutions. It might be a little of the chicken and the egg—are these people successful because they are positive or are they positive because they are successful?

Research has shown a link between positivity and success. One study showed that people with a positive mindset felt better about the goals they set for themselves.  They included goals for themselves and family in addition to their career.

Those things all work in concert to help you achieve your goals and be successful.

Just like negative thinking can land you in a spiral of despair, a positive mindset can set you on the path from positive thoughts to resilience to success.

To help get you started on your path to positive thinking, download the checklist and worksheet below. Totally free for personal use.

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