BYU-Pathway Facebook BYU-Pathway Instagram BYU-Pathway Pinterest BYU-Pathway Tweets BYU-Pathway Blog Feed
June 15, 2020

The Power of Positivity

Developing a positive outlook can provide strength in the midst of trials and lead to future success

In life, we often experience challenges out of our control that can negatively affect our mood.1 Everyone experiences these emotions throughout their lives, and that’s okay — healthy even. But as we strive for a positive outlook during hard times, not only will this make life a little brighter, but positivity can help to bring success, opportunity, and long-term happiness.

The benefits of positivity

Having a positive outlook can transform our perception of life, particularly during trials. It can help us recognize joy and blessings and even increase our ability to learn by allowing the brain to absorb more information.2 Other health benefits can also include increased mood and lowered chances of illness.3

Positivity can allow us to manage stress and achieve our full potential. It can also drive students to reach their educational goals with confidence, and that confidence can help push them to success.

The prophets’ words on positivity

Prophets have taught that, as we aspire to see the good in our lives despite trials, we can experience more peace and happiness. President Russell M. Nelson said, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”4

Similarly, President Thomas S. Monson encouraged, “So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. … For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.”5

An ancient proverb said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”6

Our leaders and the scriptures teach that positivity is important for lasting happiness. With a positive outlook in life, the Lord has greater access to us — we can be more open to receiving His guidance and see how He has already blessed our lives. He can also help us through our academic, family, and financial challenges and support us in achieving our goals.

Ways to develop positivity

Understanding the value of positivity is only one part of developing a positive attitude. Here are a few tips to help you add more positivity to your outlook on life.

1. Count your blessings. This can be challenging, especially in the middle of a trial. When feelings of distress arise, something we can do to help is reflect on our blessings and to record them.7 Feelings of optimism can return as we see just how many good things we have in our lives.

2. Find reasons to laugh and smile. If we allow ourselves to enjoy what’s around us — the sun, a funny joke, or a kind friend — we become more positive. Being outwardly joyful spreads to others and can help them develop the same kind of joy, which increases our joy even more.

3. Surround yourself with those who uplift you. Positivity is contagious, so when we surround ourselves with others who bring us joy, we feel good too. Likewise, being around those who focus on the negative can cause us to lose our positive outlook.

4. Take advantage of the Lord’s tools. Heavenly Father wants us to have joy and feel hopeful about the future, so He has provided ways for us to do so. We can do this with prayer, scripture study, the Holy Ghost, church attendance, and so much more.

The power is within you

Understanding that positivity is a good quality to embrace doesn’t make it easy. But luckily, we have many people surrounding us to provide support, including family, friends, and Church leaders. President Gordon B. Hinkley said, “I am asking that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.”8

Instead of allowing negativity to take root, we can instead choose to invite the power of positivity and watch as opportunities, blessings, and joy abound in our lives.

What do you do to maintain a positive outlook during trials? Comment below!

1. ^ Life’s challenges can make anyone feel sad, stressed, or overwhelmed. If you continue to struggle for an extended period of time or feel that your symptoms are interfering with your daily life, seek help. Learn more at
2. ^ Erin Digitale, “Positive attitude toward math predicts math achievement in kids,” Stanford Medicine, Jan. 24, 2018
3. ^ Chad M. Burtona and Laura A King, “The health benefits of writing about intensely positive experiences,” Journal of Research in Personality, Apr. 2004
4. ^ Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016
5. ^ Thomas S. Monson, “Living the Abundant Life,” Liahona, Jan. 2012
6. ^ Proverbs 17:22
7. ^ See also Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007
8. ^ Gordon B. Hinckley, “Words of the Prophet: The Spirit of Optimism,” Ensign or Liahona, Jul. 2001

Comments on "The Power of Positivity"

Polina says:

It’s okay to feel sadness or anger. It’s important to go through it, relieve these emotions, and do not suppress them. However, we need to make sure that it does not develop into a prolonged depression. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

Kris Kearns says:

I really appreciate this message right now. Since before our marriage 43 years ago, my husband and I have planned on serving a mission together when he retires. This week it became evident that this is not going to be possible. We have become caretakers for a sibling who is younger than us, and will need to live with us the remainder of his life. We love him and are happy to serve him, but it means a life-long goal is no longer possible. I have found myself grieving the past few days, so I needed this uplifting perspective. Thank you!

Lauren Conrad says:

Thank you for sharing your experience, Kris! It would be very difficult to let go of such a special goal, but your faith in the Lord and willingness to serve those that need you are inspiring. I’m glad this article was helpful for you.

Lance says:

Great article, I definitely find that nothing brings positivity into my life like gratitude. I even find gratitude in challenges, disappointments, and heartache. Just being able to experience life in all its forms makes me happy. I’m thankful to be able to think and feel. I appreciate your insight!

Dave says:

Research provides an easy experiment to find more positivity in our lives (search online for gratitude journal research). For 3 weeks, write down three things daily that you are grateful for. Hard to believe it can be that simple but there’s something to this exercise.
Thanks for the article!

isaac ofori says:

We should never forget that, no matter how hard life could be, we have never lost our value as beloved sons daughters of our loving Heavenly Father who trust us!

Nick says:

I believe strongly that when you talk about the good, you will see the good! And last when I tell my Heavenly Father what good things I would see throughout my day, I see more good the next day. It’s a really sweet cycle. God is good!

Bamey says:

Life is filled with many stress times , during that time we forget everything good we received. But with this kind of motivation we can remember all of good things and take the future. I appreciate that!

Bamey says:

Life is filled with many stress times , during that time we forget everything good things we received. But with this kind of motivation we can remember all of good things and take the future. I appreciate that!

Connie says:

Math doesn’t come easy for me. My father once told me (he was a High School math teacher) that it takes years to think mathematically, so I have exam #2 this week. All I want is a C in this course. The only way I can do this is to study all day long for the next month.

Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Please review our comment policy.