Positive Thinking Really Can Lead to a Happier Life

Positive thinking is a wonderful tool for dealing with the ups and downs of life. It is a skill that can be deliberately learned, not just a trait that some people have and others don’t.

In our new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Live Happy our writers share the ways they used positive thinking to overcome both major challenges and everyday issues.

Here are two of my favorite stories from the book that show you ways to use positive thinking to create a better life for yourself!

Turn everyday disasters into joyous moments.
In her story, " A Plague of Joy," Heidi Allen’s husband had to stay late at work so she was shopping and preparing for a dinner party all by herself. She also had to do an errand with her sons, picking up a bag of crickets for their lizards at the pet store. They got home with only 45 minutes to spare before the party, and then disaster struck. Somehow, as the boys were pouring the crickets into a receptacle, they got out. Heidi screamed and scrambled onto a chair. She was so frustrated and angry that she was about to start yelling when, as she says it, “The most amazing thing happened. As I watched my two sweet boys try frantically to capture the crickets, it felt like time slowed down, and I saw the situation clearly for the first time. They were running around like lunatics, screaming with laughter.” Heidi burst into laughter, too, and joined in the chase. And for weeks afterward, whenever Heidi heard a cricket chirping somewhere in the house, all she felt was joy.

Relax and give up control once in a while.
In the story, "The View from the Back Seat," Joan Borton learns that once you’ve been in charge, it’s hard to sit back and let someone else tell you what to do. It happened when Joan Borton’s career ended and she took two part-time jobs instead. Suddenly, she was subordinate to people who were younger than her. She was even relegated to the back seat of the car on a business trip, with two co-workers sitting in the front. Initially, it was hard to give up the leadership position, but Joan says, “I learned that the view from the back seat is beautiful. I am more aware of others and situations around me. I am not anxious to change that any time soon. If someone had told me years ago that I would find joy and fulfillment by stepping back I would have scoffed.” Giving up control at work yielded benefits in other areas, too, as Joan realized she could step back from always being in control in the rest of her life, including her marriage.


Chicken Soup for the Soul has been “changing lives one story at a time”® since 1993 with more than 250 books that provide hope, inspiration, and tips for a better life. Virtually every title becomes a self-help bestseller. Each book contains 101 true, personal stories submitted by ordinary people with extraordinary experiences to share. The topics are wide-ranging, but always inspirational and entertaining, covering everything from faith and spirituality to family, marriage, pets, and overcoming challenges of all kinds. Life values such as gratitude, forgiveness, mindfulness, positive thinking, and giving back are a big part of the series, with specific self-help books that help readers of all ages, from children to the elderly.