Staying Positive in All Aspects of Life



With all that has happened this year, having a positive mindset is more beneficial than ever.

Katie Brubaker, STEM Editor

As Kingwood High School joins schools across the world with these unusual learning circumstances, students find themselves having to adapt to independent learning while missing out on the more enjoyable aspects of school. Having to do school from home most of the week and not being able to see friends daily are all reasons that some students are feeling down, but what if there was something good to come out of this unusual year? What if there was a way to stay positive during the pandemic? Why even try to see the positive during this time when it seems like every month a new disaster strikes? The answer is simple: Science shows the correlation between attitude and changes in overall health. Having a positive mindset leads to improved academic performance and a healthier lifestyle. 

As easy as it is to get swept up in the sea of negativity around the world right now, having a positive mindset will lead to a sweeter outcome. Embracing positivity leads to a better performance with challenges, and with the new way of living right now, having a better outlook on life is more important than ever. Dr. Lisa Yanek is an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. She found that avoiding negative thoughts when faced with family heart problems leads the individual to be 13% less likely to have a heart attack or another cardiovascular problem. Positivity can even lower the chance of getting the common cold and other viruses or infections. If positivity can help defend against illness and physical ailments, think of what looking at school as a gift can do!

Education is a privilege, even if it looks different than normal, and when it is viewed that way, the results can be astonishing. A study was done at Harvard University where Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, asked a group of African Soweto students, “Who here likes to do school work?” 95% of the group answered yes, which seems weird considering the stressors that come with attending a top tier university, right? Well, since the students view their education as a privilege that their parents were not fortunate to receive, they strive to do their absolute best to learn everything they can while at university. Achor also recognized a positive correlation between students who thought of education as a privilege and a higher performance in the classroom. Even though school looks different this year, it is still a privilege to get an education during a pandemic. Thinking of school as a calling instead of something that has to be done will likely improve performance, even if learning is from home. With that study in mind, let’s learn about some principles of happiness. 

Happiness is a joy that is felt when striving after our potential. Dopamine and serotonin are happy hormones that dial up the learning centers of the brain. Thinking of staying positive as a job will allow for a greater focus on implementing a positive mindset into one’s life, and it will lead to those essential hormones being released for improved learning. Boosting one’s mood can be done by committing an act of kindness, finding something to look forward to, and doing something enjoyable. Another way to maximize the amount of positivity in a day is to remember the 3:1 positive/negative comment ratio. It means that it takes three positive comments to make up for one negative one, so maximizing the amount of positivity given out and minimizing the amount of negativity taken in is another crucial piece of staying positive throughout life.

One of the best ways to stay positive is to believe in and help others. The Pygmalion Effect is when a belief in another person’s potential brings that potential to life. Believing in others motivates them to live up to those expectations. This effect is mostly seen within the walls of a classroom. Study after study has proven that when teachers and students have high expectations for each other, the students are more likely to graduate and ultimately go to college. Other studies have proven that being surrounded by friends and family that have high expectations will boost grades and the overall dynamic within the household and social circle. 

Another principle to remember is the ability to fall up, or the ability to create a path away from failure during hard times. Having this ability separates people who are crippled by failure and those who rise above it. Thinking of failure as an opportunity for growth will greatly influence people’s grades and mental health when times become difficult.

Although social interactions are limited by COVID-19, solid social relationships are argued to be the easiest way to stay joyful. While academic performance should be a priority, staying connected to others is crucial for balancing all aspects of life. Without support from others, many possibilities are limited. Maintaining positivity is also influenced by who people choose to befriend. People with studious friends tend to become more studious. Having friends who party all the time will likely rub off on the whole group because of how the human brain functions. Brain cells sense and mimic the feelings, actions, and physical sensations of another person. The most emotionally expressive person in a group will transmit their mood to others within the first two minutes of a conversation. Choosing and maintaining strong social relationships is another step to maintaining positivity. 

With all that is happening in the world right now, whether it is the pandemic or bad weather, remembering the health benefits and principles of happiness are some of the most valuable skills during this time. 


Works Cited:

Achor, Shawn. “Positive Intelligence.” Harvard Business Review, 8 Oct. 2014, Accessed August 22, 2020.


Achor, Shawn. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel 

Success and Performance at Work. Virgin, 2011.


Brody, Jane E. “A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health.” The New 

York Times, The New York Times, 27 Mar. 2017,


Medicine, UCLA Center for East-West. “Power of Positivity.” Explore Integrative

Medicine, 2011,


Park, Nansook, et al. “Positive Psychology and Physical Health: Research and 

Applications.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, SAGE Publications, 26 Sept. 2014,


Ulrich Boser, Megan Wilhelm. “The Power of the Pygmalion Effect.” Center for 

American Progress, 6 Oct. 2014, 11:31 am,