Some people are naturally positive-minded people.

They’re naturally optimistic and seem to always look on the bright side of things.

Those people always seem to be happy and in a good mood, don’t they?

Then there are those who always seem to look on the negative side of things.

You know anybody like that?

Is that you?

Negative thinking causes all kind of problems, not only in the brain but throughout the entire body. It causes things like stress, anxiety, and probably worst of all, can lead to varying degrees of depression. It can be crippling.

There is a complicated scientific explanation for the way this all works, but I’ll skip that for now. You can do some research and look up how negative thinking chemically affects the brain and body.

It was all over the weekend news that the famous country singer, Naomi Judd, committed suicide after struggling with severe depression. So sad. Rich, famous, beautiful, family … she had it all, didn’t she?

I was diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety about 20 years ago, and I go up and down with it sometimes. So I know what a struggle it can be to even have mild depression. I can’t imagine having it bad enough that the pain is so overwhelming that you just can’t take it anymore and do something so drastic and final.

My mental health issues kind of came to a head, so to speak, around the beginning of this year when I started having these major panic attacks. I woke up one morning with tightness in my chest, my heart was pounding, and it was hard to breathe — I couldn’t catch my breath. It was frightening as hell and something was telling me I had to get out of bed — now!

This went on for a while — off and on for a couple of weeks — and I finally figured out that what may have kicked it off was pent-up stress from the previous two years. Several stressful major life events happened that happen in most everyone’s life, but I don’t deal very well with things like emotions and feelings, so I figured things just built up and built up over time and finally something had to give.

I had already been working a little on my mindset — my habitual way of thinking — but I stepped it up a notch after I figured out what was probably going on, and I found some answers that have worked really well.

Experts recommend a number of things to help learn to be more positive:

Meditation: I do this every morning as the last part of my morning routine. Usually about 10 minutes. I do a search on my phone for meditation on happiness, stress, gratitude. Different subjects. Helps to learn to better manage thoughts and let distractions go. Not dwell on things so much.

Smile more: this one is a challenge for me. I have one of those “resting bitch” faces. Looks like I’m mad or sad or in a bad mood or whatever, when I’m really not. Sometimes I actually practice smiling more.

Help someone else: I enjoy this one. One thing I do is when I take my freelance invoices to the newspaper office, I hand them to one of the girls at the front desk and I also hand her some fresh-baked muffins or donuts or something. Always make her smile, and she has started giving me stuff, too, like a gift card to Starbucks or Chick-Fil-A or something, It’s fun …

Be grateful: This is another one that takes practice, but it’s well worth it. I heard somewhere that it’s impossible to be unhappy and grateful at the same time. Before I do my morning meditation, I write in my journal and I start each day’s writing with three things I’m grateful for that day.

So there ya go.

Try it.

It really works.

Are you sure?

I’m positive.

Be good to yourself: no negative self-talk. You ever call yourself, “Stupid,” or “Dumbass,” stuff like that. Stop it! And I heard a good way to turn a negative comment into a positive one. For instance, instead of saying, “I can’t do that,” you should say, “I can’t do that — yet.”

Listening to a guided meditation