By Sara Cheshire, Special to CNN updated 8:20 AM EDT, Sat September 13, 2014
(CNN) -- There wasn't anything that could bring singer Pharrell Williams down in his hit song "Happy." Turns out he was on to something.
Being happy and optimistic can prolong your life, help you manage stress, lower your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and even help protect you from the common cold, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Not bad at all, especially as thinking positively doesn't cost you a thing.
There's no better time to try it out than on Positive Thinking Day, which is celebrated each September 13. Here are five expert tips to help you think yourself well:
Be aware of your automatic reactions
Take a look at the following word: opportunitynowhere.
What do you see? Opportunity now here or opportunity nowhere?
"You want to understand what is your go-to, natural way of operating in the world," said Dr. Joffrey Suprina, national dean for Argosy University's College of Behavioral Sciences.
Are you the kind of person who spills your morning coffee or trips on the way to work, and suddenly the whole day is ruined? Or do you focus more on the positive aspects and the lessons that can be learned? Maybe you needed a break from caffeine or a reminder to not stare at your smartphone while walking.
Once you become aware of your tendencies, you can start changing your behavior, according to Suprina.
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Catch and reframe your thoughts
Once you catch yourself defaulting to a negative reaction, try to change your perspective and reframe your thoughts into something more positive, Suprina suggests.
A simple question to ask yourself is, "What might be some positives?"
Although it may seem clunky at first, hang in there. Suprina says that it takes about 90 days to change a habit and that celebrating baby steps and small wins is a great way to reinforce your new behavior.
It's just as important to not beat yourself up for having negative thoughts, he explains.
"Positive thinkers don't only see the positive. They realize that the negative exists but that we can choose where to focus."
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Don't believe everything your mind tells you
"It's a little-known fact that we don't always have to believe what our minds are telling us," explained Bobbi Emel, a California-based psychotherapist and coach. "We become fused with our own inner workings to the extent that they inform how we feel and act."
By observing your negative thoughts instead of judging, believing or acting on them, she says, it becomes easier to let them go.
Say to yourself, "I notice that I'm having this thought or feeling," and allow yourself to put distance between you and your reactions.
Let go of fear
"The bottom of all negativity is fear," explained Terri Cole, a licensed therapist…