mindset

Do you see the world through a half-empty or half-full lens? Both can have an impact on your physical and mental health, according to studies, but being a positive thinker tends to lead to a healthier, longer and more fulfilling life.

In fact, according to Johns Hopkins expert Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., and her colleagues, “People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.”[1]

Positive thinking isn't a cure-all, and it won't solve all your problems. It will simply make challenges appear more manageable and assist you in approaching difficulties more positively and productively.

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How Can You Think Positively?

Positive thinking can be attained using a variety of approaches that have been demonstrated to work, including positive self-talk and positive imagery.

One of the easiest but most powerful methods to develop a more optimistic mindset is to ask more useful questions as often as possible.

When you’re in a scenario that appears to be negative – perhaps where you feel you've been lazy, made a mistake, failed, or fallen in some way - ask yourself questions like “What is one positive or good thing about this situation?”, “What is one opportunity that could come out of this?” or “If I were meant to learn something from this, what could that be?”

Rather than focusing on all the things that could go wrong, try to focus on all the things that could go right.  Then, ask yourself “If this is happening for me and not to me, how does that change how I show up and approach this situation as well as the energy I’d have around it?

Keep reading to discover the 8 powerful pointers to help you train your brain to think positively.

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Powerful Yet Simple Ways to Help you Start Creating Mindset Shifts

  1. Slow down.

Perhaps you've discovered that things don't always go as planned when you try to think, talk, eat, and move around in your surroundings too quickly.

Stress accumulates and creeps in. You begin to have negative ideas about almost everything, and you may feel that your life is eroding.

But if you take a few minutes to slow down – even if you have to consciously pay attention to walking, talking, and eating more slowly — your mind and body will also calm down. It becomes simpler to think things through again and can enable you to develop a positive and more constructive outlook.

  1. Concentrate on the positive aspects of life.

Life is full of difficult events and hurdles. When confronted with one, focus on the positive aspects, no matter how minor or inconsequential they may appear. Even if it's not immediately apparent, you can always discover the proverbial silver lining in every cloud if you look for it. For example, if someone cancels plans, think about how it frees up time for you to watch TV or do anything else you enjoy.

  1. Breathe

Stop shouting when you've disrupted the thoughts. Sit down and be still. To quiet your mind and body, breathe with your belly button and concentrate solely on your in- and out-breaths for a minute or two.

  1. Maintain a gratitude notebook.

Writing down what you're grateful for on a daily basis is one easy way to boost your optimism and sense of well-being. You can do this by keeping a thankfulness notebook or making a list of things you're grateful for, especially on days when you're having a difficult time.

  1. Refocus

Talk to someone close to you and obtain a more grounded perspective on the problem by venting or asking for their input.  Little shifts in your perspective can change everything.

  1. Make positive self-talk a habit.

We tend to be the harshest on ourselves and our harshest critics. This might lead to a negative self-perception that is difficult to overcome over time. To prevent this, pay attention to the voice in your head and respond with positive messages, often known as positive self-talk.

According to research, even a minor change in how you talk to yourself might affect your ability to control your feelings, thoughts, and actions when you're stressed.

Consider the following example of positive self-talk: Instead of thinking to yourself, "I screwed it up," consider to yourself, "Well, that didn't work but I can always try it again in a new way."

  1. Recognize the sources of your negativity.

Examine the various aspects of your life and determine which ones you tend to be the most negative about. Are you unsure? Consult a trusted friend or coworker. They'll almost certainly be able to provide some information. A coworker may notice that you are a pessimist at work. Your partner may have noticed that you're particularly pessimistic while driving. Take care of one thing at a time.

  1. Try to start every day with a pleasant tone.

Make it a habit to begin each day with something cheerful and encouraging. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Tell yourself it's going to be a terrific day or something else optimistic.
  • Play a pleasant and upbeat song or playlist.
  • Give a compliment or do something pleasant for someone to spread some joy.
  • When everything seems to be going wrong, how can you stay positive?

The Side Effects of Negative Thinking

Portrait of unemployed businesswoman stressed after failure and laid off from work because impact from covid-19 pandemic outbreak. Conceptual of unemployed woman having negative feelings.
Portrait of unemployed businesswoman stressed after failure and laid off from work because impact from covid-19 pandemic outbreak. Conceptual of unemployed woman having negative feelings.

Negative thinking and the numerous emotions that come with it, such as pessimism, tension, stress, and anger, can cause a variety of bodily symptoms as well as raise your risk of diseases and a shorter lifetime.

Stress and other unpleasant emotions affect several bodily functions, including releasing stress hormones such as cortisol, changes in metabolism, and immunological function. Long durations of stress can cause your body to become inflamed, linked to a range of dangerous disorders, and can result in serious health problems. [2]

If you're having problems controlling your emotions and are plagued by negative thoughts, please talk to someone you trust. If it ever becomes unbearable, please know that you don’t have to suffer or walk through it alone.

There are many resources that can help, such as positive psychology or therapy, both individual and group, consulting your doctor for medical assistance, or simply sharing what’s going on and how you’re feeling with the people that you love.

It might be difficult to be cheerful when you're mourning or going through a difficult time. It's critical to relieve oneself of the burden of finding the silver lining at these moments. Instead, use that energy to enlist the help of others.

It's not about suppressing every negative thought or emotion you have or avoiding uncomfortable feelings when you practice positive thinking. The lowest times in our lives are frequently the catalysts for us to go on and make great changes.

When you're going through a difficult period, see yourself as a good buddy in need of support and excellent guidance. What would you say to her if you were in her shoes? You'd probably acknowledge her feelings and assure her that she's not alone.  Try offering that same love and compassion to yourself and see what kind of shifts you begin to feel.

Because at the end of the day, the truth is, your happiness can only come from within you.

The important thing is to find what works best for you so that you find freedom and joy in your days based on your needs. You deserve that and you’re worth it!

References:

[1]: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking; [2]: https://www.marquemedical.com/damaging-effects-of-negativity/

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