Put a Little Lift in Your Step
Our species’ ability to sense danger may have kept us alive, but our worry-filled thoughts can present dangers of their own. It is proven that negative thinking can drag down our moods, our actions and even our health. The opposite is also research supported: that positive thoughts make us happier and healthier. Try it!
Research about the benefits of staying positive says:
- People who are pessimistic on average die younger than those who are optimistic.
- People who express gratitude are generally more upbeat and have fewer physical complaints.
- People who demonstrated negative thinking are less likely to change their unhealthy patterns.
- People who dwell on negative thoughts actually change their brain activity and patterns to reinforce negative behaviors.
- People who fixated on worrisome thoughts before a test performed worse than those who had a positive outlook on their task.
The Practice of Fostering Optimism
Trying to be optimistic means focusing on the positive as much as possible. Look at the little things, and notice those that make you smile. It gets easier with practice. Try to;
- Write about your great future life. Internalize ideas and plans. Get meaty with the details and imagine positive outcomes in particularly challenging situations.
- Search for your favorites. If you take a moment to think about it, you’ll know what you gravitate towards. Make a note of it!
- Practice Gratitude. Boost your boost by expressing your joy and gratitude for the things you enjoy.
- Savor the things that tingle your senses. Music that gets you pumped, exotic incense, a spicy taco, a beautiful view, a swim on a hot day. Slow down and enjoy it!
- Share your good news. Studies show that if you tell a friend about a happy event, you’ll actually enjoy it even more.
- Smile. Often. Research shows that the more we smile, even if we don’t feel it, the happier we feel. That seems backwards, right? But its scientifically proven.
Shunning the Negative
Decrease the downers in your life with practice by resisting worrisome thoughts and trying to transform your internal critic into a cheering squad. Here’s how:
- Choose your issues. If it won’t matter a year from now, maybe its not worth the worry.
- Choose your time. Let the issue rest for a bit. Chances are your level of concern will be diminished.
- Choose your plan. Instead of just spinning your worry wheels, try a concrete problem-solving exercise. Ask yourself;
- How will my response help the situation?
- Who am I helping?
- What have I learned from this?
- What behavior would make me and others proud of me?
- How would I want to be treated if the situation were reversed?
- How would I describe this situation in a court of law, without exaggeration?
- Choose your mind-set.
- Shift your thinking and over time, you can literally change your brain’s patterns.
- Imagine that your negative thoughts were said aloud. Then imagine a close friends listening to them. How would that person feel?
- Insecurity can make us think things are worse than they actually are. Chances are that most other people are feeling the same way you are.