Stanford University School of Medicine has proven that positive attitudes reap great rewards. According to their research, students with a positive attitude have a mental edge over those with a less positive mindset. Positive thinking is shown to have a profound impact on IQ, proven through brain imaging. The question is how do we leverage this to our advantage in a world where people are unhappy?
As humans, we are automatically wired to attract negative thoughts instead of positive ones. Why? Our ancestors made decisions in order to survive. Here is an example. Let’s say some early humans were out walking and there was a rumbling in the bushes. They could either believe there was a tiger in the bushes and prepare for an attack or keep on walking, paying no mind. A mistake could be fatal. The cost of the first decision was needless stress while the cost of the second one was death. Consequently, we evolved to make the first mistake a thousand times to avoid making the second mistake even once. Rewiring our brain to think in the positive is hard but POSSIBLE with practice. When our mind is in a positive state, our brain is 31% more productive than when it is in a negative state.
Being positive doesn't mean forcing a smile on our faces. Positive thinking is meant to guide our minds and create positive attitudes that can greatly impact our everyday lives. Optimistic people have a longer life expectancy. Changing negative behaviors and thoughts can also change our brain activity. Being optimistic doesn't mean you ignore the unpleasant things in life; it means paying greater attention to things that bring joy.
Positive thinking is linked to better performance and increased resilience. It maximizes quality of life. Here are some few steps to take each day:
1. Use the power of gratitude
Select six to ten pictures that bring you joy. Pictures such as vacations, weddings, and family gatherings are all great choices. Hang your pictures strategically where you will see them daily. The key to this exercise is stopping daily to show gratitude for each picture.
2. Control Negative Feelings
Negative thoughts flow fast, especially when we are in stressful situations. When you are encountering difficulties, it's important to take each moment as an opportunity to shift your mindset. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, you can take the time to call a friend or family member you have been meaning to catch up with.
3. Learn From Failure
One of the most important lessons in life is learning from our mistakes. Failure and mistakes bring new opportunities. There is no perfect human being so when you fail, it is important to guide your brain to focus on what you will do next instead of focusing on the failure and what caused it. When you practice how to learn from your own mistakes, you gain greater clarity about the situation, which will help to avoid making the same decisions in the future.
Visualizing your goals or objectives will keep you focused and motivated. When you set goals, you keep your mind alert. In discouraging situations, it is okay to acknowledge the negative, but you must quickly move to focusing on what is good in the situation. Visualization trains the mind to think positively.
Your day is controlled by your mindset. Using gratitude, controlling negative thinking, learning from mistakes, and visualization are all key to ensuring your days are filled with joy. By choosing a positive mindset, you are guaranteed to get more out of life!
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