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We all grew up getting lessons on how to keep our bodies healthy, but how about our mental health? Are you aware that our worry-filled thoughts can present dangers of their own? Thinking negatively can not only drag our moods down, but it can also affect our actions and health! Meaning ‘staying positive’ is not merely some form of encouragement, but rather a crucial action! According to experts, it’s worthwhile and possible to learn how to think more positively, so if you’re one of those ‘’Debbie downers” who can’t help but squeeze in a negative opinion on every single conversation, I suggest you start now.

So how do we stay positive? Well you can start with putting these 3 key things into practice

BE OPTIMISTIC

This doesn’t mean ignoring all the unpleasant aspects of life, but rather focusing on what’s good about it. If you want to be more optimistic you might want to…

Write about a positive future. The idea is to envision the reality of your goals and dreams. Write about how great your life is in the future as writing helps you absorb your ideas better than just thinking about it.

Look for the silver lining. It may sound sappy but looking for what’s good in a negative situation shows strength. Try asking yourself these questions:

  • What did learn from this situation?
  • Was I able to develop new skills?
  • Are my relationships stronger because of this?
  • What am I proud of about the way I handled this situation?

BE GRATEFUL

Paying attention and learning to appreciate the positive aspects of our lives boosts our mood. To increase your gratefulness, you can…

Write about what you’re grateful for. Researcher Martin Seligman, Ph.D., asked subjects to write a letter thanking someone who had been particularly kind to them and then delivers it in person. Those who wrote the letters enjoyed impressive positive effects even a month later.

Keep a gratitude journal. Write down anything large or small that makes you smile, may it be your small achievements, touching moments, relationships, and the simple things that make your day.

Just be. Stop and savor the world. Stop and smell flowers along the way. Feel the sun on your skin. Do whatever you can to really soak in these beautiful aspects of life.

AVOID THINKING NEGATIVELY

If you want to feel positive, it pays to eliminate thoughts that could bring you down. With time and practice, you can learn to resist negativity and even transform your unrelenting inner critic into your internal cheering squad.

Avoid dwelling on downers. Focusing on negatives isn’t just unpleasant; it also poses challenges to your actions and decisions. In a study of test-takers, those who fixated on worrisome thoughts performed worse than those who were distracted from their worries. To stifle your obsession…

  • Ask yourself if the issue is really worth your energy. Will this issue matter in a year, for example?
  • Tell yourself you’ll worry about it at a specific time later. Chances are you’ll feel better by the appointed time.
  • Instead of just spinning your worry wheels, try a concrete problem-solving exercise.
  • Distract yourself: Go to a movie, pump up some music, and find something fun to do.

Stop it with the unhealthy self-talk. You may have been running negative messages in your head for a long time. But research shows that you can learn to shift your thoughts and that, over time, you can literally change your brain. Consider trying some techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy, which works in part by looking at how changing your thoughts can change your life.

  • Ask yourself if your negative thought is really true. Are you really a terrible mother if you didn’t make it to the class play? You’re probably involved in innumerable other ways.
  • Remember any achievements that disprove your insecurity. If you think you’ll flop at the office party, remember other social occasions when you were outgoing and confident.
  • Imagine what you’d tell a friend if he was worrying in ways that you are. You’d likely convince him to wait a bit before assuming the worst.
  • Beware of all-or-nothing thinking. Disappointing your girlfriend once doesn’t mean you’re doomed to disappoint her all the time.
  • Consider alternative explanations. If your boss hasn’t responded to your proposal it could be because he’s busy and not because he doesn’t like it.