Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts and the act of being positive can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.
Unfortunately, our brains are wired to pay more attention to negative experiences. It’s a self-protective characteristic left over from our hunting and gathering days. But such vigilance for negative information can cause a narrowing, downward spiral and a negative feedback loop.
Fortunately, we are not doomed by our natural disposition toward negativity. We actually have the ability to break out of that negative feedback loop and rewire our brains to think positively. As we head into a new year, renew your thoughts and take a turn for the positive. Your body and your mind will thank you.
- Think of Three – At the end of each day, make a list of three specific good things that happened and reflect on what caused them to happen. The good things could be anything — bumping into an old friend, a positive remark from someone at work, a pretty sunset. Celebrating little victories also has a proven effect of powering motivation and igniting joy.
- Compliment Someone – Take a minute to compliment or recognize someone for their efforts, from friends and family to people at work. If you find this difficult, start by sending an email daily to someone thanking them for something large or small.
- Do Something Nice – studies have shown that acts of kindness boost happiness levels. Something as small and simple as making someone smile works. Pausing to do something thoughtful has the power to get you out of that negativity loop. Something as simple as paying for someone else’s coffee or holding a door open will do the trick. Make it a part of your daily routine and you won’t regret it.
- Be Mindful – pay attention to the present moment without judgment. Opening our awareness beyond the narrowness of negativity can help bring back more balance and positivity into the picture.