As we embark on a brand year it is reassuring to know that there is a great deal of hope on the horizon. Thanks to our amazing scientists there is light at the end of what has been a very long and dark tunnel.
Clearly there are still some challenges ahead and navigating the first part of the new year may well be an interesting experience for many of us. How we think about and deal with those situations however is critical in terms of how we can influence the outcomes. By acknowledging any negatives and then making a conscious decision to focus on the hope and opportunity that is available is far more helpful. This releases us from getting locked in a paralysing loop of negative emotion and allows us to bounce back from adversity and challenging experiences.
The more we learn about the human mind the more we can appreciate how incredible it is. The latest research has indicated that we have tens of thousands of thoughts a day and the quality of those thoughts will ultimately shape the quality of our lives and the impact we may have on others.
So, to be clear positive thinking isn’t about burying our heads in the sand and denying anything unpleasant or difficult as some may believe. With a positive attitude it is about recognising the negative aspects of a situation however making a conscious choice to identify the positive alternative in each situation.
Here are four ways that you can think more positively…
1. Listen to yourself
The way that you programme your mind and the vocabulary that you use will have a profound effect on the way you feel. Words are like nutrients for the mind and the quality of the thoughts that you feed yourself with make a big contribution to your mental health and emotional well-being.
When you use words like can’t, won’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t you will immediately begin to create obstacles and excuses which lead to self-limitation. Take time to listen to yourself and the language you use and reframe some of the negative words and phrases into something more positive and emotionally nourishing.
2. Be Curious
The urge to explore and seek out new things will help you to remain vigilant and gain knowledge about your constantly changing environment. This may explain why your brain releases dopamine and other feel-good chemicals when you encounter new things. Curious minds are active minds, and active minds become smart minds.
3. Embrace lifelong learning
We are all people in progress and setting yourself new goals and challenges will help you to embrace lifelong learning. There are multiple health benefits as you grow older to keeping your mind stimulated and learning new things.
A study from the Stanford School of Medicine found that having a positive attitude towards learning has the potential to boost the functions of the brain’s memory and performance independent of confounding factors such as IQ. I also strongly recommended checking out the work of Carol Dweck who has pioneered some excellent work around cultivating a growth mindset.
4. Celebrate success
It is so important to appreciate and celebrate your success no matter how small your achievements may be. It takes hard work, effort and discipline to deliver positive outcomes, so you deserve a positivity party!
When you take time to appreciate your success and celebrate, endorphins are released inside your body that make you feel great. When you accomplish something and you don’t take the time to celebrate, you are denying yourself that all-important feel-good factor.
At the end of each day identify your top three highlights and be appreciative for all the things that you have managed to achieve and do well.
Taking the time to stop and reflect and to celebrate success will also help you to reinforce the behaviours you need to apply when you face your next new challenge and opportunity.
For updates for future blogs, free webinars and various other useful resources please do join my newsletter.