I have long been an advocate of positive psychology and especially the work of Martin Seligman who is a leading authority in this area. His pioneering work has transformed the way so many people now view psychology and indeed the power of the human mind. With so much scientific research currently available it is becoming increasingly evident that an optimistic and positive mindset has numerous health benefits.
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 ultimately shape the quality of our lives and the impact we may have on others.
When I was twelve my Grandmother gave me, a book called “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr Norman Vincent Peale and the following words became a personal mantra for me. The concept of being a possibilitarian and seeking out opportunities even in the most negative situations struck me as a pretty cool creed for life!
So, to be clear positive thinking isn’t about burying your head in the sand and denying anything unpleasant or difficult as some may believe. With a positive attitude you can also recognise the negative aspects of a situation.
How you think about and deal with those situations however is critical in terms of how you 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 you from getting locked in a paralysing loop of negative emotion and allows you to bounce back from adversity and challenging experiences.
It does however take effort and practice to cultivate positivity so here are a few practical tips…
Be mindful of your mind chatter
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.
Be your own role model
If you are not careful you can fall into the trap of comparing yourself with other people, especially in a world so heavily influenced by social media. This can lead to unrealistic and unhealthy comparisons which can make you feel insecure and negative about yourself.
Being your own personal role model and establishing your own view of what success looks like can be truly liberating and empowering. Believing in yourself and celebrating who you are with all your strength, beauty and potential is far more constructive and fulfilling.
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.
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 recent 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.
Learn not fail
Replace the word fail with the word learn. Remember you were born to be real, not perfect and real people make mistakes. You absolutely do not need to beat yourself up and give yourself a hard time when you get something wrong. Some of the most powerful experiences in your life will be born from your biggest learning opportunities.
The myth has now been broken. Being a genius requires a blend of curiosity, commitment, hard work and not just talent alone. Adopting a growth and a positive mindset can help you to explore and tap into abilities you never even knew you had. As a work in progress, every day unfolds a new chapter in your life and a brand-new opportunity to unleash and crown your inner genius.
I will also be hosting a complimentary webinar on 15th July at 11am (BST)
The webinar will cover the following:
Understand how to manage thoughts and emotions
Learn how to think positively and constructively
Manage anxiety through uncertainty
Learn how to keep calm in stressful situations
Avoid getting dragged down by negativity and gossip
Maintain an optimistic outlook
Please do book early as this is free and places will be limited …