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We’ve all obtained the well-meaning info to “stay positive”. The greater the challenge, the more this glass-half-full wisdom can come across as Pollyannaish and unrealistic. It’s difficult to get the motivation to focus on the positive when positivity seems like nothing more than wishful thinking.
The true barrier to positivity is that our brains are hard-wired to search for and concentrate on risks. This survival mechanism served humankind back when we were hunters and gatherers, living daily with the very real threat of being killed by someone or something in our immediate environment.
This was ages ago. Currently, this mechanism breeds pessimism and negativity throughout the brain’s tendency to ramble until it finds a threat. These “threats” magnify the perceived likelihood that things are moving –or will proceed –badly. After the danger is real and lurking in the bushes later on, this mechanism serves you well. After the danger is imagined and you spend two weeks convinced the job you’re working on will flop, this mechanism leaves you with a soured perspective of fact that wreaks havoc on your life.
Keeping positivity is a daily challenge that requires attention and focus. You need to be intentional about remaining positive in the event you’ll conquer the mind’s tendency to concentrate on threats. It won’t happen by accident. That’s the reason why positivity is the ability that I will be providing additional attention in 2016.
Positivity and Your Health
Pessimism is trouble as it’s bad for your health and as result your body. Various studies have shown that optimists are emotionally and physically healthier than pessimists.
Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania completed extensive research on the subject. Seligman worked with researchers from Dartmouth and the University of Michigan on a study that followed people from age 25 to 65 to observe how their degrees of pessimism or optimism affected their overall wellbeing. The researchers found that pessimists’ health deteriorated far quicker as they aged.
Seligman’s findings are similar to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic that discovered optimists have diminished levels of cardiovascular disease and more life-spans. Whatever the fact that the particular mechanism in which pessimism affects health has not yet been identified, researchers at Yale and the University of Colorado found that pessimism is joined to a diminished immune response to tumors and disease.
Researchers at the University of Kentucky went so far as to inject optimists and pessimists with a virus to measure their immune response. The researchers found optimists had a much stronger immune response than pessimists.
Positivity and Performance
Keeping a positive attitude isn’t only great for your health. Martin Seligman has also studied the connection between positivity and functionality. In 1 study especially, he quantified the degree to which insurance salespeople were optimistic or pessimistic in their job. Optimistic salespeople sold 37 percent more policies than pessimists, who were twice as likely to leave the business during their first year of employment.
Seligman has examined positivity over anybody, and he believes in the ability to turn pessimistic thoughts and tendencies around with simple hard work and know-how. But Seligman doesn’t just think this. His research demonstrates that people can transform a tendency toward pessimistic thinking into positive thinking through simple procedures that produce lasting changes in behaviour long after they are found.
Here are 3 things that I will do this season to stay positive.
1. Separate Fact from Fiction
The first step in learning how to focus on the positive requires understanding how to prevent negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more energy you give them. Our negative thoughts are just that — ideas, not facts.
When you wind up considering the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Literally stop what you are doing and write down what you are thinking. At any time you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your own thoughts, you’ll be more logical and clear-headed in analyzing their veracity. Assess these statements to ascertain whether they’re factual. You can bet the statements aren’t accurate whenever you see words such as never, always, worst, ever, etc..
Can you lose your keys? Of course not. Perhaps you overlook them regularly, but most days you do remember them. Are you likely to have a solution to your problem? If you are that stuck, perhaps you’ve been resisting asking assistance. Or if it really is an intractable problem, then why are you wasting your time beating your head against the wall? If your statements still look like facts after they are on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you can trust, and find out whether she agrees with you. Then the truth will definitely come out.
If it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your mind’s natural threat trend inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as ideas by separating them from the fact can permit you to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive brand new perspective.
2. Identify a Favorable
The moment you end up from self-defeating, negative ideas, now is the time to assist your mind learn precisely what you want it to focus on — the optimistic.
This will come naturally after some practice, but you wish to present your drifting brain just a little bit of help by knowingly choosing something positive to take into account. Any positive idea will do to refocus your mind’s attention. When things are going well, and your mood is extremely good, this is relatively straightforward. When things are going poorly, and your mind is saturated with negative thoughts, this might be challenging. In such moments, consider your daily life and identify one positive thing that happened, however modest. If you can not consider something from the present day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps there’s an exciting event you’re anticipating you can focus your attention on.
The purpose here is that you will need to have something positive that you’re prepared to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative. Measure one stripped off the energy from negative thoughts by separating fact from fiction. Step two is to replace the negative with a positive. The moment you’ve produced a positive idea, draw your attention to this idea once you find yourself dwelling on the negative. If this proves difficult, you can repeat the process of writing down the negative thoughts to discredit their validity, and then let yourself openly appreciate positive ideas.
3. Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
Taking time to consider what you’re thankful for isn’t just the “right” thing to do; it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that individuals who worked to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy and less stress due to lower cortisol levels.
You cultivate an attitude of gratitude by taking time out every day to focus on the positive. Whenever you experience negative or negative thoughts, use this as a cue to change gears and think about something positive. With time, a positive attitude will get a method of life.