We don’t often think about the impact of positive thinking and our physical well-being. But research has proven that negative thinking can have an adverse impact on our health leading us to become overly stressed by the challenges of life and frequent feelings of being overwhelmed. This negative outlook then makes it even harder for us to bounce back from a setback and move forward.
Positive thinking enables us to take control of our own well-being in this time of constant daily stress. Despite this stress, we are expected to perform at our best and to be productive in all walks of life. While getting stress under control won't solve all our problems, the more we can reduce stress in our lives the more likely we are to find balance and reach our full potential. The following tips provide practical suggestions that you can use to help you reduce stress and shift into more positive thinking patterns:
Take Good Care of Yourself: It's much easier to be positive when you are eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest. If you don’t have one, establish a well-being program that you can manage daily. Start where you are.
Remind Yourself of the Things You Are Grateful For: Stresses and challenges don't seem quite as bad when you are constantly reminding yourself of the things that are right in life. Taking just 60 seconds a day to stop and appreciate the good things will make a huge difference.
Look for the Proof Instead of Making Assumptions: A fear of not being liked or accepted sometimes leads us to assume that we know what others are thinking, but our fears are usually not reality. If you have a fear that a friend or family member's bad mood is due to something you did, or that your co-workers are secretly gossiping about you when you turn your back, speak up and ask them. Don't waste time worrying that you did something wrong unless there is evidence of something to worry about.
Refrain from Using Absolutes : Have you ever told a love one "You're ALWAYS late!" or complained to a friend "You NEVER get it right!"? Thinking and speaking in absolutes like 'always' and 'never' makes the situation seem worse than it is, and programs your brain into believing that some certain people around you are incapable of coming through.
Detach from Negative Thoughts: Your thoughts can't hold any power over you if you don't judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, acknowledge it, and don't follow it. Only you can free your mind from negative thinking. Let it go!
Squash the "ANTs": In his book "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life," Dr. Daniel Amen talks about "ANTs" - Automatic Negative Thoughts. These are the bad thoughts that are usually reactionary, like "Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me," or "The boss wants to see me. It must be bad!" When you notice these thoughts, realize that they are nothing more than ANTs and squash them!
Practice Lovin', Touchin' & Squeezin' (Your Friends and Family): You don't have to be an expert to know the benefits of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick-me-up. One research study on this subject had a waitress touch some of her customers on the arm as she handed them their checks. She received higher tips from these customers than from the ones she didn't touch!
Increase Your Social Activity: By increasing social activity, you decrease loneliness. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will affect you in a positive way! Entertain in your home or become the social butterfly by extending invitations to go out with friends and family.
Volunteer for an Organization, or Help another Person: We all feel good after helping. You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.
Interrupt Patterns of Deep Reflections: If you find yourself constantly reflecting on a problem, a great way to stop it is to interrupt the thought pattern and force yourself to do something completely different. Deep reflection doesn’t always lead to an answer. It can be non-productive, because it's not rational or solution-oriented, it's just excessive worry. Try changing your physical surroundings - go for a walk or sit outside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music.
Practicing techniques to maintain positive thinking enables us to focus on our strengths and accomplishments, which increases happiness and motivation. This, in turn, allows us to spend more time being productive, and less time feeling down and stuck.
Written by Dr. RL Kight for Mind Power Solutions. Visit www.mindpowersolutions.com to learn more about our personal development and training services.