POSITIVE THINKING CAN IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE
Our thoughts and emotions are intertwined. Our thoughts are our mental state. And emotions are feelings we express as a result of what is going on in our minds.
For instance, not too long ago, I had a scheduled grocery-shopping to do with a friend (we needed to check something at a specific time), and a project deadline to meet at the same time. I was halfway through the project but looking at my wristwatch made my heart skip as it was nearing the scheduled time. During the process of deciding which task to leave behind and come back to later, I began to feel jittery and unsettled.
Have you thought about something such that you became afraid and your heart begins to pound so fast, you start to shake all over? It was just a thought but that thought has influenced your body to respond in a particular manner.
If negative thinking and anxiety can affect our bodies this way, what amount of good will positive thinking do to improve our health and help us lead happier lives? In other words, positive thinking is medicine to your body.
A longer lifespan, lower blood pressure, better stress management, and greater resistance to illness such as common cold are some of the physical benefits of positive thinking listed by WebMD a top healthcare website.
Again, they listed the mental benefits of positive thinking as the following: less depression, more creativity, greater problem-solving skills, clear thinking, and better mood and coping skills. Imagine that by mere thinking, you can up your health a notch or two!
So, how can we ensure we take full advantage of this technique to better our lives?
THREE WAYS TO FUEL POSITIVE THINKING
RECOGNIZE YOU HAVE VALUE SO YOU CAN THINK GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF
Positive thinking starts with how you see yourself. You may practice positive-thinking through external sources, but if you don’t think you are worth anything of value, every effort to cultivate a positive-thinking habit may become void at the end of the day. So, you have to start with how you see yourself. Recognize your worth and capacity. You will see how in the next point.
CELEBRATE EVERY LITTLE THING
Last weekend, I attended a class on “I am Remarkable” a Google initiative empowering women and other underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond through the womenncareer platform. The speaker; Oyoenisai Andrew-Essien said that at every point in time, we should acknowledge our achievements and celebrate them.
As the class was nearing its end, she asked that we make a list of the things we have done in our personal and professional lives and tell ourselves that we are remarkable as a result. But that didn’t really sink in until I reflected on the examples she gave of her own personal achievements.
For example, she said her mum had been complaining that she doesn’t keep in touch. She had started to call her mum consistently after the reprimand and for that, she says she is remarkable. That shifted my mindset. And I thought, I don’t have to do something so out of the ordinary before I can recognize that it is an achievement. My eyes began to see the little contributions I have made here and there and that boosted my self-esteem and strengthened my self-confidence.
Whatever little thing that you do that leads to a positive change, make it a priority to always pat yourself on the back. You don’t have to wait until the magnitude of what you have accomplished compares to that of climbing Mount Everest before it can count as an achievement for you.
Recognizing the little things along the way makes you think well about yourself. It also fills you with positive emotions which leads to better health and stress management.
This may sound as an already overused cliché, but it works wonder. I used to be a pessimist. And now, I am quite hopeful when I face difficult situations. So, I know the difference. I am a happier person now. I have also done much with my life compared to when I always saw the glass half empty.
In every bad situation, think of the good sides to it. When you configure your mind this way, you will be fueling positive thinking rather than negative thoughts. Positive-thinking ignites optimism and the steps to turn a bad situation around.
In a Harvard Business Review article titled “The Hard Truth about Innovative Cultures” Gary P. Pisano explained that founders of innovative organizations like Google and Apple have had their shares of failures. And these failure birthed learning experiences for them and that is what distinguishes them as innovative organizations. I will add this: If they hadn’t looked at failure from a positive angle and learnt from them, perhaps, they would have been distraught and their achievements as innovative organizations will be non-existent today.
Your perception is key to thinking positive.
Examine this story for example. There was a dead snake lying across a walking path in a forest. The first man walking along that path saw the snake and stopped in his track, screamed and remained frozen. The second man came by, walked towards the snake, examined it and found it was dead. He took a stick, lifted the snake and threw it inside the bush so as to prevent people from being scared like the first man was. The same snake and path, two different men and responses, influenced by their perception.
So you see, how you perceive a situation influences your thinking and then your action. Cultivate the skill of looking at things differently.
The way we think is how we perceive our world; and how we perceive our world influences the emotions we express.
Enlist the power of positive thinking as part of your personal development goals. This way, you can lead a healthier and happier life.