Negative thinking doesn’t deserve to have power over your life.
Do you have a positive outlook on life most of the time?
When it comes to positivity, there are plenty of challenges. Turning on the news or scrolling through social media will give you enough negative content to make it look like nobody has a positive mindset anymore. But guess what?
You don’t have to subscribe to that way of thinking!
When you have a positive attitude, your world truly becomes a different place. The volume of the negativity around you starts to grow faint, and you aren’t bothered by the petty things that can cause worry and anxiety. In fact, a positive mindset can completely rewire how our bodies and brains interact with each other.
If you want to learn about how you can block out the negativity around you and rewire your anxious brain, then come along! This article has plenty of tips and hacks for keeping a positive mental attitude.
What Does Science Say About the Effects of Positive Thinking?
Overcoming the different stressors and difficulties in life can be a challenge, and we could all use a bit of a boost, right? Well, scientific studies on positive thinking show that the right mindset can be the catalyst we need to overcome the negative influences in our lives. It just takes some time and effort to get there.
Neuroscientist and professor Dr. Andrew Huberman specializes in how our brains react to different triggers and has performed groundbreaking studies on brain development, neuroplasticity, and repair. And according to Dr. Huberman, positive thinking makes a significant difference in how we live our lives.
Two chemical messengers control our motivation and happiness when it comes to positive thinking — dopamine and serotonin. Our bodies release dopamine when we accomplish our goals and it gives us the rush to keep going so we can achieve even more. In contrast, we gain a feeling of calm, relaxation, and comfort when our bodies release serotonin.
Our bodies don’t always regulate dopamine and serotonin in the way we want, and sometimes we can chase too much of one or the other in hopes of improving our mood. However, learning how to find balance in our lives helps us earn a steady flow of both neurochemicals. Maintaining a positive attitude is the key to unlocking that balance!
How to Rewrite Your Brain for Positive Thinking
So how do we find that balance in our life — how can we rewire our anxious brains to unlock the power of positivity and happiness?
Rewiring our brains may seem like one of those “easier said than done” situations, but positive thinking really comes down to our habits. If you build habits that support a healthy attitude, you will start to move the wires in your brain from a state of negativity to positivity. Here are 5 habits you can develop to foster positive thinking and happiness:
Habit 1: Create a Vision and Life-Fulfilling Goals
Without having something positive to work toward, your body doesn’t naturally produce enough dopamine. You need to have a destination in your mind of what you want to achieve. That way, you can give your brain the fuel it needs to think positively about succeeding at those goals. The best part is that your vision doesn’t need to be a life-altering, out-of-this-world goal.
If you have something that really lights you up, start there. One of the great things about humans is that we all have different things that bring us joy. Your zone of excellence could be in business, the arts, sports, etc. It doesn’t matter where your passion lies; what matters is that you tap into that passion as motivation to create your vision.
The better you get at creating a vision and setting achievable goals for yourself, the better you will become at thinking positively. This change occurs because when you achieve your goals, your body rewards you for it. You feel that sensation of dopamine release that drives you to move forward.
Habit 2: Express Gratitude and Engage in Positive Self-Talk
It may seem like something small, but how we speak to ourselves has an immense impact on our attitude. If you never express that you are grateful for the things you have in life and never reaffirm your success, your attitude will suffer. But when you live from a place of gratitude, the way you think will follow suit.
Now, we’re not saying being grateful will keep negative things from happening. Life absolutely stinks sometimes, and refusing to acknowledge those moments isn’t a healthy way to handle them. However, if you can look back on those low points later and go, “Wow! That was terrible, but look at what I learned from the situation,” you can turn yourself into the hero of your story instead of a victim of your surroundings.
Positive self-talk is also something that goes hand-in-hand with living from a place of gratitude. According to the all-star punter and Super Bowl champ Steve Weatherford, self-talk is key to maintaining a positive attitude. When you go into something believing you will achieve it, you can change your life!
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Habit 3: Take Care of Your Physical Health
You are a physical, mental, and spiritual being, and when you don’t take care of one part of yourself, the rest of you will suffer. Maintaining good physical health helps you build a better foundation holistically. When dialing in on your physical health, two excellent areas to focus on are exercise and diet.
Now, we know everyone isn’t about to go tear up the gym or train for a marathon, and that’s okay! However, exercise is necessary to keep your body healthy. You don’t even need to participate in “traditional” workouts. Find a way to get your body moving — it could start small with walks in the park, dancing around the living room, or low-intensity activities like disc golf!
Part two of maintaining physical health is diet. We know it can be a struggle, but having a healthy diet is critical. Eating clean and avoiding food with poor nutritional content can also do more than just make your body healthier. It also fuels your mind and helps you think clearly, which promotes a positive attitude.
Habit 4: Focus on Your Breathing
Let’s do a little experiment. Take in the deepest breath that you’ve taken all day … now let it out completely, and try to make your exhale twice the length of your inhale. How do you feel?
Author and journalist James Nestor believes we all need to breathe better. Much of our breathing is reflexive, and we do it without thinking much about it. That’s why many of us have developed poor breathing habits that negatively affect us. To breathe correctly, you need to inhale and exhale through your nose; it increases oxygen absorption and helps your brain work better.
Practicing controlled breathing exercises can also help you refocus your mind and push away negative thoughts. One effective exercise is the squared breathing method. Count to four while breathing in, hold your breath for the same four-count, then breathe out for the same amount of time. This technique lowers heart rate, increases oxygen levels, and reduces stress levels.
Habit 5: Prioritize Meditation and Sleep
Rest is just as important for your positive attitude as achieving your goals. Earlier in this article, we talked about how you need to balance dopamine and serotonin. Points of rest are vital for the production of serotonin and feelings of happiness. Meditation and sleep are two fantastic ways to promote rest in your daily routine.
Meditation isn’t something that comes naturally. It requires you to slow down, look inside yourself, and find a place of stillness within the whirlwind of life. But when you can master the practice of regular meditation, you get a chance to focus and become more conscious of your attitude. If you are new to meditation, Headspace or Calm are both great apps to help you start and support your journey.
Sleep also has a significant effect on your outlook on the world. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule allows your mind and body to repair themselves, and the proper amount of rest improves your overall mood. As an adult, you should be sleeping for at least 7 hours a day. If you struggle with maintaining sleep, this podcast with Shawn Stevenson has excellent tips on unlocking powerful rest.
Can You Increase Your Positivity and Happiness?
Of course, you can! Shifting your mindset from negative to positive may be challenging, but rewards are absolutely worth it. Science shows that a positive attitude can help you overcome difficult moments, increase your happiness, and build stronger relationships in your life.
To make the change, focus on building better habits that support a positive mental attitude. Remember that your mind, spirit, and body work together when developing new habits. Taking a holistic approach to your health is the best strategy for rewiring your brain for positivity.
Every new habit is a step toward the best version of yourself! Cheers to a more positive outlook on life, and cheers to greatness!