Staying positive in life is the desire of many and undoubtedly makes living a far more enjoyable and meaningful experience. It is often said that what we focus on grows, and using this advice it is possible to overcome outside influences on our perceptions and positivity and decide for ourselves to consciously act in our own favour.
Although life does indeed throw curve balls at times and challenges us in a multitude of ways, we are ultimately responsible and in charge of our own behaviour when we become conscious of it and stop allowing situations and circumstances dictate our internal well-being and positivity.
There are several lifestyle choices and habits that people can choose to explore and utilise in order to boost their own positive mindset.
Optimism, defined as a hopefulness or confidence about the future and a great foundation to a positive mindset, may do much more for an individual than only boost their mood and aspirations.
Research has actually shown that there is a correlation between the trait of optimism and life expectancy and the rate of disease. Optimism has been associated with a healthier life, with optimists exercising more, handling stress better and self-confidence.
With this in mind, let's explore certain strategies and methods that might allow more optimism in our lives and therefore an increased tendency towards a positive mindset.
Meditation is available in many different types and forms from the esoteric to the science-based, offering forms to many different types of people and their personal preferences. Regardless of the form, meditation has been rather well studied and has produced some impressive results.
Research has shown that meditating for one hour each day over the course of eight weeks, for only six out of seven days each week, causes an increase in happiness in test subjects. Furthermore a type of meditation known as “loving kindness” has been shown to increases experiences of positive emotion and purpose in life when performed for 15-20 minutes a day, five times per week.
Every single one of us has told lies during our lifetime, whether only small lies to avoid difficulty or larger ones that have put our mental health and relationships at risk. Regardless of the so-called size of a lie, the bottom line is that they are all distortions of the truth and therefore reality itself.
Lying can build up over time and can indeed cause more harm to the person being dishonest than had they just told the truth in the first place. However, no matter how long a lie has played out for, there is always the option of removing the weight from one's shoulders and purging the stress caused by it.
This can be a painful and scary experience, but once the truth is out a person can start anew, dedicating themselves to always telling the truth and feeling the vast moral benefits of doing so, all the while repairing relationships and building stronger ones.
In fact, research has shown that people who stopped telling lies over a ten week period saw improvements in both mental and physical health. They also saw improvements in personal relationships.
As human beings, our bodies evolved to move in certain ways and they require enough movements and the right types of movement in order to stay efficient and combat atrophy and dysfunction.
Exercise can also have a significant effect on positivity and happiness. For example, going outside into nature, breathing fresh air and running through a forest trail is bound to shift a person into a preferable state of mind. In fact, research from the University of Vermont found that only 20 minutes of exercise can boost mood for up to 12 hours.
Exercise also triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that are associated with increased mood called endorphins. These chemicals are involved in reward pathways in the brain and can induce positive feelings due to their structural similarity with the drug morphine.
A large reason to start to feel negative is failure. Failure to achieve a long-term goal, failure to maintain a relationship, or even short term failures such as losing a sporting event or game. Whatever the cause is, it is really how we choose to perceive failure that dictates how it effects our positive outlook.
For example, looking at failure as the last attempt to achieve a goal or as a limit to our personal potential will no doubt cause feelings of negativity. One the other hand, it is possible to recognise failure not only as a temporary state but as a good thing. Failure is needed in order to succeed.
How can we know what we are doing wrong if we don’t fail? Failure can point us in the right direction and force us to learn from our mistakes and become better and more developed people for doing so.
Many of us spend a lot of time chasing a goal or a destination or even an object. Although pushing ourselves to achieve goals is an excellent way to grow as people, it is always worthwhile to take a pause and look at the amazing things that already exist in our lives and really take a moment to recognise and appreciate them.
Having a roof over our heads, food to eat and running tap water seem like such basic resources, but can you imagine life without them? Take time to appreciate your friends, family and all the good things that already exist in your life, and then go out there and smash your goals in a positive mind set.
Make an effort to get to know and surround yourself with people who share your passions and are also driven, motivated and happy themselves. It is said that the people we surround ourselves with can greatly impact our own behaviour, so choose wisely.
Focus on feeding your body the food that it needs and evolved to eat. Fueling the body with nutritious food filled with the nutrients required to performed optimally will boost mood, positivity and self-respect.
Very often when failing or messing up, it is shocking when we realise the way we actually talk to and treat ourselves. Try to maintain a positive internal dialogue and motivate yourself before anyone else does.