Harnessing The Power Of Positive Thinking
Writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” It turns out that this sentiment about positive thinking is still very useful and relevant advice. Numerous studies have shown that positive thinking boasts some incredible benefits for health and well-being. Harnessing the power of positive thinking is not difficult, but like anything else, it can take some practice. Here are some tips to get started.
Benefits of Positive Thinking
The brain is one of the most powerful organs in the human body. It allows us to think, feel and remember and it also controls and coordinates our actions and reactions. Scientists have discovered that negative thinking not only impacts mood, it can also hinder efforts to lead a longer, healthier life. Some of the benefits of positive thinking include:
- Clearer thinking and better decision-making.
- Reduced depression and anxiety.
- Lessening the inflammatory effects of stress, which can lead to chronic illness and pain.
- Boosting the body’s immune response.
- Improved life satisfaction and outcomes for a variety of conditions such as strokes, brain tumors and even traumatic brain injuries.
- Reduced recovery time from illness or injuries.
- Increased longevity.
Strategies for Developing a More Positive Mindset
As with many things in life, developing a positive mindset often takes a little practice. Fortunately, by making just a few small but intentional changes, it is possible to harness the power of positive thinking and lead a happier, fuller life. Here are some suggestions:
- Maintain a fluid mindset. It can be easy to get discouraged with “hiccups” that occur in life. Instead, try to adopt a “fluid” mindset that is more accepting of continual evaluation and change. Rather than “sweating the small stuff”, learn to move with the ebbs and flows of life instead of fighting against them.
- Surround yourself with the right people. Personal connections can provide fortification during difficult times, generate fun and laughter when needed and also provide a sense of calm. Maintaining strong relationships with positive friends and family can help influence your overall positivity.
- Smile…even if you don’t feel it. Studies have shown that smiling (even a fake or forced smile) actually induces positive physiological responses such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
- Try to turn a negative into a positive. The next time a frustration occurs try to find the “silver lining”. For example, try viewing an unexpectedly long wait for an appointment as extra time to enjoy reading a book.
- Find the humor. Laughing creates endorphins, the “feel good” hormone, and can induce feelings of lightness and positivity. Watch a funny movie, read a humorous book or surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
- Reflect with gratitude. Implementing a daily gratitude practice can lead to a more positive outlook. Try jotting down three things you are grateful for each day. Review all prior entries a couple of times each month. This simple exercise can quickly lead to a “glass is half full” mentality.
- Speak kindly. Resist getting caught up in negative talk – both to yourself and to others. Saying things like, “I am not good at this” or “I always get confused” can quickly spiral into a steady stream of negative thinking. Try to be less critical and more supportive of yourself and others.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Studies show that meditation can help change the brain’s chemistry and help people to be more positive and present in their lives. Just a few minutes of daily guided meditation can alter the way in which you see your own life.
At Daylesford Crossing, a senior living community in Devon, we strive to create a positive and engaging lifestyle, where residents can enjoy favorite activities and discover new passions.
Contact us today to learn more about our supportive care programs, designed for aging well.