Positive thoughts boost your mood, spirit, and tend to generate even more positivity and happiness in your life. Just as in reverse, negative thoughts can create a domino effect of destructive energy.
Falling into a spiral of negativity tremendously affects how you live your life. Thankfully, you don’t have to accept the negative thoughts and internal chatter. You can choose to switch to positive perception and reach for better, positive thoughts. It takes practice, but soon enough your mind will gravitate towards more positivity.
In positive psychology there are two main types of wellbeing: Hedonic and Eudaimonic.
Hedonic: refers to a high level of positive emotion and life satisfaction. Simply put, hedonic wellbeing is gained through attaining pleasure and avoiding pain, an example is to win or lose.
Eudaimonic: wellbeing involves feelings of self-acceptance, growth, mastery, life purpose, autonomy and positive relations with others.
Eudaimonic wellbeing is the joy and contentment that comes from the pursuit of meaningful fulfilment.
A person who wins a race for example, experiences hedonic wellbeing, while the glowing feeling of joy a person might experience after a deep meditation session is representative of eudaemonic wellbeing. Both of these types of wellbeing are important components of happiness and positivity as they complement one another to create a balanced life.
Martin Seligman the founder of positive psychology, put together what he calls the Wellbeing Theory, also known as the PERMA model.
P Positive emotions
P Positive relationships
This influential and widely used model helps explain and define wellbeing in great depth:
According to Seligman, PERMA is an acronym for the 5 areas of wellbeing:
P – Positive Emotions: Experiencing positive emotion – enjoying yourself in the moment.
E – Engagement: To be completely absorbed in something you enjoy, you thrive and excel at (I would refer this to getting into your creative flow!)
R – (Positive) Relationships: Humans are social beings, we rely on connection with others to flourish. Having deep, meaningful, supportive relationships with others is vital to our wellbeing.
M – Meaning: Finding meaning in life, dedicating yourself to a something bigger than yourself.
A – Accomplishment / Achievement: We all thrive when we’re succeeding, achieving goals and bettering ourselves, we need drive to accomplish and achieve for authentic wellbeing.
This model gives us a framework for understanding wellbeing and as a foundation for improving our own wellbeing status. If you’re looking to experience more positivity and enhance your own sense of authentic happiness here is what you need to focus on:
We can’t be happy every second of the day, and we shouldn’t expect this either, but we can learn to embrace life with a positive attitude, this will open the door to experience more positive emotions.
According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, another positive psychology researcher states a mindset of positivity is created by being open, curious, kind, appreciative and genuine.
Consider and write down how you can embody these qualities more in your day-to day-life.
It’s suggested that the most powerful influence in determining your mental and emotional state at any time is the power of suggestion. Experts say that fully 95% of what you do, say, think, and feel is determined by environmental and psychological suggestive influences around you.
Example – when someone does or says something to you and it annoys you or distracts you for the rest of the day!
To experience more positivity – you must be able to make up your own mind and free yourself from any influences that cause you to feel negative or unhappy for any reason. You must take full control over your own thinking and over your own suggestive environment, making sure that what you are allowing into your mind is consistent with the things you want and the person you want to be. And you must WORK to keep out all other influences.
External suggestion (your external environment), these are all the activities that go on around you, from the moment you get up in the morning until going to bed in the evening. For example;
watching the news, reading the news, scrolling on instagram, depriving yourself of foods in your fridge, putting on clothes that to hide your body, the drive to work, the radio, the coffee shop, the office, the conversations you have…
Mindset training: Audit your environment
List all the things, places, people that could influence you on a day-to-day basis. Then go back through the list and identify if they influence you in a negative, positive or neutral way, use this insight to take control of your environment and make the changes you need to create more positivity.
Now we can’t always control what happens in life (or to some extent our environment) , you CAN control how you respond to things.
Controlling your emotions could be the key to unlimited positivity, think about it, negative emotions that upset you, make you feel bad are usually unconscious reactions that have been triggered by something we’ve experienced – no one would consciously decide to feel negative, angry or upset. When people are in control of their emotions, they choose to feel happy.
According to Training and Development Expert Brain Tracy; one of the most common expressions of negative emotions has to do with what are called conditioned responses. These are automatic responses that we engage in when somebody pushes one of our hot buttons. A hot button is a habitual negative way of reacting to an experience or to something that someone says. Each person has a series of these buttons.
One of the ways to train your mind is to identify, in advance, the various external factors that cause you to feel negative. Make a list of everything that happens that might cause you to respond negatively (upset, angry, frustrated), then consciously make the decision that, in the future, when one of these issues comes up, you will instead respond calmly, and positively and not allow yourself to become negative. Each time something happens that would normally trigger a negative response from you, consciously decide not to respond or not to react in any way. Smile, take a deep breath and remain calm. The more you practice this, the easier it will become. You will become more positive and optimistic and you’ll feel more in charge of your own life.
Our conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time; positive or negative. If you consciously choose to hold a positive thought in your mind, you simultaneously block out anything that might cause your thinking and feeling to be negative or inconsistent with your true self. Using the power of self-suggestion (where you take complete control of your mindset) whenever you begin to feel tense or uneasy or angry about something, you switch your mind and start thinking about your goals, your mind will switch from negative to positive instantly and you will feel good about yourself again. The thought of a goal, which is positive and future-orientated, is up-lifting.
To help yourself be open to new possibilities (switching thought from negative to positive) – here’s some future orientated questions you can use / journal on:
When something negative or unexpected happens to you, immediately use the moment as an opportunity to demonstrate calmness and self-control. Instead of allowing yourself to feel negative, deliberately force yourself to think of something positive.
Here’s an affirmation that has been very helpful to me, I repeat it every time something goes wrong, it gives me time to calm down and keep perspective of the situation – rather than letting my emotions take over: ‘everything happens for a reason. what’s the learning here?’ This prompts me to breathe and relax and then look within to find out what it is I need to learn – this could be setting a boundary, to listen more, to eat breakfast or get more sleep! This is a simple mind game that enable me to stay relaxed and in control of my emotions – it works, give it a go.
There is a theory called Autosuggestion and this works when you have repeated messages to your subconscious mind so often that they take on a power of their own and they function automatically. Happy, optimistic people have programmed themselves to respond in a happy and optimistic way to almost every situation – you can do the same thing.
Something I read recently summed this up really well:
‘All of life is bound up and determined by your responses. It is not what happens to you, but how you react to what happens to you that counts. It’s not the cards that you are dealt, but the way you play the cards that determines how well you do in the game of life.’
Here are ways you can cultivate more positivity into your day-to-day life:
To do this start by letting go of:
Comparing yourself to others
It’s easy to want what others have, comparing yourself is like discarding everything you’ve got going for you at this moment. Instead of comparison choose admiration, this is a much healthier approach.
Beating yourself up on a daily basis takes its toll on our self-esteem and confidence. When you hear the internal negative chatter, say “cancel cancel” followed by a positive comment or affirmation to teach yourself to be kinder to yourself better.
If you want different results, do something different. Make change small, focus on taking one step at a time. There’s no need to go all-in to create a positive impact in your life.
And making space in your life for:
Doing good for someone else
Focus your energy on lifting up someone else and notice how your energy elevates as well.
Take time to reflect, meditate or simply release your thoughts and emotions onto paper or to a person you trust. Having the space to unload feels like letting go of a heavy weight, it brings a feeling of relief and a new sense of clarity and energy.
Keeping a gratitude journal each day will also bring positivity and energy into your day. Start by listing five thoughts you are grateful for.
Surrounding yourself with like minded, uplifting people
People who are living inline with the same values as you will keep you grounded, inspired and focused on what’s important.
The key to nourishing your mind is to experience more positive emotions throughout your day (especially when times are stressful). How you can implement these exercises into your daily life is up to you. Remember we can’t always control what happens in our life, but we can control how we respond to things. Wellbeing isn’t just about enjoying the good times; it’s also about finding hope and the silver lining during the more challenging times.
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