I want you to reflect back to what you may deem as “a bad day.” I’m sure you can think of several things that went terribly wrong that day. First, you slipped while walking to your car for work. Then when you arrived at work you quickly realized your lunch had been forgotten on the kitchen counter. The stress was just overwhelming because you could not catch a break. Looking back at that day, I want you to think of one positive thing that occurred. Maybe you woke up and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee right before you slipped, or you came home to a new episode of your favorite TV show. The point is, whenever there is bad you can also find some good.
The human brain is naturally wired to give more attention to negative experiences than positive ones. Our behaviors and attitudes tend to be shaped more immensely by bad news, interactions, and situations. This way of thinking may be detrimental to our progress as individuals, mental health, and personal motivation to achieve. Studies have shown that it is more mentally challenging to begin to focus on the positive things. However, fighting against the nature of the brain can have abundant benefits.
Benefits of Positive Thinking include:● Can help build relationships
○ Others enjoy being around you when you appreciate them. When you are focused on negative things you can forget to show gratitude for what you do have.
● Can improve self-esteem
○ Gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than being resentful to others they appreciate their accomplishments.
● Can even help you sleep better
○ Writing down things you are grateful for before bed has been proven to help sleep.
● Can increases your mental strength
○ When you are training your brain to think differently your mental strength can grow. This self awareness has the power to help with resiliency and overcoming previous trauma.
● Can improve physical health
○ Someone who cares for their mental state is more likely to care for their physical well-being.
● Can improve your psychological health
○ When you are focusing on the positives, there is a reduction in toxic emotions such as resentment, jealousy, and frustration. Your brain is now absorbing information that is emotionally empowering.
● Enhances empathy and reduces
○ This mindset increases your chances of showing kindness, even when others may act in a harsh manner.
Listed above are just a few benefits displaying gratitude and changing the way you think. As we all know, being more positive is much easier said than done. Life can be challenging at times and it can be discouraging because you don’t know where to begin. One of the best ways to venture in the right direction is gratitude journaling. Gratitude journaling is setting aside time to make note of things you are grateful for. This forces your brain to think of the positive emotions you may have felt each day. Take only five minutes a day to write down or say out loud what you are thankful for. This mindset shift is not easy, but you can do it!