Having Good Thoughts Can Do More Than Just Improve Your Mood
First, a bit of not-so-positive news. Has your boss ever praised you multiple times on a project, but suggested one or two areas for improvement?
Obviously, you’ve done a great job, but chances are all your brain can do is focus on the bad news. Called negative predisposition, this innate human response is an evolutionary process that helped keep our ancestors safe in a world rife with threats.
Those who expected the worst were more likely to survive and thus pass on these important pessimistic genes.
Unfortunately, this primitive tendency can hold us back in many aspects, and mindset matters for the health of modern life. What happens in our highly developed brains is that we tend to focus on what we see as a threat when it’s not.
Mindsets Can Increase The Benefits Of Exercise
In one study, Crum and colleagues looked at a group of 84 hotel service workers who stayed awake all day, burning a significant amount of calories. Two-thirds of them think manual labor is just part of the job and they don’t get enough exercise.
Crum divided the group into two and informed one group that the work they were doing was not only good exercise, but also met the Surgeon’s requirements for an active lifestyle.
Over the course of four weeks, this group showed improvements in weight, blood pressure, body mass index, and body fat; while the control group had no change. This small change in mindset actually changed their physiological health.
It Can Have A Good Effect On Our Body’s Stress Response
Although there is a lot of evidence that it can actually benefit our body and mind. So what if we could change our minds about it? Crum tested his theory on a group of overworked employees at a large financial institution.
She shows them a series of short videos that illustrate how the effects of stress can be exacerbating or debilitating. Participants in the “increased stress” group reported significantly higher levels of happiness, optimism, and job performance.
Can Positive Thinking Also Affect Dieting Results?
Crum tested this theory with his milkshake study. The participants all drank a 380-calorie milkshake but were told either a healthy 140-calorie milkshake or a reduced-calorie 620-calorie drink.
They did this on two separate occasions, and on both occasions, indulging in a higher-calorie meal produced a significant drop in ghrelin, a hunger hormone that helps regulate metabolism. metabolism, compared to when they drank the “sensitive” shake. When their brains think they are consuming more calories, their bodies react accordingly.
But it’s not just diet, stress, or exercise that mindset seems to matter. Crum also found similar results in the drug and placebo effects; while other researchers are making progress in the areas of aging, talent, and intelligence.
Three Ways To Flex The Muscles Of Your Positive Thinking
So how can you start training your brain to focus on the bright side of life and start reaping some of those benefits? Like any new habit, it takes time and practice, as you may have heard mindset always matters for health
Create a reserve of positivity when we are in a downward spiral, it can be difficult to recall happy thoughts at the moment. Manly suggests filling an empty glass jar with pleasant mantras, positive words, poems, or memories on small pieces of paper or writing down the things you feel grateful for as they come to you, whether it’s your friends, your musical abilities, or your coffee shop preferences. Replaying and remembering these encouraging messages can activate feel-good neurochemicals in the brain like serotonin, says Manly. Plus, research shows that regularly writing about deeply positive experiences has mindset matters for health benefits.
Meditate for Mindfulness Meditation is really about learning how to stop your mind from bothering you. When negative thoughts start to arise, you will learn to let them go, and the more you do this, the more conscious you will become.
Reframe your thinking if you find yourself stuck with a negative thought stream, try a helpful technique used in cognitive behavioral therapy. Write down the thoughts you have, then start questioning each thought to determine its actual value.
Is thinking a fact or rather an opinion? How likely is this actually happening? How will you feel in a week? Or a month? What would you say to a close friend if they felt that way?
Then, come up with an alternative statement to reposition your thoughts in a more positive direction.
For example, instead of thinking you’re a failure for making a mistake, reframe it as if you’ve learned a good lesson that helped you grow and become better, smarter, or stronger.
The more you practice this technique, the easier it will be to find positivity in your daily life.