Would you consider yourself a positive person? Would the people around you say that you were happy? The pressures of the holidays can magnify negative feelings or self-doubting thoughts. The good news … they don’t have to take root. Cultivating a positive perspective is quite possible.
I heard an interesting presentation recently by a neuroscientist who shared that our feelings generally last only 90 seconds. When we dwell on and rehearse a feeling, it can become a mood. It was a concept that caught my attention and resonated. It’s not wrong to have negative feelings, but it’s much better not to dwell on them.
That can be a challenge since humans often lean toward the negative perspective first. Have you noticed that lately? Do you find it easier to slip into negative thoughts?
So how can you shift back to the positive? Here are some suggestions:
3 Positives Each Day
As part of closing out each day, make a list of three positive things that happened and consider what prompted them. Dial in and think smaller – a positive comment by a friend or coworker, pleasant weather, even a beautiful flower. The big wins are great, but celebrating small wins kindles joy and fuels motivation. Make it a daily practice to shift toward the positive.
Give A Daily “Shout Out”
As you list your positives each day, note the people involved and give one of them a shout-out. When you tell someone what it means to you, there is a double benefit. You put a smile on their face and boost your own vibration in a positive direction. These are good vibrations – pretty good return for a brief action!
Do Something Nice
What could you do for someone you know (or don’t know”) and not get caught? You might leave some snacks on your front porch for delivery drivers. You could anonymously pay the restaurant bill for someone at a nearby table. Put a treat in the drive-up drawer at the bank. Give up your seat on the bus or subway. Random acts of kindness are one of the quickest ways to move yourself into a happier place. And it can be fun! Find more ideas at Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
Mind Your Mind
Regularly practicing mindfulness meditation has been shown to beneficially affect the brain’s plasticity. Meditation increases gray matter in the area of the brain that manages learning, memory, and emotion. Interestingly, it also decreases gray matter in the amygdala, which is associated with stress and anxiety.
Choose One Or Two Ideas
Want to start your new year on an upswing? Choose one or two of these tips and take action. I would love to hear what you do and what you notice about its effect on you and those around you.
If you feel you already maintain a steadily positive perspective, I would love to hear what tips you would share. It’s my experience that those who enjoy a positive outlook have learned to cultivate it in their lives. That’s something to exemplify and teach others to shift our communities in a positive direction.