Beautiful things happen when you choose to focus on the positive.
Below are several reasons should always think positively.
A lot has been written about positive psychology, the power of positive thinking, and neural plasticity.
There is a lot of great advice available on what sort of exercises can help you feel more optimistic and stay positive, even on social media – that land of compare and despair.
What pops into my head when I hear the question, “How does your life change when you focus on the positive regardless of the situation?”
Well, when you focus on the positive, you will:
- become less reactive
- be better able to empathize with others
- have lower stress and pain and be less likely to get sick
An ancient proverb about focusing on the positive
I learned an ancient Chinese proverb when I studied abroad in Taiwan as a junior in college: “The old man lost his horse….”
In Chinese, you can get away with just starting the proverb.
As everyone knows the story, you don’t even need to finish the line, but it ends “… and who can tell whether that is a blessing or a curse?”
(The beauty of classical Chinese is that the entire proverb fits into eight syllables!)
If you read the backstory of the proverb, you’ll learn that no matter what happens, the old man calmly takes the stance, “Meh, who knows whether this happened for good or ill?”
However, the villagers rapidly swing from unbounded joy to bottomless sadness to deep dismay and anger.
In recent years, scientists have studied the more far-reaching effects of being positive.
It turns out that it influences our brains and emotions, bodies, skills, and longevity.
A great (and somewhat dense) example is Barbara L. Fredrickson et al., “Open Hearts Build Lives,” for which a simplified explanation appears in James Clear’s “The Science of Positive Thinking.”
As an integrative nutrition health coach, I have seen the far-from “fluffy” power when we focus on the positive – both in my own and my clients’ lives:
What happens when you focus on the positive side of life
Stress levels plummet, and physical health improves
Chronic stress is one of the most negative forces in our contemporary high-octane lives.
And its effects on our bodies, minds, and spirits are getting a lot of attention these days.
As stress levels drop, sleep improves, positive changes in immune system function are noticeable, and health markers such as weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and lipid levels can decrease.
When you focus on the positive, you remove the instinct to react off the cuff and make room for more considered responses that consider the other’s situation, emotions, and motivations.
In an interesting twist, it can feel that not taking things personally improves intimacy.
Realizing that a lover, child, parent, or friend is coming from his or her own “stuff” allows us to be less judgmental and more sympathetic.
It also makes us more aware of when we are acting or speaking from our own “stuff” rather than from the situation we find ourselves in at the moment.
Emotional peaks and valleys smooth out
Emotions hover above the “neutral” line.
Far from being on a Pollyanna-ish constant high, there is a steadier feeling of emotional well-being encompassing narrower high/low variations that are more manageable.
An ability to bend rather than break develops when you choose to focus on the positive.
It sparked creativity
When the fight-flight-freeze state engendered by negativity is removed, we suddenly re/discover our creative powers and re/turn to projects we never dreamed we would have time for.
I like to say that positive thinking makes space for us to discover and claim our superpower—and interestingly, that superpower often benefits others as much as (if not more than) the self.
Eckhart Tolle would say that we become one who is cleaning up the mess rather than being one who is causing the pollution.
When you decide to focus on the positive, it has the effect of simultaneously living in the now and viewing past and future as much more neutral, manageable phenomena.
Have you chosen to focus on the positive?
There are a lot of positive results from a practice that is 100 percent FREE!
A little positive thinking goes a long way, and a lot will have people saying, “I’ll have what s/he’s having!” –
Tell us about a time when focusing on the positive worked out for you in the comment section below.
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