How do you react to the term positive thinking? Does it motivate you? Or is it just a touchy-feely, fluff-and-stuff phrase to you?
Research reveals positive thinking can add real value to your life. Here's how negative thinking and positive thinking affect your brain differently.
What Negative Thinking Does to Your Brain
Negative thinking narrows your focus. It limits the options your mind's eye can see.
For instance, if your child forgets to do something you asked him to do, negative thinking focuses on how he “always takes things for granted” or how he “never follows through with what he is supposed to do.” Your mind becomes consumed with the problem instead of looking for a solution. This not only increases your stress, it also elevates a small problem to a looming, major issue.
What Positive Thinking Does to Your Brain
Positive thinking, on the other hand, expands your focus. It opens your mind's eye to options all around you.
For instance, if your child forgets to do something you ask him to do, positive thinking allows you to see creative ways to teach responsibility and ownership. It also helps you see the situation as a teachable moment and reminds you that no matter how your son responds, you are giving him the gift of realizing what is expected in life.
How to Develop the Skill of Positive Thinking
BONUS: Here are 5 quick tips for developing more positive thinking.
1. Feed Your Brain with Positive Stuff. Read good books. Listen to positive podcasts. Watch uplifting television. The compound effect of this one tip will shock you.
2. Protect Your Brain from Negative Stuff. Garbage in; garbage out. Enough said.
3. Build Your Gratitude Muscle. If you want to grow in gratitude, you have to exercise your thankfulness muscles. One of the best ways to bulk up your thankfulness muscles is to write 3 things you thankful for in a Gratitude Journal. Try to do this daily. The more you write, the more you will realize how much you truly have.
4. Exercise. Research shows regular exercise makes you happier and smarter (along with 11 other positive benefits).
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