Science of positive thinking revealed.
Welcome to this new article. Today we will discuss about “why you should think positive”. Thinking positive is often considered as keeping your mind optimistic and positive in all situations no matter what happens. Indeed it’s true, but is it practical? NO! Like think you’re surrounded by thugs all around ready to be mugged and looted, how you will think positive, and what good will it brings.
“Think positive, and all your problems will be solved” they said, but no one really answered these two questions “why I should think positive”, “how thinking positive will help me to solve my problems”
Today I am going to address these questions with a guarantee that at the end of article you will be satisfied and self motivated to think that way
Why think positive”
The impact of positive thinking on your work, your health and your life is being studied by people who are of course much smarter than me. One of these people is Barbara Fredrickson.
Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at North Carolina and she published a landmark paper that provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills.
Let’s have a look:
What impact does a negative thought have on your brain?
Imagine as I say, you are in Africa for some research and you are walking through the woods and suddenly encounter a lion. Just in front of you. When this happens your brain register a negative emotion, in this particular case its fear.
Researchers have long known that negative emotions trigger brain to take certain fix set of actions in this case flight. Run for your life. After all you would be able to think positive only if you stay alive. So here the rest of the world doesn’t matter to you. You are focused entirely on lion, the fear it creates and how you can get away from it.
In other words, your brain in the influence of negative thought and emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts only on one option. At that same moment, you might have the option to climb a tree, pick up a stick but brain ignores all of those options because they all seem irrelevant when a lion is standing in front of you staring you like a luxury super meal.
This is a useful instinct, or was a useful instinct when we used to live in caves and hunt for food, but not now, in modern society we don’t have to worry about stumbling across lions in wilderness. The problem is our brains are still programmed to do so.
Like if you get mugged up in the streets or you have a long to-do list or if you feel bad about not working out or eating healthy, all you think is how little will power you have and how weak you are.
In each case your brain shuts off other options after encountering negative thoughts and emotions like fear, stress and anger like it did in the lion’s case.
Now let’s have a look what positive emotions do to your brain. This is where we will resume to Barbara Fredrickson research.
Impact of positive thoughts on your brain:
In this research Fredrickson made 3 groups of consisting of 10 peoples each. 1st group was shown clips full of fearful, scary, sad and heartbreaking things. 2nd group was made to see completely neutral clips and 3rd group was shown clips full of joy, happiness, heartwarming and uplifting things.
Afterward, each participant was asked to imagine themselves in a situation where similar feelings would arise and to write down what they would do. Each participant was handed a piece of paper with 20 blank lines starting with “I would like to…”
Neutral group (group2) wrote around 10 points, group who saw frightful things (group 1) wrote around 7-8 points while to the amazement the happy group ( group 3) wrote 15 responses on an average.
These findings were among the first that suggested positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.
But hold on, there are really interesting impacts of positive thinking yet to come.
How positive thinking builds your skill set.
The biggest benefit positive emotions provide is enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life
A child, who plays outside, swinging on branches and playing with friends, develops more than a loner of same age. He develops the ability to move athletically (physical skills), the ability to play and communicate with others (social skills) and to explore the world (creative skills). In this way that happy thoughts pushed kid to develop attributes which are useful and valuable in everyday life.
These skills last much longer than the emotions that jump started it. Years later, that kid might get a college scholarship as an athlete or might get job as a business manager because of his social and communication skills.
Fredrickson refers this as’ the “broaden and build theory” because positive emotions open your mind to different possibilities which in turn allows you to build new and valuable skills
Negative emotions do the opposite. Why? Because, it’s irrelevant to think about the big picture when you are registering a constant threat.
All this raises the most important question?
How to be positive and how to incorporate “broaden and build theory” in daily life?
How to be and think positive?
Well anything that makes your heart happy, brain happy and encourage positive thinking will do the trick. Maybe it’s a sport; maybe it’s playing piano or guitar or maybe spending time with a certain person. It can be anything.
Here are some other ideas that you might consider
- Mediation: meditation is a scientifically proven way to increase your minds productivity. All you have to do is sit back and let your brain relax. That’s it.
- Writing: Some people like me feel happy by writing articles, stories or poems. This is also a practical and convincing way of relaxing and staying positive.
- Playing games or pursuing a sport: playing games not only boost your physical health but increases your mind productivity to a great extent. Its scientifically proven so take time and go for it.
Period of positive emotions are when you see the possibilities for how your past experiences fit into your future life, when you begin to develop skills that blossom into useful talents later on.
In a nut shell:
be happy, relax and be easy on yourself and be optimistic. Your brain will do the rest.
PS: Thanks Huffingtonposts.com for sharing research data with us.