We all know that positive thinking can help improve our attitude and outlook on life, but what about the physical health benefits associated with it? More optimistic people tend to live healthier lives. In fact, studies have shown that optimists have a 50% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and higher cancer survival rates. What’s more, positive thinkers are even shown to have a longer life span! Though consistent optimism can be difficult, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Train your brain to be more optimistic with these easy steps.
1. Challenge Negative Thoughts Often, without even noticing, negative thoughts tend to crop up as we worry about the future, stress over a past event, or concentrate on a certain personality trait or physical characteristic we possess. To become more optimistic, train your brain to challenge and rebuke these negative thoughts. Consider how you would respond if you heard a friend or family member voicing similarly negative thoughts about themselves, and apply that positive response to yourself. As you do this more often, over time, your brain will learn to quickly shoot down those negative thoughts and replace them with more positive counterparts.
2. Express Gratitude Increasing how and when you choose to practice gratitude can have an incredibly powerful impact on your positivity! In fact, thoughts of gratitude can actually increase your serotonin and generally improve your mood. While it may feel silly or strange at first, mindfully noticing and acknowledging the things in your life that you’re grateful for is a great first step to regularly practicing gratitude and eventually, enhancing your positive outlook on things.
To start, write down or repeat in your head three things that you’re grateful for and reflect on why that is. The next day, choose three more! Soon enough, you’ll be noticing new gratitudes, both small and big, that can help improve your positivity.
3. Focus on the Solution When a tough or stressful situation occurs, it’s a natural response to focus on the problem at hand and all of its negative potential outcomes. However, this thought process can have seriously hurt your optimism, and even ruin your day if you let it! Instead of focusing on the problem, practice focusing on a positive solution. Not only can concentrating on solutions help you resolve a problem more quickly, but it can also make you feel more confident in yourself and improve your chances of success!
4. Picture Your Best Self Have you ever sat down and considered your life plan, sketching out where you want to be five, ten, and twenty years from now? It’s a scary thought, but research shows that when you literally map out your best possible future plans and focus on visualizing them, you can actually boost your optimism. To do this, think very carefully and consider certain details, like where you are, who you’re with, how you spend your time, and what brings you joy. Continue to do so as regularly as possible, and don’t be afraid to dream up new scenarios or get very detailed. Research shows that even 30 seconds of visualization can bring you a jolt of positivity and help develop an optimistic outlook over time!
5. Stop Complaining This tip could be the hardest yet, as complaining can often feel like it’s ingrained in us, and a natural response to tiring or difficult circumstances. While complaining once in a while can help let off steam, doing so often can bring your mood and positivity way down. When you start to notice a stream of complaints running through your head, practice quickly shutting them down and replacing them with more positive thoughts about the situation. It may feel hard or unnatural at first, but working more optimism into your thoughts will help inject a generally optimistic attitude into your daily life as well!
Practicing positivity is, ironically, no laughing matter. Though it can be a difficult process, the results are well worth the work you put in. As you train your brain to incorporate more optimistic thinking, you also increase your odds of living a longer and happier life!
The very name of guilty pleasures already tells us how we should feel about them: guilty. We’re conditioned to believe that a weekend spent binging “The Circle” or “The Bachelor” has some element of shame attached to it, such that when someone asks about our weekends and we have to respond “I spent it binging ‘The Circle’” or “I caught up on ‘The Bachelor’,” we do it with an embarrassed chuckle and a readiness to follow the unfortunate revelation up with something along the lines of, “I know, I know. I’m not sure why I get so into it.”
But despite a long history of attaching shame to hobbies that we often refer to as guilty pleasures, psychologists and wellness experts generally agree that there isn’t — or at least there shouldn’t be — such a thing as a “guilty” pleasure. Why? Because anything harmless that helps us relax, reduce our stress, or feel better in some way is not only nothing to feel guilty about, but something that we should take pride in doing in the interest of better health…
Mental toughness means you’re good at dealing with the demands of life. It means you can perform under pressure. I’ve been researching this topic extensively since the start of this year.
I found a 2019 study that looked into the relationship between different personality traits that determine our mental toughness. The authors studied professional athletes and found five personality traits that were predictive of success in sports.
While these findings are not very solid or applicable to daily life, I found their list of five personality traits highly useful. We can use these traits as a guideline for gaining more mental toughness. In this article, I’ll share my take on the traits that made athletes mentally tough.
If you set an alarm each night before turning out the lights, take note: Waking up feeling refreshed and alert could be as simple as changing the tone on your alarm clock, according to research published in the journal PLOS One.
“Considering that sound has been employed as an awakening stimulus for many decades, and the capacity for modern technology to play custom alarm compositions, it seemed appropriate to investigate this area further,” says Stuart McFarlane, PhD, researcher at RMIT University in Australia…
This page shares Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice and video teachings in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is updated regularly.
Find advice from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Rangjung Neljorma Khadro Namsel Dronme (Khadro-la), plus updates and free online learning opportunities on the page Resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Social isolation can take a serious toll on your mental health. Anxiety, depression, loneliness, and discomfort are all valid feelings during this pretty surreal period of imposed quarantine. But although COVID-19 temporarily stripped us of our will and freedom to brave the outdoors unnecessarily, we can definitely make sure that it doesn’t strip us of our peace of mind (or sanity) when we’re stuck at home. In fact, there are many methods you can use to feel a little less isolated and more joyful during social isolation. By establishing a routine, staying active, and finding ways to feel connected to the world, you’ll regain control over your new life, and progressively find pleasure in being alone…
I heard many familiar stories about substance use and addiction, stories about depression and anxiety. But what I didn’t expect was that behind so many of their stories were threads of loneliness. And people wouldn’t say to me, “I’m lonely,” but they would say things like this: “I feel like I have to shoulder all of these burdens by myself”; “I feel if I disappear tomorrow, no one would even notice.” And I heard this time and time again. It was like a lightbulb went off. And I saw in the research that loneliness was far more common than I had thought, affecting 22% of adults in America. And it was deeply consequential.
It’s a subject he writes about in his new book, Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World...