“If you think you can or you think you can’t you are right both ways.”
While that might not be verbatim, the sentiment stands. If you think you can, you CAN! If you think you can’t, you are right as well. So why not focus on the CAN and the positive?
This is definitely the way that I choose to view life and the challenges and opportunities that present themselves. I’m here to offer you some insights into using the power of your own mind to live your best life.
To start, I listened to two different podcasts that both drive home the same point. The brain is super powerful, but it is within your control to use it for good.
The first podcast that I listened to is "Deliciously Ella: Why do we see the bad more often than the good?" In listening to this podcast, I learned that we are inherently
programmed to focus on the negativity bias. For example, think about the last time you worked on a project, maybe at work, maybe at home, and a handful of colleagues praise all of your effort and the outcome and tell you ‘great job!’ But one person mentions they would have done it differently. This is a very basic example but overall, we will tend to focus only on that one person’s negative comments instead of all of the great comments and feedback. We are hard wired to do to that!
The universal tendency is to focus on bad events and they affect us more strongly than good ones. Have you ever paid attention to the news cycle? For example over the past 20 months the primary screen on CNN at ALL times lists how many Covid cases in addition to how many Covid deaths so that every time you want a quick hit of the news, you get a reminder of the negative/scary and then a shot or cortisol, a stress hormone. This constant stream of negativity affects the brain and its search for something good. I think this is one of the reasons I structure my communication in a more positive way. This is how I choose to see the world. Remember, what is happening in the world is going to happen no matter what, the only thing YOU can control is how you respond to it. That response is going to come from your own mind and what drives and motivates it.
The good news that I gained additional insight from Podcast #2 the Model Health Show: The Surprising Science of Anxiety & Making Good Anxiety Work for You - With Dr. Wendy Suzuki.
The brain is malleable. What does that mean? It means that just like you can exercise your body, you can strengthen your brain and the neuro connecations that drive a more positive outlook.
Some of the popular tools to train the brain towards positivity include:
1) A gratitude practice
Let's dig into these three popular tools.
1) Why does a Gratitude Practice work? How does it work?
A gratitude practice is as simple as listing three things you are grateful for everyday. It might be people, experiences or things. But people who create a daily gratitude practice notice that they feel more positive emotions, sleep better, feel more empathy for people around them AND even have a stronger immune system. Creating his habit helps program your brain because at the time of day you participate, your brain can ONLY focus on the good things in your life. Maybe you do this practice first thing in the morning to start your day off right or last think before you got to bed to settle your mind of the days worth of anxiety. It is worth trying.
2) Why does Mindfulness work? How does it work?
Mindfulness is being hyper aware of your surroundings. It is walking on the beach and smelling the salty air, feeling the sand between your toes, hearing the ocean waves. Or hiking with your family and appreciating the conversation, no phone, no screen, just talking and listening. Im using mindfulness as its own category, separate from meditation, because it is a general awareness that you can bring to any activity you do.
3) Why does Meditation work? How does it work? Well for this one, you can refer back to my post from two weeks ago where I talked about Why I meditate and how to get started!
You all ended up here because you want to feel like the best version of you. Strengthening your body is step #1, strengthening your mind is step #2.