Now that we’re past January and February – the months where we struggle with resolutions and all those amazing new habits that will “change” our lives – it’s a wise time to step back, embrace the hopeful coming of spring, and identify the most basic way to enhance your life!
With the abundance of research and information available on this topic, it tells me that we aren’t the only ones eager to rewire our brains – on a daily basis – to focus more on positivity. Have you ever heard the acronym A.N.T.S. – as in Automatic Negative Thoughts?
It’s easy to get bogged down with family and work stress, along with the healthy dose of negativity thrust at us in the news and via social media. The good news is with a mindful attitude, and closer attention to your personal thoughts, leaping forward with a positive attitude is easier than you might think.
First, some behaviors to look for:
- Do you tend to go through the day with an “all or nothing” attitude?
- Are you constantly talking yourself down with negative labels such as lazy, boring, or unattractive?
- Is it easier to blame yourself for a certain situation and simply move on?
Looking for ways to identify those automatic negative thoughts is a great place to start, then realize your real power is controlling how you respond to events and situations. Focusing on the power of positive thoughts is a necessary part of your daily routine, and there are easy – even fun! – ways to go about it:
- Keep a daily gratitude journal. Instead of piling on more lists of things to do, pile on written reminders of all the good things in your life! Each night list two or three happy events that occurred during your day.
- Stay centered, whether you choose yoga, meditation, or your favorite form of regular exercise.
- Be very aware of what you eat! Vitamin deficiencies alone can greatly affect your thought processes.
- Find your passion and follow it! Giving back to your community, learning a new hobby, or tapping your artistic side never fails to help you see the good side and promise in any situation.
- Familiarize yourself with the term brain aerobics! Take up chess, crossword puzzles, or anything else that forces you to take 15-30 minutes each day to actually focus and stimulate your brain.
- Visualize concrete long-term goals – even when your current circumstances change. Keep your eyes and mind always looking forward!
- Surround yourself with positive people. A happy frame of mind can definitely be contagious!
Although it sounds simple, “thought stopping” is a long-studied method of helping people reduce – and even eliminate – negative recurring thoughts. Think of it as the easiest form of self-love!
- Literally picture a STOP sign in your head when you feel a wave of negativity sneaking in.
- Acknowledge a negative thought long enough to feel what the real emotion behind it is – then let it go. Be mindful, but not judgmental, of what you feel. For example, you may feel anxious about an upcoming event or trip, but that anxiousness doesn’t necessarily have to be negative.
- Switch out a negative thought for anything that makes you feel positive, confident, and loved! Adopt a favorite mantra or affirmation you can repeat to yourself as needed, picture your favorite beach, or tune in – even if it’s just in your head – to your favorite music or lyrics.