So much of our life experience is shaped by how we view the world. Whether you see the glass as half full or half empty can actually make an impact on your health, your friendships, your family and your career. Numerous studies have shown that positive thinkers are physically and psychologically healthier than pessimists. And in a study of salespeople, those with a positive attitude and outlook sold 37% more than the pessimists.
Here are a few ways to help you turn a negative into a positive.
- Separate fact from fiction.
What we think of as an “objective” perception of events in our lives is actually just our subjective perception—and that perception is profoundly shaped by our mood and worldview. When you are feeling negative, take a step back and look for external validation for a truly objectively view of the situation. What are the verifiable facts? What are the emotions? Be aware of words like “always” or “never” which can indicate when your brain is escalating a situation with emotion.
- Flip your thoughts.
When you are feeling negative, flip your thought. For example, if you are feeling, “This will not work for me.” Turn it into a question, “How can I make this work for me?” This change in perspective opens up your mind to new ideas and allows you to see things in a very different light.
- Focus on the positive.
Sometimes it seems like there isn’t anything good about a situation. And many times horrible things happen to good people. But when you feel like there isn’t anything good about your day, focus on the things that we often take for granted – a roof over your head, food on your table, that you are alive to see another day.
The act of smiling actually triggers your brain to release endorphins, relieving stress and helping you to have a more positive outlook.
- List what you are grateful for.
I like to list three to five things I’m grateful for every night before I go to bed. It helps me remember how fortunate I am and helps me to remain focused on all the wonderful things, people and situations that I have in my life—which keeps my mind from going to thoughts of loss or want.
- Take a breather and reset.
When a negative situation overwhelms you, sometimes the best thing to do is take a step back, take a deep breath and relax. Focusing your attention on your breathing takes your thoughts away from the negative situation and helps to neutralize your perception.
- Channel your frustrations into art.
Many great songs, poems and pieces of art were created out of a time of challenge. Channel your negative thoughts into your art to help dissipate them and move on. You might be surprised and create something beautiful while unlocking your hidden talents.
Remember, life always throws you curveballs. You just need to learn to hit them out of the park! Stay positive and your loved ones and every cell in your body will thank you for it.
Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Click here to learn more about Dr. Murad.