Many of us may have heard of the importance of positivity but few can really tell why it’s important. Barbara Fredrickson, a university professor in Psychology, discovered how negative emotions affect our minds. In the experiment, participants were asked to tally some objects they listed. Results showed that participants with negative emotions named remarkably fewer than those with positive or neutral emotions. 1
The conclusion is, negative emotions do narrow our mind, forcing us to pick from limited options. This phenomenon is especially observable when we are in life-threatening situation, where we have to take immediate action. When we are trapped with a reduced number of choices as a result of emotions coming into play, we make wrong regretful decisions. So it’s really important to think … how?
Thousands of articles online teach us how to think positive in the most clichéd ways possible. You should cheer up, crack a smile, look on the bright side of life…blah…blah..blah… Don’t worry! The tips you are going to see below are nothing like those. We aim to offer some practical and specific tips for you to start making REAL changes.
Start with your posture: sit up straight! It’s more than etiquette
While one may think cultivation of positivity always requires conscious effort, indeed it doesn’t. Sitting up straight may appear irrelevant to positivity. But a study reveals the association between posture and positive thoughts. The result shows that people are more likely to generate positive thoughts and recall positive memories when they are sitting up straight.2 So, sit up straight right now! Sometimes tiny things in life all contribute to our well-being without us noticing.
Have a teaspoon in your pocket
What else can a teaspoon do other than stirring our refreshing cup of coffee? Well, a Quora user, William Peynsaert, thinks of a brilliant idea to use a teaspoon for our evasion from negativity. 3 All we need is a teaspoon. Nothing more. Well, technically, we also need a pair of pants with pockets. In case we are not wearing any. What we do is to put the teaspoon into either one side of the pocket. Whenever we feel like formulating a negative thought, put the teaspoon into another pocket. Just that simple.
The principle behind is that the action occupies our brains so we don’t have spare resources to bring up any negative thoughts. Usually we are quite impulsive to have negative thoughts and by the time we finished transferring the teaspoon, the urge is long gone and SNAP! We successfully stop a negative thought.
At first we may find ourselves doing it over and over again. But eventually, we will do this less and less. After all, we can choose whatever utensils or stationery or anything that fit us. It’s just a medium. It may sound silly but it does work.
Instead of news, read something uplifting in the morning
It is common to watch morning news reports. For the sake of keeping abreast of the latest news. This is definitely good not to block ourselves off the outside world. But, what news is mostly about? Car crash. Terrorist attack. Natural disaster. All sorts of disheartening incidents. I am not suggesting us not read any news but a trade off. Devote part of your morning on something more uplifting.
Start our daily confidence programming habit. Instead of news update, begin our day by reading a chapter of an empowering book. We can also go for our favorite spiritually boosting and inspirational materials.
Here are some suggestions for books if you are struggling to begin with:
- Tuesday with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Heaven is for Real! A Little Boy’s Astounding Story for His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo
These are some popular good books for you. Of course you can look for your perfect ones.
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