I felt compelled to write this post as this week I returned to work properly, rather than working from home, My 11-year-old son has gone back to school and my youngest back to her childminder. Naturally, I’m feeling a little anxious. However, I thought I would share some strategies I’ve been using to continually achieve a positive mindset and why it is important. I hope readers may find these useful.
I thought I would start with explaining the amazing benefits of a positive mind.
Beneficial effects of positive thinking
You may have heard people say when bad stuff happens ”everything happens for a reason” or “take a look on the bright side” these people are likely to be positive thinkers, or optimists. Studies have shown that positive thinking can have great benefits on psychological and physiological health. Optimists are more likely to be resilient and able to deal with stressful situations more effectively than a negative thinker, also known as a pessimist. Rather than dwelling on the situation as a pessimist might, an optimist will look at effective ways to move past a negative situation or make it better using past experiences.
Research supports benefits of positive mindsets
Incredibly, research by Segerstrom and Sephton 1Association for Psychological Science. “Optimism boosts the immune system.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2010 has also found that having a positive mindset makes a difference to immune response. The study showed that students with a positive mindset had a stronger immune response to a flu jab than the less positive students.
Thinking positively can also impact your motivation. An optimist is more likely to have increased motivation compared to a pessimist. Having good motivation will make you more successful in achieving your goals.
There are many reasons as to how a positive mindset can be beneficial to our lives. Below I have shared some of the strategies I use when I’m feeling less positive and stressed. You can see I have my bad moments now and again from my post It’s ok to not be ok
- Having a good cry – Ok this might seem a little counterproductive but it really helps me! If you feel like crying, cry! Sometimes you need a big old ugly mascara waterfall sob. Research has found that crying emotional tears release oxytocin and endorphins. These chemicals are responsible for relieving pain and making you feel good. There are many other benefits of crying such as better vision, releasing toxins and improving sleep. Just a note to say that wearing mascara for crying isn’t compulsory! MEN – it is important you cry too, mascara or not!
- Practising mindfulness – Mindfulness is the state of being aware of the present moment in time. I find that when I crochet I can achieve a good state of mindfulness. The repetitive movement of my hands and concentration on the stitches diverts my mind away from the hustle and bustle of stressful thoughts. Practising mindfulness can relieve stress and increase focus. Try this out – light a candle in a room away from any interruptions. Sit comfortably and focus on the tip of the flame. Focus on what it looks like and the way it flickers. As soon as any negative feelings or thoughts pop into your head push them away and keep focusing on the flame. The more you practise this exercise the easier it will become. Hopefully, you will notice increased focus or find it useful a way to ground yourself when stressed out.
- Harness the power of music. Have you ever felt happier while listening to music? If so, you have experienced the way music can influence the way you feel. I use music a lot for my mental wellbeing. Music therapy has been proven to be effective in making people feel happier. Music therapy has also been proven to help with managing depression. My top tip would be to listen to music that reminds you of happy memories. For me that is listening to the likes of Professor Green, Eminem, Foo fighters, George Ezra…hang on, the list could go on! The point is for me various genres can take me to my happy place and have a dramatic effect on improving my state of mind.
- Get some exercise. Exercising is beneficial to mental and physical health. It releases happy hormones or properly known as endorphins. These are powerful chemicals in your brain that result in you feeling energised and feeling good after exercise. A study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that depression could be lowered by 26% just by running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour. I know I never regret getting some exercise.
- Think positively- Try to find a positive side when you are faced with a difficult or negative problem. The saying ”Every cloud as a silver lining” is often so true. For example, my husband recently lost some work. He is a very successful self employed gardener – and a pessimist 😂 I suggested instead of thinking about the money he is missing out on think about the fact he had one less job to squeeze in and perhaps a bit of extra time with the family! Well not even a week had passed and has another job to fill it!
So there you have it. I really how that some of these strategies can help others out.
If you try any of these strategies out let me know in the comments how you got on. Is there any other strategies to achieve a positive mindset that you can suggest? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.x