To quote Abraham Lincoln, ”Most folks are about as happy as they want to be.” In other words, everyone has a choice whether they want to be happy. Our positive and negative thoughts have a tremendous impact on ourselves and how we live our lives.
It is in fact possible to “reset our happiness meter, regain the use of limbs disabled by stroke, train the mind to break cycles of depression, and reverse age-related changes in the brain.” Negative thoughts like “never,” “should,” and “can’t,” complaints, or whining can lower our feelings of self-worth and weaken our physiology.
You can change the way you think to more positive thoughts which in turn will produce chemicals in your body. Let’s have a look at how we can improve our positive thinking.
Your Body And Mind
Eating right is one way to keep your brain healthy. As we age it becomes more important than ever that we eat healthy. Aging is linked to nutritional deficiencies resulting in poor health and a lesser quality of life. You can avoid these deficiencies by focusing attention on your diet and supplements. Vitamin B12 is required for making red blood cells and maintaining healthy brain function. Vitamin B12 which is not produced by your body is bound to proteins in your food. You can read more here on nutrition and aging.
Exercise is a great way to release endorphins in the brain resulting in an improved, positive mood. Starting a walking program is a wonderful way to start exercising. Research also shows that people who practice spirituality live on average seven years longer than those who don’t. Many healthcare providers lack the professional training and have limited time to spend with their patients. Practitioners are also facing pressure to become more ‘efficient’ at the expense of their patients. This leaves us having to seek out others to address our spiritual needs. You can read more here on how to practice spirituality.
Gratitude is really important and sharing your gratitude is even more beneficial. Showing gratitude towards others will make you more optimistic and happy. Sharing gratitude is simply recognizing others for the good work or service they do. Thank your neighborhood barista, or the clerk at your local grocery store. Email a friend thanking them for being there for you or asking your spouse how are they REALLY feeling. Research has found that showing gratitude can do anything from making you more optimistic to warding of coronary artery disease. A gratitude journal is a good place to start, but I’ve found that sharing your gratitude is far more beneficial.
Helping others is another way to thank them. Make a tray of food and donate it to the homeless or your local food bank. Acts like these will make you feel better for helping others.
Reflect On Your Day
Get in the practice at the end of the day to reflect on good things that have happened to you that day. It could be simple things like your delicious morning coffee, the sunrise or sunset. Perhaps you had lunch with a good friend or were paid a compliment. Journaling everyday helps to remember good things that have happened for you. You can choose to journal in the evening just before bedtime. You can read more about journaling here.
Observe Your Thoughts
Observing your thoughts is critical to improving positive thoughts. Negative thoughts drain your energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you let your negative thoughts linger, the stronger they become. Train yourself to be aware of negative thoughts that suddenly creep in. Try and discover why you are having them. Are you feeling anxious about an upcoming event or trip? Did you have a fight with your spouse or friends?
Instead of thinking, “I am not going to enjoy my new living situation,” think, “I will face some challenges in this new living situation, but I will come up with solutions that will I’ll be happy with.” Never make yourself out to be a victim. There is always a way out. You can make changes if needed.
Reading positive quotes is another way to turn negative thoughts into positive. Here are some positive quotes to get you started: