With the cold weather and lack of light in the winter a lot of people struggle to think positively at this time of year. But what if positive thinking can actually improve your mood and health? Here is the good news, it can! I am going to be exploring how thinking positively can bring benefits to your health and well being. Offering five tips to help you implement it in your everyday life.
What is positive thinking?
Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean every second of the day needs to be full of positivity. We are human after all! Positive thinking is all about optimism, looking for the positives in situations and viewing the world in a state of hope.
Positive thinking helps us look for the best in a situation. Focusing on things in our control, whilst letting go of things out of our control. Doing this can help us improve difficult situations and perhaps help us see them in a new light. It also helps us notice small moments of joy and positivity we may usually miss.
If you are a naturally positive person, the glass half full type of person, this can be quite easy. However, if you have a more negative mindset, your glass being half empty, this can be more of a challenge. But working to see the positive in life can have real benefits to health and wellbeing. So it is definitely a practice to consider.
What are the benefits of positive thinking?
There is research to support that positive people live longer. A study looked at a group of nuns and those who recorded high scores of positivity in their younger years went on to live longer lives. Positive thinking can lower the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular events and can improve the immune system. Research also supports that positive thinking can improve mental health including anxiety and it can make you happier overall. What a great reason to get into the habit of being more positive.
Five tips on how to increase positive thinking
Smiling has been shown to lower stress levels and lower the heart rate in stressful situations. Apparently it works even if it is a fake smile. Researchers suggested next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, try smiling to reduce your stress levels. Although that is easier said than done I’m going to give it a go next time I’m stuck in traffic!
Making time each day to do something which makes you smile or laugh can be really beneficial for your health. Research supports laughter improves mental health, reduces stress hormones and can even help improve the immune system.
If you are feeling stressed then why not watch a funny YouTube video, talk to a friend or family member who makes you smile or watch your favourite comedy film? Simply smile or laugh or even better do it with others.
I recently went away with 3 of my closest friends, who I have known for years. We laughed so much that an overnight trip felt like a holiday. The power of the smile!
2. Start each day with a positive affirmation
Starting the day with something negative happening can set the tone for the rest of the day. Have you ever done something which starts the day off badly only for the rest of the day to follow suit? Often changing our mindset to something positive can prevent this, by simply changing our frame of mind.
Starting the day with a positive affirmation can help create a positive mindset for the day. Try saying something like “today is going to be a good day” or “today whatever I do will be enough” or simply “thank you for today”. To make it a habit you can do it before you brush your teeth or on waking.
It sounds cheesy but why not give it a go and see what happens?
3. Fill your life with positive people
It is said we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Are they positive or negative people? It is an interesting concept but of course whilst we cannot always choose who we spend the most time with, prioritising spending time with the more positive people in our lives can be beneficial, improving and increasing our own positivity.
4. Practice gratitude to enhance positive thinking
Gratitude is an appreciation of something in our life that is valuable and has meaning and by appreciating this it brings about a state of gratefulness and/or thankfulness. Put very simply, gratitude is being aware of the good things in your life.
The practice of gratitude has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve the immune system, improve sleep, improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce depressive symptoms, whilst creating greater wellbeing and life satisfaction.
Practicing gratitude is very simple, the hardest thing is making it in to a routine.
How to practice gratitude
- Before you go to bed briefly think about the day and write 3 positive things that have happened to you on that day.
- The things you are grateful for could be simple things, like eating a nice meal, an interaction with a friend, family member or colleague or the friendly greeting from your pet.
- There is no right or wrong, just focus on 3 positive things, write them down and feel grateful for them, then follow your usual bedtime routine or go straight to sleep.
5. Enjoy the simple things
One of my favourite things is fresh bedding which has been dried on the washing line. It is so simple but I just love getting into a fresh bed which smells of the outdoors. Looking for simple things which bring you joy every day can be a wonderful way to change your mindset to a positive one.
This could be your bed when it is made in the morning, your first cuppa of the day, when there isn’t a frost and you don’t need to scrape the car or your dog wagging their tail. The list is endless but it is the awareness of the simple things that brings joy to life. Actively looking and noting small things which bring you pleasure is a wonderful practice to get into. Enjoying the simple things can be easy to implement and can bring increased positivity in your life. What simple things can you focus on to bring you joy and positivity today?
I do hope this blog has been helpful. Bringing positivity into our lives can have so many health benefits. The main reason to practice positivity for me is to reduce stress levels, which can have an impact on so many areas of life. For the women I work with this can help improve many symptoms of the menopause and women’s health problems they experience.
Do get in touch if you would like to get more information or to book in with me for nutrition and wellbeing consultations or reflexology.
Sending you my very best wishes for a happy Christmas and a happy, healthy and positive New Year!