GOOD MORNING MONDAY –
AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS FOR A GREAT WEEK
Good Morning – it is Monday once again! How was your weekend? Were you able to experiment with staying off your phone for the first hour on Saturday and Sunday? If so, did it make a difference on where you focused during that time and even for the rest of the day? If you were not able to do this, pick a date and time to try to disconnect from your phone in the morning. If an hour is too long, then do it for whatever length of time works for you. The morning is important for this activity because it will set the stage for the way the rest of your day transpires. Remember – “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” (Anne Dillard).
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t; you’re probably right” (Henry Ford).
Have you ever wondered how you can use your mindset as a platform to transform your life? You do possess the power to control your thoughts, which can substantially impact your outcomes. By employing the power of “positive thinking” you can realize powerful effects.
All of us know that being positive is much more desirable than being negative. But, “positive thinking” can sound like such a “fluffy term” and is easy to dismiss. Each of us have met people who remain positive in the face of life’s challenges and in the back of your mind, you may have thought the person was displaying a “Pollyanna, life is still beautiful” attitude that seemed unrealistic.
To dispel those thoughts, let’s look at the science. Positive thinking really does change your brain; not in some “mystical”, “magical” way, but in a real physical way. The science is called neuroplasticity; which in “lay terms” means that our thoughts can change the structure and function of our brain. Scientists have proven that your brain is endlessly adaptable and dynamic. Neurons that fire together, stay together. You can use your mind; to change your brain; to change your mind 😊. Positive thoughts can create real value in your life and can help you build skills that will last a lifetime.
What do negative thoughts do to your brain? Researchers know that negative emotions program your brain to do a specific action. If you experience a negative situation or what you perceive to be a “threat”; you are focused on that specific situation, almost like “tunnel vision”. The rest of the world around you does not matter; you can only focus on how to “get away” from that specific situation. Negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts; so much so that you might not see other options and choices you have around you. You can almost become paralyzed. Negativity limits, constrains and tears down.
What do positive thoughts do to your brain? When you are experiencing positive emotions (like joy, contentment, love, etc.) you will see more possibilities in a situation and in your life. Researchers have found that the benefits of positive emotions don’t stop after the good feelings subside. They found that the biggest benefit positive emotions provide is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.Dr. Barbara Fredrickson (positive psychologist) refers to this as the “broaden and build” theory. Her research has shown that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind to allow you to build skills and resources that help in other areas of your life. Positivity builds, repairs and protects. It paves the way for deeper levels of human connection, compassion and creativity.
So, if the research is right (and it is 😊). If positive thinking is so useful for developing valuable skills and appreciate the big picture of life (and it is😊), what are some things you can do to increase your “positive”? Anything that sparks feelings of joy, contentment and love will do the trick. You know things that will work well for you. Determine what that is and put it to practice. Additionally, here are a few things to consider:
Meditation: Try to meditate/focus, to begin with, a few minutes a day and increase that over time. Research reveals that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions than those who do not. People who meditate daily show increased display of mindfulness, purpose in life, social support and decreased illness. So, just close your eyes and BREATHE 😊
Writing: Each day write about a positive experience you’ve had. Spending a couple of minutes each day to recall a positive experience begins to train your brain to “look for the positive”. People who do this show better mood levels and decreased experiences of illness.
Play: Schedule time to play in your life. You schedule meetings, conference calls, and all other responsibilities into your calendar. Why not schedule time to play? When was the last time you carved out time for fun? Give yourself permission to enjoy the benefits of positive emotions. When you schedule time for play and adventure you can experience more joy and contentment in life and build new skills.
Reflect: Daily, take a close look at the interactions and communications you had that day. If more of them were positive than negative – BRAVO! If not, there might be some work to do to ensure you change the ratio. This is important to not only do for you; but also, for those around you.
Words of Affirmation: Practice daily affirmations. Journal strengths about yourself for which you are grateful. Keep your self-talk positive. Turn down the volume on the inner critic. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. Look at the situation you are experiencing with a “half full” vs. a “half empty” mentality.
Your thoughts form your character, how you operate in the world and how far you travel mentally, physically and spiritually. You are what you think you are, and all your actions proceed from your thoughts. Your inner thoughts will always be reflected in your outer circumstances. Self-generated changes in your life are always preceded by changes in the way you think about something.
As the “mantra” from the Broadway show, Kinky Boots goes, “You change the world; when you change your mind”.
Have a GREAT day and a GREAT week.