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Make A Powerful Impact On Your Health, Career, Relationships, And More Through Positivity
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Make A Powerful Impact On Your Health, Career, Relationships, And More Through Positivity

Could a negative view of life/circumstances hold you back regarding success in your career?

Can a negative mindset adversely affect your health? 

How significant is positivity? Does it truly hold power? 

Can something as simple as a positive or optimistic outlook have the power to change your life, even the lives of those around you? 

What about your health? Can positive thinking impact your physical or mental well-being as well? 

The short answer to each and every one of those questions…yes! 

Upon entering a new year, many practice a bit of self-reflection, evaluating their life in regards to their health, career, relationships, and more. And, possibly one of the greatest impacts you can make in each of these areas lies in your outlook, even your thought processes, regarding what happens each and every day.  

A mindset of positivity looks for the best in each day, circumstance, and person. 

Positivity shows kindness to both yourself and others. 

And, such a positive outlook or mindset can truly change your life! 

Here we’d like to take a look at all of the ways positivity can make these powerful impacts. 

How Does Positivity Affect Your Life?

Positivity, or positive thinking is the practice of focusing on the good in any situation. It involves an optimistic attitude and outlook in life as a whole: internally, in how you think and talk, and externally, in how you deal with people and circumstances. 

When weighing a negative mindset against a positive one, you’ll find you can either harm, or help, your health, your relationships, your job, family, and more. 

Here we’ll look at the 5 main areas affected by positivity: your brain, relationships, stress levels, whole body health, and overall success. 

1- Positivity Affects Your Brain

Did you know that every thought you have produces a chemical in your brain? And, the type of thought dictates which type of chemical is produced. 

Positive, happy thoughts produce serotonin and cause a decrease in the production of cortisol.

Serotonin is often called the feel-good hormone, contrasted with cortisol, which is commonly dubbed the stress hormone. 

When you practice positive thinking, your brain produces less stress hormones, and instead releases dopamine and serotonin, creating feelings of well-being, happiness, and calm. 

Overall, this can lead to fewer anxious thoughts while allowing you to feel more emotionally stable, even increasing your mental focus.  

2- Positivity Affects Others

Your attitude and mindset directly affects those around you, both in a positive and negative way. 

I’m sure you’ve experienced both of these, but let’s focus on the positive. 

When you have a positive mindset, it spreads. 

Those people who spend time with you, be it family, friends, or colleagues, are affected by your mindset. 

When you practice positive thinking, regularly pondering thoughts of happiness, health, and success, studies show those near you will appreciate you and possibly gravitate towards you, enjoying the positive spirit you are spreading. 

3- Positivity Affects Stress Levels

Researchers have hypothesized that folks who are more positive can better manage stress, and they are less likely to incur inflammatory damage from stress. 

We just discussed how positive thinking can affect those around you, but the type of positivity that most affects your stress levels is self-focused. 

Your internal dialogue can help or harm your body’s ability to handle stress. 

Practicing compassion and kindness towards yourself through your thought processes as well as positive self-talk can improve your confidence and feelings of self-worth. 

Self-focused positivity allows you to better handle stress, it can lead to greater levels of happiness, relaxation, and calmness, it improves your mood (and leads to fewer mood swings), it produces within you an unwavering and positive attitude, and helps you to effectively cope with whatever comes your way in life.

4- Positivity Affects Whole Body Health

Positive thinking, or a positive outlook on life, doesn’t just improve stress levels and brain functioning when it comes to your physical health. There are, in fact, a wealth of benefits to be reaped through positive thinking: 

  • Researchers have found those with a positive outlook (compared to those with a negative mindset) were one-third less likely to have a heart attack (within 5-25 years). This finding even held true for those with a family history of risk factors for coronary artery disease. 
  • As stress levels decrease with positivity, this optimistic mindset is also associated with a lowered risk of depression. 
  • A study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science detailed the benefits of positivity in older adults, including links to reductions in blood pressure, and fewer chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke. 
  • Positive thinking has also been linked to effective pain management as well as increases in energy levels. 
  • Even an overall increase in lifespan has been attributed to positive thinking (an optimistic outlook). 

5- Positivity Affects Success

Remember those brain benefits we discussed earlier, these improvements can go a long way when it comes to your success. 

Success in any area requires great problem solving skills, an ability to appropriately deal with challenges, a healthy way to adapt to change, and it requires confidence. 

And, all of these are reaped through a positive outlook. 

People who think positively also tend to have higher energy levels. 

Such individuals are hopeful, resilient, and self-confident. 

These characteristics allow such people to set goals and confidently put in the effort required to push through obstacles and reach these goals, furthering their success in life, family, relationships, careers, and more. 

Out With The Negative, In With The Positive

We briefly saw some ways positive thinking can affect your brain in the section above, but here we’d like to take a closer look at this from both angles, evaluating negative and positive thinking. 

Negative thoughts slow down coordination in your brain, which can make it difficult to effectively think through situations. 

So, when thinking negatively, you may find it challenging to fully process your thoughts. 

This is largely due to a decrease in activity in the cerebellum, an area of the brain greatly affected by negativity. 

Your left temporal lobe is also affected by negative thoughts, which can lead to poor mood, a lack of impulse control, and impaired memory. 

On the other hand, positivity, or positive thinking actually improves the processes that happen within your brain. 

Your brain functions through coordination, making synapses, the areas that connect neurons, highly important. And, these synapses greatly increase when you think positively. 

Your ability to think clearly, pay attention, remember, focus, analyze, create, and solve problems all improve when you think positively. 

The trouble here? 

Sometimes negative thoughts are easy to identify, but other times, we don’t even realize we’ve sunk into the trap of a negative mindset until we’re reaping negative results. 

So, in order to cultivate positivity and harness its powerful benefits to our health, our brains, and our lives, first we need to be able to identify negative thinking. 

Negative thinking, or negative self-talk, often includes the following:  

Polarization - Negativity often involves viewing things as only good or bad, with no wiggle room. 

Magnification - Negative thinking can focus on a minor problem so intensely that it becomes a major problem. 

Filtering - Similar to magnification, negative thinking not only focuses on a small issue, making it become a big issue, it also filters out the positive elements of a situation entirely. In other words, negative thinking filters out the good parts, only focusing on the bad. 

Perfectionistic - Many of us have grown up being taught or told that practice makes perfect, but when perfection is the only goal, the only view, this can become negative. If true perfection is your only goal, this can lead to setting impossible standards, ultimately setting yourself up for failure. 

Blaming - Negative thinking blames others for actions or situations that happen, failing to accept responsibility for personal thoughts and actions. 

Personalization - When you take things personally, either blaming yourself for all the bad that occurs in a day, or assuming anything negative in relationships is because of you, you’re in a negative thinking trap. 

Snowballing - Sometimes referred to as catastrophizing, this form of negativity anticipates the worst in most every situation. This type of negative thinking also looks at a small problem and thinks the rest of the day will be ruined because of that small issue or inconvenience. 

If you find yourself guilty of any of these negative mindsets, thankfully you can turn each of these types of frowns upside down, metaphorically and actually speaking!

10 Ways To Cultivate Positivity In The New Year 

1- Shift Your Focus

Replacing negative thinking with positivity involves a shift of focus. And, in order to effectively change your focus, first you must identify the areas you would like to change. 

Is it family life that brings out negative thoughts and emotions? 

Does your work environment create an atmosphere where you find yourself thinking the worst? 

Look at small aspects of these areas of your life and find a positive way to approach any stressors. 

Then replace, even one at a time, any negative thoughts regarding similar areas in your own life with positive ones. 

2- Self-Evaluation 

Instead of letting your emotions get the best of you as negativity seems to pile up, plan ahead, setting aside times throughout your day where you can mentally check in with yourself, evaluating your circumstances and responses. 

Perhaps you can keep a journal while doing this, scheduling times within your day where you can jot down how you’re feeling, noting positive ways to deal with any negative emotions that may arise. 

This can also go a long way in regards to reducing stress and its negative impact on your health (body and mind). 

Norm Kelly said “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” and when it comes to living a life of positivity, this couldn’t be more true. 

First, focus on improving yourself through evaluation, positive self-talk, and improved thought processes. As you pour positivity within, you’ll then be able to pour the power of positivity into the world around you. 

3- Be Present In Each Moment

Yesterday is in the past, and tomorrow isn’t here yet. Focusing on the past and future can lead to negative thoughts, worry, doubt, and fear. 

Positive thinking involves being present in each moment: focusing on the things/people you are thankful for at that time, focusing on areas where you can succeed within each present situation. 

Being present in each moment also involves reminding yourself to be positive in those moments, seeking out the good, being the good, and focusing on the good.  

4- Be Active (Preferably In Nature)

Being active on a regular basis is linked to feelings of happiness and a general sense of satisfaction in life. Exercise is also proven to improve stress levels and boost mood. 

To harness the power of positivity in your life, seek to incorporate some kind of physical activity daily. Just a 10 minute walk, run, or hike can clear your mind, lift your spirits, and give you a positive outlook. 

And, if you can incorporate physical activity outdoors, you’ll earn an added bonus, as just taking a break and walking outdoors onto the grass or on a nearby sidewalk taking in the sights and breathing in the fresh air can break up negative thoughts and shift your thinking in a positive direction. 

5- Change Your Speech

Both internally and externally, you can shift your focus in a positive direction when you evaluate and change the way you talk. 

Think positively and speak positively with words and phrases such as “I can,” “it’s possible,” and “I am able.” 

6- Limit Exposure To Negative Inputs

Whether it’s online, in person, through what you read, or what you watch, negativity can lurk around every corner. 

Therefore, to reap the powers of positivity in your life, you must avoid negative influences. 

Is social media stressing you out? Take a break, or limit your exposure to people or other sources of negativity on all social media platforms.

Do you take on a negative mindset after watching the news? Nix it, cut it, avoid it. Sure, news can be important, but if it’s negatively affecting your mood and mindset, it’s not worth it. 

Are there certain people who influence you negatively? Seek to surround yourself with positive people, those who uplift, speak positively, act positively, and think positively. 

It is said that we become the average of the 5 people we most surround ourselves with. So, surround yourself with positive people, and seek to be a positive person yourself. 

Aside from people, also seek to read inspirational literature and watch shows with a positive, inspiring message. 

7- Daily Gratitude

Whether early in the morning or late in the evening, set aside time each day to write down the things you’re grateful for. 

Practicing daily gratitude allows you to replace negative thoughts with positive ones as you shift your focus, training your mind to intentionally look for the positive people, things, and experiences that fill your day, recalling each one with a heart and attitude of thankfulness and positivity. 

Positive Affirmation

8- Affirmations

Positive affirmation are statements or declarations you can repeat to yourself, usually daily, as a way to overcome negative thinking and self-talk. 

Through the practice of repeating such positive statements and affirmations, it has been said that your thought processes actually change over time. 

As you get into the habit of speaking positive truths into your own life, you begin to believe them, which leads to positive shifts and changes rippling all throughout your mindset, attitude, life, job, relationships, etc. 

9- Deep Breathing

When you practice deep breathing, something magical occurs: 

  • Your body becomes grounded, centering you and bringing feelings of relaxation and calm
  • A surge of oxygen restores proper brain activity, hormones are effectively released, communicating to your body to reduce stress responses 
  • Your nervous system is trained to appropriately respond to triggers that could otherwise adversely create tension, stress, and negativity
  • Your emotions are regulated, and your outlook begins to change from negative to positive

To incorporate deep breathing, regulate your breath consciously using your diaphragm (as opposed to your chest) to breathe in slowly, hold, then breathe out slowly. 

As you repeat this practice, focus on your breath, be present in the moment, fostering feelings of calm, relaxation, and positivity. 

Give Back

10- Give Back 

Giving and sharing kindness with others, especially those within your local community, can lift your spirits and bring feelings of fulfillment while boosting your mental and emotional health. 

Giving also promotes feelings of happiness and creates positive connections.

When you give to others, you are not only reaping positivity, but you’re sending out positivity into the world which can create a ripple effect, touching many lives for the good. 

You see, positivity isn’t just a personal mindset. 

When sharing positivity through acts of kindness we build others up while changing our own lives in the process. 

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    Medical Disclaimer
    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

    References:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500322/
    https://arizonapain.com/positive-thinking-for-pain-patients/
    https://www.td.org/insights/how-positivity-leads-to-success
    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/if-you-are-happy-and-you-know-it-you-may-live-longer-2019101618020
    https://www.abbott.com/corpnewsroom/healthy-heart/positive-thinking-benefits-heart-health.html
    https://www.tonyrobbins.com/positive-thinking/
    https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/positive-thinking-overview
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking
    https://www.betterup.com/blog/positive-thinking-benefits
    https://purerecoveryca.com/the-importance-of-a-positive-mental-attitude/
    https://meteoreducation.com/how-does-thinking-positive-thoughts-affect-neuroplasticity
    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950#:
    https://www.kindredbravely.com/blogs/bravely/steps-for-positive-new-year
    https://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/student-life/blog/8-tips-starting-new-year-positive-mindset/
    https://www.goalsontrack.com/blog/2017/10/09/10-tips-to-make-positive-thinking-easy/
    https://northmemorial.com/the-power-of-positive-thinking-5-ways-you-can-practice-positivity/
    https://www.berkeleywellbeing.com/think-positive-16-ways-positive-thinking.html
    https://www.goalsontrack.com/blog/2017/10/09/10-tips-to-make-positive-thinking-easy/
    https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/positive_thinking_makes_a_difference
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7369812/
    https://www.wellnessworkdays.com/post/the-power-of-breath#
    https://www.lifehack.org/515761/the-power-positive-affirmations
    https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you
    https://northmemorial.com/the-power-of-positive-thinking-5-ways-you-can-practice-positivity/

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