Why we should practice being positive every day
Lao-Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once said -
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words….watch your words, they become your actions...watch your actions, they become your habits...watch your habits, they become your character…watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
We all have thoughts that play over in our minds. These thoughts, this internal dialogue influences our words, actions, habits, and ultimately, in the words of Lao-Tzu, the destiny of our lives.
This inner voice has been described and referred to by Psychologists as a chimp. A chimp chattering away influencing our decisions and behaviours. Because this ‘chimp’ has the power to control our thoughts, words, actions, habits and destiny it’s important we practice keeping this chimp a positive chimp.
But why does being positive matter? And why can it be beneficial? Well apart from the obvious, that being positive can benefit the relationships we have with other people, it can also benefit our health.
So how can we be more positive?
4 things you can do to practice positivity every day...
1. Firstly, practice gratitude. One of the quickest ways to move away from a negative mindset to a positive mindset is to practice gratitude. List the things that you are grateful for! These don’t have to be big things, they can be just the little things in life.
A very powerful cognitive behavioural therapy technique is to keep a diary every day and list three things down that you are grateful for that day. Maybe the sun was shining, maybe you had a yummy lunch, maybe you went out for coffee with a friend. They can be as small or as big as you want.
2. Ditch the crabs. Did you know that if you put one crab in a bucket it will climb out, however, if you put two crabs in a bucket they will stop each other from climbing out? One will always pull the other one back. What's the take away from this? Surround yourself with positive people.
If you find yourself surrounded by negative crabs seek out positive people and practice making positive observations. Try making three 100% positive observations every day (it may sound easier than it is).
3. Smile. Now this is a great positivity hack! Why? Because smiling tricks your brain into being happy. The simple act of smiling (even if you feel like you don’t have anything to smile about) can instantly change the way you feel internally.
Smile at as many people as you can every day. Smile at your colleagues, smile at people in the street, smile at the person serving you in a shop.
My dad once said to me -
‘Don’t waste that smile. Give it away as much as you can.’
He was so right! Give away that smile.
If you really don’t feel like smiling at all remember that you can always put a pencil in your mouth! Putting a pencil in your mouth forces your face to smile and does the same job of tricking your brain into being happy ;)
4. Practice yoga. As well as the physical benefits of yoga, yoga is also great for mental health and wellbeing. When we practice yoga serotonin & oxytocin levels in our body increase, which helps us feel “happy” and in turn helps us be more positive.
Meditation, breathing, and performing yoga postures all tone the vagal nerve. Even a short practice of yoga can positively affect the vagal tone, making us feel more satisfied and happy.
Practicing yoga also helps us to be more present due to the focus on the breath. Being present helps generate a calmness and positive outlook within us.
Life is never always easy for anyone. Everybody has their own problems and their own worries, but some people just make it look so easy, don’t they? And I think that all comes down to having a positive mindset.
Ultimately, we should practice positive every day... so that when life gives us lemons (and inevitably it will) instead of moaning about how sour they are, our chimp will already be well practiced at making lemonade. :)