When you lose your job, do you take it as a career roadblock or a necessary push towards what you really want? The truth is, your experiences are only as good or as bad as you perceive them. The less-than-optimistic folks might want to take heed though; the Huffington Post reports that science is starting to unveil the benefits of seeing the glass half-full:
Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.
The impact of positive thinking on your work, your health, and your life is being studied by people who are much smarter than me. One of these people is Barbara Fredrickson.
Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, and she published a landmark paper that provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills. Her work is among the most referenced and cited in her field, and it is surprisingly useful in everyday life.
According to Fredrickson, negative thoughts (like fear or anger) narrow your mind’s focus, thereby limiting the options you “see.” In her study, groups of people where shown images that connote either negative or positive emotions. When the participants were asked to imagine themselves in similar situations, those who saw positive images were able to write down more possibilities or courses of actions than those who saw negative images.
Of course, staying positive is a skill you develop and there are simple things you can do to strengthen your positivity muscles. For starters, just smile. Smiling naturally releases tension in the body and science backs this up: frowning uses more muscles than smiling
Another simple tip is to say “Thank You.” Doing so forces you to focus on things you are grateful for, rather than dwelling on negative thoughts. Surrounding yourself with positive reminders, like inspirational wall décor motifs, can also boost your mood, especially at home.
Happiness is a habit and positivity is key to it. While it’s hard to see the upside during tough times, you can always choose how to respond to life’s difficulties. The next time you’re feeling down, why not smile or look at some inspirational wall decorations to keep yourself positive?
(Info from The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work, The Huffington Post)