How Positive Thinking Affects The Brain

|

How positive thinking affects the brain

If you’re in a dark hole mentally, what’s the last thing you want to hear someone say to you. “Just think positive!”

Most times, this sentiment can feel misguided. Especially in the face of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

But, as much as you may not want to hear it, they’re still kind of right. The power of positive thinking really can increase your happiness and help you regulate negative thoughts.

Even still though, that’s easier said than done. Luckily, there are a couple of ways that you can think positively throughout the day.

Even if you need to complement that with therapy or medication. But either way, positive or negative thinking can greatly impact your everyday life.

So which side would you choose if you had the choice? And what can you do to make that happen for yourself?

Keep reading to find out how you can infuse positive thoughts into your day. And start to let any negative thinking fall the wayside.

It’s just weighing you down, babe. Besides, you deserve better than that.

Bonus: Why Is Communication Important In The Workplace?

Positive thinking vs. negative thinking

There’s no question that positive emotions can turn a good day into a great day. But positive thinking is more than just a feeling.

It’s psychology! Well, actually, it’s a thought process – a way of rerouting the neurons in our brains to operate in better health.

Sounds too good to be true, right? What – you don’t believe me?

Then believe the University of Kansas! Besides, their research makes them way more qualified to talk about optimistic processes in the brain.

Manipulate your psychology and choose to think positive thoughts

Retrain the brain

A study of theirs found that smiling can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. Even performing a fake smile in the mirror can reduce stress.

This is because positive thoughts and emotions impact the neural patterns in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. When activated, this area of the brain increases creative thinking and intellectual adaptability.

And this helps us to merge our mind and body together to make for a more united self. With practice, the neurons in our brain can look for more positive feelings and information to process.

And we won’t be so easily affected by negative thoughts and thinking throughout the day. Not to mention, this keeps you focused too.

Say no to negativity

Now, this isn’t to say that negative emotions will go away altogether. The prefrontal cortex isn’t that strong.

But you can retrain your brain cells to look for the positive rather than the negative in life. And that kind of control can make a huge difference in how you see the world around you.

Negativity won’t go away just because you employ positive thinking. Besides, think about comedians who perform anywhere from a corporate setting to an open mic and derive their material from dark places. 

But accepting negatives and moving on from them is one of the keys to maintaining a happy attitude. It’s impossible to eliminate the negatives overall – but you can choose to say no to it. 

Health benefits of positive thinking

If that doesn’t sound good enough, then read these other benefits below. No, seriously – just reading these will give you a serotonin boost.

Positive thinking can:

  • Lower distress levels
  • Lower depression rates
  • Increase life span
  • Lead to greater immune resistance to the common cold
  • Better your coping skills and attitude during times of stress
  • Better your psychological and physical wellbeing
  • Better your cardiovascular health
  • Reduce your risk of death from a cardiovascular disease

How to think positively

The ability to infuse positivity into every thought you have takes time. And practice.

But using your energy to do so can make you a happier person overall. And that’s essential to a life well-lived.

So, how can you affect your mood simply by engaging with positive thoughts? And how can you regulate your system away from negativity?

No, we’re not saying you should get a comedian for hire just to cheer you up. Instead, these are life tips that you can actually accomplish all on your own.

#1. Engage in positive self-talk

Positive self talk promotes compassion and generosity

Positive self-talk is essentially the opposite of self-criticism. It can be so easy to beat yourself up over that one thing you did last week.

Or even that other thing you didn’t achieve two years ago. But optimism teaches us that there’s nothing we can do to change the past.

Instead, you can create a happy present and future with a more compassionate attitude. And that starts with how you engage with yourself.

#2. Accept your surroundings for what they are

Experiencing negative emotions is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s healthy to acknowledge what’s negative in life.

Then work on your ability to choose happiness over it. So positivity isn’t getting rid of the bad.

It’s just helping you focus on what you can control. When you accept your surroundings for what they are, you let go of your need to control what cannot be controlled.

Instead, you focus on yourself. And that’s where you derive your happy energy from.

#3. Be open to humor

There are times when humor seems like the least appropriate emotional response. But when your body is pent up with anger or grief, laughing about it can actually help you let go of the negative.

Again, this isn’t about repressing negative feelings. It’s about training your brain to look at life in a positive way.

Think about comedy writers, for example. Sometimes, they’re tasked with having to write dialogue for a rather somber scene.

But somehow, they always manage to turn it into an opportunity for humor. Besides, you can scowl.

Or you can laugh and be merry. Which would you choose?

See Related: What Do People Find Funny?

#4. Be generous with yourself

Take this example for a spin. You might have mixed up categories when sorting files at work.

And now, your brain has a choice between thinking two different thoughts.

Thought number one might be: Darn it! Now I have to do all of this work all over again!

But thought number two might be: What a brain fart! Ha! Who came up with brain fart?

See how one of these thoughts allows you to move on? And the other just keeps your body in a negative mental state?

Sure, you have to do the work all over again. But at least positive thinking helps you get the job done with a happy attitude.

Besides, isn’t it better to be the local comedian in your corporate office rather than the Eeyore in the corner? I mean, really.

Find the humor in your surroundings to boost positive thinking overall

#5. Reframe with gratitude

Okay, gratitude is the secret sauce to happiness. No really, several related research studies have proven that gratitude can lead to a healthy lifestyle.

What you focus on can affect your thinking and overall outlook. So if you think, “God, this traffic sucks!” your brain will likely feel depressed and sullen.

But if you reframe with gratitude, you might come up with, “But I’m so grateful to have a car and air conditioning.” Then, you’re not nearly as depressed about the traffic.

And you’re able to take in your surroundings with a more positive attitude. Easy peasy, right?

#6. Surround yourself with positive people

We can’t always control our surroundings. But we can control who we choose to spend our time with.

So focus your energy on people that make you happy. Make an effort to remain connected with friends you might not have seen in years.

There are a number of ways to affect your outlook. And spending time with people that you love will automatically give you those positive thoughts.

Cheer up, Charlie!

The search for happiness is a long and winding road. And it’s certainly a well-traveled one too.

But positive thinking can truly help us along the way. And remind us of all the positive things we have in our lives – whether we choose to see them or not.

So don’t let negative emotions dictate your life. There are so many other things for you to focus on.

And who knows. Maybe you’ll even gain some physical benefits from such positive thinking.

Now don’t go trading in your gym membership for the sake of positive thinking instead. Just see how much more you can gain out of life when you look at it positively.

Keep Reading: How To Get Into Comedy Acting

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.