In Life, most of us tend to focus more on our failures than our successes. Have you ever wondered why?
The human brain tends to have built-in radar that focuses on our negative life events and stores them in our memory bank. Which, of course, is not very helpful since it gives birth to a lot of negative thinking.
So, one must wonder how to lessen this barrage of negative thinking.
The answer to that is developing a positive mindset. This requires the re-programming of our unconscious mind. It’s important to note that one of the major directives of our unconscious mind is to work on the principle of least effort.
So, the human brain tends to repeat the same reaction again and again.
For example, The brain will say, “I’ve been there and done that. And that’s how we had reacted in the past.”
“Since we already know this. Let’s act as we did in the past.”
Wiring of the unconscious mind
The unconscious mind is wired in a way for good by storing our learning for them to benefit us. For example, The brain cells respond like, “ Don’t put your hand in the fire as it is hot and you’ll get burned.”
Disadvantage: The major setback of this approach is that it gives rise to constant negativity and corrosive self-talk which we are subjected to on a daily basis.
The unconscious mind is in need of repetition until a habit is formed. So, if we don’t want negativity to become a learned behavior, we must learn to give up these constant harmful thoughts and make room for positive thinking.
Being an optimist myself, my glass is invariably half full, and trust me, it is a lot less exhausting looking for the good rather than always expecting the worst to happen.
Given below are a few suggestions that will help you build a positive mindset
- Being Aware: Pay more attention to what you’re thinking. Question yourself whether it is constructive or not.
- What Are You Focused On: Once you’ve identified whether the thoughts are positive or negative, make sure to focus on the thoughts that build you up rather than those that pull you down or tear you apart.
3. The Art of Being Grateful: It is important to count your blessings. Many people journal out their thoughts in form of a gratitude journal whilst others take stock at the end of the day, recognizing their successes and achievements. Others just take time to stop and remember to say thank you. Each day is filled with endless blessings which increase when you take the time to acknowledge them.
4. Consciously make note of the things that you’re grateful for and you’ll be rewarded with a positive mindset that lasts all day. The blessing of family is a gift that you can give thanks to each day.
Acknowledging the support of loved ones gives me the confidence to pursue difficult goals. Knowing that I have their encouragement and guidance is enough to nudge me forward. It helps to know that there are people who believe in me.
Whatever floats your boat – it all helps your brain to retain the positives more readily than the negatives.
For example: Having a job is a blessing that is often overlooked. Each day make sure to write down how thankful you are for your work. It will allow you to make the most of the financial value it gives you.
Making a conscious effort to take note of your blessings is a great way to maintain gratitude. This will help you to develop a positive outlook on life.
5. Develop Your Mind to Hear Positive Affirmation: It’s important to keep repeating the same thing for it to become a habit. Just as the big advertising agencies broadcast catchy jingles that burrow into your mind, the same rule applies. The more you hear it – the more you believe it. That’s how you train your mind to harbor positive thoughts.
For example, You can look into the mirror each morning and say “Every day and in every way, I Love and Approve of myself,”
Place motivational post-its around your office or your home, or have a positive statement on your phone.
6. Challenge Your Inner Critic: If you are prone to negative self-talk make a conscious effort to challenge what you are saying to yourself. Hearing negativity day in and day out is extremely corrosive. Would you truly talk to a friend in the same way that you talk to yourself? Be cautious of how you talk to yourself. Loving yourself is the most crucial step to developing a positive mindset.
7. Take Action: Behaviour trains the mind. Improve your posture by standing up straight and throwing your shoulders back and just smiling. These physiological changes have a huge impact on the way you feel, and you can instantaneously trick your brain into feeling more positive.
Admittedly, it may take a while in getting used to this way of thinking but believe me, after a while, the positive self-talk will become second nature.
Given below are some self-reflection questions that you can ask yourself:
- What are some of the blessings that are less obvious in my life?
- How does discussing my blessings help in my ability to stay positive?
- What other techniques can I use to keep my mindset optimistic?
Pic Courtesy: Mareck Piwnicki from Unspalsh