When we are stressed, it’s easy to develop negative thinking patterns because we become frustrated by our challenges and frequent feelings of being overwhelmed. This negative outlook makes it even harder for us to manage those challenges and move forward and break through the stress cycle.
Practicing positive thinking helps us to focus on our strengths and accomplishments. It also increases our happiness and motivation. This way we can spend more time making progress, and less time feeling down and stuck. These suggestions can help you shift into more positive thinking patterns:
1. Take good care of YOU! It’s much easier to be positive when you are eating well, exercising, and getting a good night’s sleep.
2. Remind yourself of the things you are grateful for. Stresses and challenges don’t seem too bad when you are grateful for the things that are right in your life. Happy thoughts make a happier body and mind! Keep a gratitude journal and take time to write 3 things you are grateful for first thing in the morning. Start each day in the right frame of mind. Remember what you are grateful for throughout the day.
3. Detach from negative thoughts. Your thoughts can’t hold any power over you if you don’t judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, witness it, release it, and don’t follow it.
4. Squash the “ANTs”. In his book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” Dr. Daniel Amen talks about “ANTs” – Automatic Negative Thoughts. These are the bad thoughts that are usually reactionary, like “Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me,” or “The boss wants to see me? It must be bad!” When you notice these thoughts, realize that they are nothing more than ANTs and squash them!
5. Practice loving and hugging friends and family. You don’t have to be an expert to know the beneﬁts of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick me-up.
6. Increase your social activity. By increasing social activity, you decrease loneliness. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will aﬀect you in a positive way!
7. Volunteer for an organization or help others. Everyone feels good after helping! You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.
It’s important to understand the signs of stress and react with a positive way of handling it. The key to busting stress is making sure that you look after YOU. As your happiness levels increase, your stress levels decrease. Have a look at your work life, your personal life and social life to see if there are any areas you can create more happiness. You might be surprised on what you ﬁnd.
Keep these easy tips in mind next time you find yourself in one of these situations. And what are you waiting for, pick up a journal and start your gratitude practice right away.
Keep on smiling and have a lovely day!