Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this “outlook on life” question may also reflect the attitude you have toward yourself. According to the Mayo Clinic, whether you are typically optimistic or pessimistic may even affect your health. Here is more information about how the power of positive thinking.
Often, the biggest challenge when it comes to getting fit and healthy is our mindset. Positive thinking is key to reaching your optimal performance and fitness level. Keeping these benefits in mind may help you see the brighter side of life more often.
Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Greater resistance to illness
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
If you are a natural pessimist, what can you do? You can train your brain to think yourself fit. Here are some simple steps to follow:
Picture the outcome that you want to achieve. Whether you are training to lose a few pounds or run a 5K, creating a mental picture for success is what will get your to your goal.
Help your brain to focus on what success looks like. It’s like a dress rehearsal for your goals. The more you practice, the more your mind will believe it to be true. Try to make your thoughts about success as clear as possible. Imagine every step of the way. This is a great way to prep for the pressure that may come when taking on a new challenge.
Setting a huge goal can set you up to fail. Take training for a marathon as an example. This is a huge task. One that can be overwhelming if you think about it in its entirety. If you break it down into more manageable goals, the finish line becomes more attainable. When out for a run, you might picture a landmark that you want to reach as your next goal. Once you reach that spot, picture the next landmark you want to reach and so on.
Like a marathon, completely changing what you eat may seem impossible. Little changes can make a big difference. For example, eat a piece of fruit each day instead of a bag of chips. Swapping out a few items is much easier than trying to take it all on at once.
Over time, small changes will come to equal progress in your quest to eat healthier. According to a study conducted at Northwestern University, small changes can result in a domino effect on other health-related habits.
Researchers set out to alter four unhealthy behaviors: eating too much saturated fat, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, spending too much time being sedentary, and not getting adequate exercise. But, instead of trying to tackle four problems at once, researchers found that a small reduction in TV time, along with eating more fruits and vegetables lead to a healthier lifestyle overall. In all, small changes have a ripple effect that extends into other aspects of your life.
Meditation has long been practiced in other countries. Scientists are looking into the power of meditation in our fast-paced lives. Medication can be a key element in achieving our goals. I love to picture myself in a beautiful place like in the photo above. Taking my mind to someplace quiet and peaceful helps me stay calm and focused. Here is a great article about meditation for beginners.
Focusing on positive thinking
You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. It takes practice, but it’s well worth the effort. Here are some ways to think in a more positive way:
- Identify areas to change. Identify areas of your life that you typically have negative thoughts. Is it at work or perhaps a relationship? Start small and focus on one area to approach in a more positive way.
- Check yourself. Throughout the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you notice that your thoughts have been negative, try to find a way to focus on something positive.
- Be open to humor. When I am having a bad day, I’ll find a good joke on the internet or listen to a comedy channel on the radio. Laughter helps lighten the mood and minimize feelings of stress and negativity.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt yourself. Keep positive, supportive people in your life that you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback.
- Practice positive self-talk. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be kind and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought come up, try to respond with affirmations of what is good about you.