What’s the Big Deal with Positive Thinking?

6 Minutes Read

positive thinking, therapyNeuroscience. That is the big deal. Personally, I like to understand how things work. Once I have some evidenced based knowledge, it is much easier for me to embrace a new way of doing things. To learn positivity, I had to become aware of my negativity, understand how to change it and believe in the process. A while back, embracing positive thinking didn’t even occur to me because I was SO unaware of how negative my thoughts were. There was plenty of evidence, but I was in denial.

I believed my way worked. I was results driven, fear based and highly productive (or so I thought). In reality, I was a workaholic, harsh with myself and others. I had little concept of how to treat myself with love and respect.

 

I think one of the hardest parts about making a positive change in life is the fear of letting go of an old way.

Positive change is synonymous with self-love.

Deep down inside, I think that we fear self-love because it feels selfish or that others will not see us as a worthy cause.

Neuroscience has profoundly improved my outlook on life.

Ironically, I didn’t do very well when studying brain and behavior during undergrad. It has since become a fascination of mine.

“Dispositional optimism, as defined by generalized positive expectations for the future, virtually always predicts better psychological adjustment. In numerous studies, the more positive people expected their futures to be, the better their mood, the fewer their psychiatric symptoms, and the better their adjustment to diverse situations including college transition, pregnancy, cardiac surgery, and caregiving (see Carver and Scheier, 1999; for a review).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1948078/

 

If you need more positive thinking and optimism, it’s time to:

  1. improve your awareness
  2. learn how
  3. follow-through with the process!

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Positive Thinking: Here’s Why It’s So Beautiful!

Watch the video below to learn more about positive thinking, or scroll down for more information!

 

The Positive Psychology Program explains the neuroscience of positive thinking beautifully!

“The latest neuroscientific studies show that we have the ability to change and grow our brain even as an adult! This has fascinating implications for our wellbeing and other areas of Positive Psychology.

When do you think your last brain cells were born? Before you were born? Or at the age of 6? You may be surprised to learn that even the activities you engaged in today alter your brain.

For a long time, it was believed that once our brain is fully developed during infancy, it is no longer able to change. This meant that as adults we are stuck not only with the talents we possess, but also with a certain level of subjective wellbeing, the so-called happiness set point. However, recent Neuroscientific research provides us with promising findings that prove idea of limited brain development wrong. Studies confirmed the concept of Neuroplasticity, the ability of synapses, neurons and whole brain areas to change depending on the activities we perform (Doidge, 2007). As it turns out, the brain is not a rigid machine, but malleable as a lump of clay, and it can change even later in life.

 

In other words: what we focus on, grows, even in our brain!

The concept of Neuroplasticity has a number of implications on positive psychology. Here are three ways in which we can use this knowledge to maximize happiness:

Change your happiness set point.

A happiness set point is the point on a continuum of happiness with which we are born.

According to Barbara Fredrickson, the happiness set point is given at birth and accounts for about 40% of our happiness. Early findings showed that while positive events (such as winning the lottery) and negative events (such as an accident) change our happiness levels in the short run, we eventually return back to the baseline, our happiness set point (Brickman, Coates, & Janoff-Bulman, 1978).
The latest findings in Neuroplasticity indicate that the happiness set point can be changed, based on what we focus on and the activities we perform.

So as we practice gratitude, optimism and self-compassion the neurons in our brain form more connections, and the area of the brain grows and becomes stronger. Over time, this alteration in our brain can change our set point of happiness (Greater Good Science Center, 2014).

Develop a growth-mindset

We can also use this knowledge to help create a growth-mindset.

There is evidence that we can rewire our brain to learn anything we want. Our only limit is the one we set ourselves.We are not stuck with the talents we possess. In fact, many successful people owe their success not to their genes but to hard work.

Do you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his High School Basketball Team?

What set him apart was his will to succeed. He had a growth-mindset.

So the more you train your brain to avoid limiting thoughts, the more you will look at challenges as the path to mastery rather than a risk of failure.

Grow the Mindfulness muscles in your brain

Positive and negative emotions look different in the brain.

Research shows that someone who experiences positive emotions, such as joy or gratitude has much higher activity in the left prefrontal cortex. Negative emotions such as anxiety or stress are linked to activity in the right prefrontal cortex.”

 

If you are a positive thinking skeptic, I hope you have learned something to challenge your negative belief! I have based my own personal development and well-being on the idea that there is a solution to every problem.

I am grateful that my happiness set point is much improved and that I have tools to keep it there.

If you would like to learn more about creating positivity in your life, call me at my Boca Raton or Key Largo therapy office at (561) 221-5575 or schedule your on the house consultation now!

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