Get Positive Tip #2: Move!
This one is purely physiological. As Ann Cuddy’s wonderful TED talks have popularized, the mind often follows the state of the body. So if you throw your arms into the “victory position” or place a pencil in your teeth, forcing your rictus muscles to smile, your hormonal system will listen – and start pumping happy chemicals into your bloodstream. The result? You will actually feel victorious and happy.
On a larger scale, according to The Cochrane Review, the leading medical review of its kind, 23 studies on exercise have conclusively proven that exercise has a “large clinical impact” on reducing depression. Simply put, exercise reduces stress and lifts the spirits.
Get Positive Tip #3: Do a Kindness
It’s easy, especially in the fear-driven 24 hours news cycle, to believe that people are abusive and bad, communities are bad, states are bad, businesses are bad – and everyone pretty much is a creep. It’s easy to feel pessimistic about others when we get into this mindset – and the quickest way to break it is to prove it wrong by doing small acts of kindness.
Simply by bringing a smile to the face of another human being, your faith in the goodness of others is suddenly and subtly restored. It creates a “pattern interrupt” of habitual negative thinking. You’ll find yourself more optimistic about both the nature of others and of your place among them.
Get Positive Tip #4: Rediscover What You are Good at
Often we fall into negative patterns of thinking because we’ve left our comfort zone and feel “lost at sea”. In the midst of challenge, when we can’t quite see our way out yet, we tend to drop the blame for conditions on our character, or lack of it, on our abilities, or lack of it or on our ineptness in general. We forget our core competencies.
Dr. Seligman’s research shows that the happiest people are those who have discovered their unique strengths (such as resilience or empathy or problem solving) and virtues (such as compassion or stick-to-itiveness). Once you place your mind on what you are good at, you get your footing in a positive self-regard and tend to get into more productive action (not to mention increased self-confidence).
To amplify the positive feelings associated with this rediscovery, Dr. Seligman urges us to then put those qualities into service of the good of others. Which is the next tip…