It is often said that attitude is a choice. We can choose how we are going to present ourselves each day. I did not say we can choose how we will feel each day. How we present ourselves to others is a matter of deciding to make a choice. How we will feel, negative or positive, is a different animal.
It turns out that research indicates that negative emotions can linger long after a negative experience. Areas of the brain related to strong emotion such as the amygdala, responsible for fear and anxiety, remain active after the event has passed. It seems that negativity prolongs and feeds itself. Negative people may be negative people because their brain remains negative after each bad experience. They just know that another one is coming soon. It’s bad and unhealthy to be negative.
Positive people recover from adversity more quickly. Positive people experience less negative emotion overall and may have protection from mental disorders. Positive people are more resilient and have greater well-being and greater purpose in life. It’s good and healthy to be positive.
Now, we don’t have to always be positive to be happy and healthy. Bad experiences will happen to everyone. Negative people look for these events and will even state that they knew it was coming. Positive people accept that “..it happens” and look for ways to be positive as quickly as possible.
So, is there anything that can be done to change negative to positive? Research indicates the answer is “Yes.” It is possible to train the brain to generate new cells and pathways that promote positive responses.
Training in a form of meditation focused on compassion and kindness results in increased positive emotions. It also improved the function of the nerves that control heart rate. Results are achieved in as little as two weeks. So it appears that being positive is a skill that can be learned with practice.
There are other things that can help you to become more positive!
Do good things for others
It will make them happier and it enhances your positive feelings. Even you selfish people can do little things for others like holding the door open at an elevator and buying me a glass of wine.
Appreciate the world around you
If you look, you will see the beauty in a sunset or a tree. You should appreciate the complexity of the hospital equipment and the skills necessary to maintain it.
Develop and strengthen relationships
Strong social connections enhance feelings of self-worth and are associated with better health and longer life.
Establish goals that can be accomplished
These can be work or personal goals. The key is that they be something you want to work at and are not too challenging or impractical.
Learn something new
Pick something that you want to learn such as a new language, musical instrument, poker, just be sure that you have the time to achieve it.
Choose to accept yourself, flaws and all
Focus on the positive attributes and achievements not the imperfections and failures. Nobody is perfect, but you are unique.
Do not let the losses and trauma and failures in life overwhelm and define you. Learn what you can from them and move on.
Past problems and perceived future problems and difficulties serve to drain your mind and attention. Accept the things you cannot change and change the things you cannot accept. Stay in the present.
Negative emotions can be decreased by implementing a daily positive approach. Look for the good and the positive in everything at all times. And when life hands you lemons, drink more wine.
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