Benefits: Become aware of the reasons it’s so hard to create a positive mindset.
So That You Can: Reap the benefits of a creating positive mindset, including the ability to realize your full potential.
Go From Inspiration to Action With the Worksheet Below!
Why Is It So Hard to Create a Positive Mindset?
You just have to look on the bright side — find the silver lining — think good thoughts! Because if you do, that positive mindset will make all of your problems magically disappear, right? Isn’t this what we’re led to believe by the well-meaning people who utter these words when they don’t know what else to say? And haven’t we all used these words ourselves in an effort to offer encouragement or support to someone who is suffering?
But it’s not that easy is it? In fact, creating a positive mindset can feel downright impossible some days. And then what happens? You end up in a self-defeating cycle. You ask yourself, “Why can’t I think more positively? What’s wrong with me?” In turn, those thoughts make you feel like a failure; like you’re somehow less than your well-meaning counterparts who are telling you to let the sunshine in. And, you end up feeling even worse. It’s like the hole of negativity you’re in is made of sand, so as you try to climb out of it, you’re just covered in more sand — more negative thoughts.
Still, we want to create a positive mindset because there are too many benefits to ignore — benefits to our physical state, our mental state, and our overall well being. Benefits that will help us realize the fulfilling life we were meant to live. Plus, we only get one chance at this crazy thing called life, so we might as well try to enjoy it, right?
Then let’s stop kidding ourselves and believing the hype. We can’t just turn a positive mindset on like a faucet and expect it to wash all our negative thoughts away. There’s no shortcut; no magic pill. It’s going to take a lot of Deliberate Thinking, effort, and practice. And we’re going to start today by discussing:
- Some of the reasons it’s so hard to create a positive mindset (i.e. what we’re up against),
- The foundational characteristics of a positive mindset, and
- Some daily habits you can implement that will empower you to create a positive mindset.
I can say with absolute certainty that if you stick around, by the end of this essay you will have learned every single thing you’ll ever need to know about a positive mindset. (You didn’t buy that did you? Just checking. 😉) But seriously, I hope that you’ll be empowered to create at least one daily habit that will get you closer to living the fulfilling life you were meant to live.
Our Brains Favor Negative Thoughts
Kind of . . . and this is one of the reasons it’s hard to create a positive mindset.
I don’t know that our brains actually “favor” negative thoughts, but psychologists have found that our minds are built to look for negative information. Which makes sense if you think of it from a survivalist’s perspective. As a survivalist, you’d want to root out any threats to your safety, and sitting around thinking about rainbows and kittens isn’t going to help you do that.
The thing is, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not living in survival mode, and your mind doesn’t need to be on the alert for negative information all the time. But that’s how it’s been conditioned to operate. In studies performed by psychology professor Alison Ledgewood, she and her team found that:
Once we think about something as a loss [negatively], that way of thinking about it tends to stick in our heads, and [it] resists our attempt to change it.
The positive news? You can retrain your mind! Neuroscience tells us that every thought you have creates a pathway in your brain, whether it’s positive or negative. And the more you use that pathway, i.e. reinforce that thought with related thoughts, the stronger it gets.
So, yes, you can create positive pathways, but that means you’re going to have to start paying attention to the thoughts that you are allowing to be pumped into your head. Which leads us to another reason it’s so hard to create a positive mindset . . .
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A Few Simple, Daily Habits
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Sources & Inspiration
Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck) | Alison Ledgerwood | TEDxUCDavis, posted to YouTube by TEDx Talks on 6.22.13
How mindfulness changes the emotional life of our brains | Richard J. Davidson | TEDxSanFrancisco, posted to YouTube by TEDx Talks on 12.12.19
The Best Mental Health Advice I’ve Ever Heard – Johann Hari, posted to YouTube by FightMediocrity on 6.18.20
Jordan Peterson on Why People Are So Unhappy, posted to YouTube by H3 Podcast Highlights on 11.16.17
BREAK THE ADDICTION To Negative Thoughts & Emotions By DOING THIS…|Dr. Joe Dispenza & Lewis Howes, posted to YouTube by Lewis Howes on 6.05.20
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