6 Ways To Power Up Your Positivity


Trust us, they’re a lot more fun than the lemon kind. It might sound weird, but just as toxins can be flushed from your body, your brain can be drained of its negativity bias while being fed healthier and happier thoughts. We often run our lives on autopilot, unaware of the effects of our negative emotions until we’re close to breaking point. Sometimes we might not even realise we’re struggling (and remember, if you’re finding it hard to get out of bed, you’ve lost your focus at work or you can’t motivate yourself to see friends or family then a trip to your GP is in order), but if you’re feeling a bit blah then a mind detox could help you to refocus on the positives. Research by Yale University reveals that optimists live longer than pessimists, while a study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that being optimistic lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. But, looking on the bright side of life when tough times hit is not always as easy as it sounds. “Unfortunately we all have a negativity bias. It’s a common enemy that all human beings share,” explains Cheryl Rickman, author of The Flourish Handbook and creator of The 30 Day Flourish Challenge (flourishchallenge.com). “But, by reframing experiences and learning from hardships, you can change your mindset for the better.” Here, the experts round up their top ways to nourish your happy feels.

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Holding on to the past will only leave you with regrets and resentment, so it’s important to switch your perspective back to the here and now. “Just as you would never consider driving a car by only looking in the rear-view mirror, you need to realise that only focusing on the past will severely challenge your journey towards a happier Love this? Search for more like it on future,” says life and wellness coach Sloan Sheridan Williams. “Avoid negativity by shifting your focus on to the things you have now that you’re grateful for, and make plans for the future that inspire you to be the best version of yourself.”


Your gut and your brain are inextricably linked when it comes to positive thoughts and emotions – in fact, 95 per cent of the body’s happiness-boosting serotonin is located here. “The chemical serotonin is manufactured by the nerve cells in the gut, and this prevents depression and regulates sleep, appetite and body temperature,” says health and wellbeing expert Chris James. That’s one reason why it’s essential to keep digestive health at its peak. Eating probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods like natural yoghurt and asparagus will help maintain healthy gut bacteria and could have a knock-on effect on your mood.


Being realistic is key to fulfilment. “If you feel frustrated all the time because your expectations are never satisfied in your work, your relationships or life in general, it’s time to examine your wants and needs and figure out if your approach to life is really going to work for you,” says Williams. Frustration is an alarm bell telling you to change how you do things, whether that’s adjusting your beliefs or changing your circumstances. “A useful approach is to lower your expectations, while raising your standards. This reduces the effect of outside influences, but increases your self-worth and determination,” she adds.


Most of us live in a bubble of technology. We’re forever tweeting, texting or emailing, which, over time, clutters up our minds and sends our stress levels soaring. So consider some digital downtime to help reconnect with the real world. “Turn off electronics and power switches in the bedroom, along with Wi-Fi routers, during your spare time and in the evening. See how much time opens up for you and how you feel without being on call 24/7,” says James.


Unlock optimism by focusing on what you do have, rather than narrowing in on what you don’t – and write a positivity list in order to gain clarity. “Ask yourself: what is going right for me? If your negativity bias kicks in to say, ‘Nothing, it’s all going wrong,’ force yourself to think about the good stuff – whether that’s your health, mobility, or the fact that you have great friends,” says Rickman.


We all have times when we need an emotional lift and positive images, messages and affirmations can help. “Flood your brain with helpful thoughts and flush out unhelpful ways of being. You can do this by using positive self-talk, avoiding negative stimuli, and creating a vision board covered in inspirational images,” suggests Williams. “If you slip back into a negative pattern, shift your focus by doing something positive, like singing your favourite happy song in your head.” And try to naturally incorporate more exercise into your day to break the cynical cycle. “Studies show just 10 minutes of walking per day can alter your mood for the better by getting endorphins flowing,” adds Rickman. Get your sneaks on!

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