“Fake it ‘til you make it.” How often do you hear that phrase? When I was a teenager, it seemed like every other day. Fake being more confident until you are; fake being positive until you are; fake acting like you know what you’re doing until you actually do. I would just roll my eyes and say, “Yeah ok,” because it never worked for me. But I discovered something about myself recently: I wasn’t actually trying. Positive and negative thinking can completely rewire your brain, and repel or attract happiness. It has never been more important to dig into positivity.
Negativity and Science Stuff
Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, found insights about positive and negative thinking, and its impact on your daily life. First thing’s first: negative emotions can program your brain to shut off other options, and only ever understand the negative. If all you think about yourself is, “I feel disgusting,” the only thing you are going to feel about yourself is that you feel gross, which leads your brain down more negative paths. Your brain focuses mainly on sadness, insecurity, anger, stress, anxiety. This is what is known as our “survival instinct.” Your brain is focusing on the bad thoughts, and how you can get away from them. Unfortunately, all humans pay more attention to the dark emotions, than they do to the good. This is because happiness can expire, but sadness can last forever.
Now, this isn’t to say that people cannot have bad days. Every single person is allowed to have days where they don’t feel 100%, it’s what keeps us human. However, choosing to be happy can change our entire lives.
Be Positive, For You
I recently read a short book called Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, written by Kamal Ravikant. Spark Notes edition, the author was going through an extremely tough time. He was sick for a month, recently lost one of his closest friends, and was just feeling the world could not throw him any more punches. But then he turned his life around in what seems to be the most simple way: Every single day, probably hundreds of times, he repeated this phrase; “I love myself.” Ravikant said it while he worked, while he went on runs, while he was at the store, while he watched television, while he was reading, while he went on dates, etc. This simple thing—combined with ten minute meditation daily—completely changed his life. Good things started happening: He started believing what he was actually saying and healed in mind and in body. That is just proof, that YOU could be the one stopping yourself from actually being happy.
Make it Happen
Not only can positive thinking create value in your life, but it can build skills that last a lifetime. Rewiring your brain is not easy, but you can do it with a few simple steps.
Some people are skeptical about this, but it works wonders. For 7-10 minutes a day, sit on the floor with your back against a wall, or lay flat on the floor. You can either put on a soothing song, or sit in silence. Just let your mind wonder. Let the thoughts come in: you can either attempt to work through them, or push them through your body and out of your toes. Meditation gives us the power to start the day with a clear mind, and a clear slate.
Address how you are feeling. Understand how you are feeling. Process how you are feeling. If you know you are feeling kind of off, not your best day, you need to let yourself feel that. This allows you to work through the emotions, process them, and move on.
The most important thing you can do every single day is be kind to yourself and to others. If you wouldn’t say it to other people, why would you say it to yourself. And if you would say it to others, maybe work on that as well. Kindness is contagious. It creates the ability for you to make someone’s day, change someone’s life, inspire others to be more kind. Be kind, you’ll feel it change your life.
Take Time for Yourself
There are homebodies, extroverts, introverts, but what they all have in common is that each person needs time for themselves. Each day, it is important to set aside time for you: for your passions, goals, mind, relaxation. Self care is not a joke. Take that bath, eat that chocolate, spend the day on your own to clear your head. Never underestimate the importance of taking care of your mind and body, because nobody else can.
Talk Yourself Confident
Hey, you’re awesome! Never stop reminding yourself that. Did you wake up and immediately make your bed? You’re awesome. Did you cook yourself an amazing meal? Dude, SO COOL. Did you go for that run you have been dreading? You rock! Did you lay on the couch all day because you felt like you needed a break? That’s fine too, you are the bomb.com! Never, ever, underestimate the power of being nice to yourself.
In the end, you could be the one holding yourself back from being truly, immensely happy. I am the one standing in my own way, but I’m making changes everyday to change that. Do it for you, do it for your future, do it because you can. But never forget nobody’s perfect. Now, to wrap up the corniness, my favorite quote on positivity by the one and only Dolly Parton: “If you’re feeling low, don’t despair. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it comes back every morning.”