Knowing that this is just the tip of the positive psychology iceberg, you may be wondering how you can build a healthier mindset to affect more positive outcomes in all aspects of your own life. Are there biochemical supplements, lifestyle practices, or mental games that can alter wellness permanently? Are there ways to let go of anxiety, anger, and grief you may experience that you know are negatively impacting health? The answer is yes. Here’s how to change your focus and improve your wellbeing.
Cultivating mindfulness, which simply means becoming aware of your emotions as fleeting blips that enviably pass, may be the simplest place to start. Moment-by-moment social-emotional awareness, “checking” ourselves throughout the day, helps us become accustomed to “watching” our minds and making intentional choices in relation to emotions rather than letting them take hold and moving through life in a reactionary mode. Training your mind through meditation may get you to this positive pattern even faster.
The more we become aware of the activity in the brain — sometimes as simple as a few breaths between tasks or prior to speaking during conversation — the better chance we have to downgrade stress levels, not to mention lower blood pressure and even affect our genes, according to one Harvard study. (5)
Building compassion practices into your daily life is another proven practice. One simple yet super effective method is daily gratitude. People who learn how to count their blessings, typically by writing a few specific things they’re grateful for each day, will get further down the positivity pathway, ideally impacting positive outcomes in all areas of their lives.
Chris Kresser, M.S., L.Ac., a functional medicine and ancestral health expert and educator, offers some other helpful habits to start building a healthier mindset in his blog on positive psychology:
- Explore your character strengths and virtues. From bravery to creativity, knowing what makes you you and using those authentic strengths “can help you feel more engaged, productive, and positive,” he wrote.
- Challenge negative thoughts before they turn to words. You might default to the pessimistic more than you realize. Before you speak, work on quick check-ins like, “Is this problem permanent or actually temporary? Is the problem as personal as I’m making it? Am I in at least partial control of this problem?”
- Write 5 years in the future for 5 minutes. Putting pen to paper can do wonders to offset negative thoughts. Try writing by first imagining yourself in five years as reasonably successful, having accomplished some big goals, and how your life has improved. Did your sense of wellbeing or motivations change?
There are so many exciting ways we can learn to master our mindset. It’s the source of breakthrough research that will only continue to bring to light a deepening understanding between how the mind impacts the body in the short and long term. In an enlightened world, supporting your health requires a holistic approach.