Things you’ll learn in this blog
“It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, you know. It’s what shows up on the outside that counts. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in and be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow.”- Marge Simpson, The Simpsons.
Anyone familiar with the episode will know that things didn’t quite work out using that advice. We’ve probably all experienced someone telling us to “cheer up” or “it could be worse.”
Pretending to be happy when you’re downright miserable isn’t always the best way out. You need to deal with your emotions before you can rise again, or they might erupt like a volcano at an inopportune, random moment.
Dealing with our emotions is a complex thing, and it’s not something we are given the tools for at school to use later in life, which is why many adults tend to regress to the state of a child when they are emotional; because it’s the only way they know how to deal with it.
As Marge said at the end of the episode, when she realized this: “If you want to be sad, honey, be sad. We’ll ride it out with you. And when you’re finished feeling sad, we’ll still be there.”
However, there is no denying that a healthy dose of positivity has many health benefits. And thinking positively can help you achieve your goals, such as weight loss.
So, how can a positive mental attitude help you reach your weight loss goals?
What is positive thinking?
How do you look at the world around you?
Are you constantly having pessimistic thoughts and thinking that life seems to be against you no matter what you do?
Is your glass half empty rather than half full?
If so, you may be amongst the many negative thinkers, but rest assured, you’re not alone.
When things don’t go as planned, confirmation bias sets in, and it seems like the whole world has ganged up to make our lives miserable. This can be a fleeting moment for some, but others carry these negative feelings around with them 24/7 and find it hard to shake them off.
A negative outlook isn’t a mental health problem, but it can undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on your physical and psychological health.
Positive thinking is a way to turn negative thoughts entirely on their head and put a different perspective on how you see things.
It’s important to stress that this isn’t a cure for all problems. Some see positive thinking as a way to “paper over the cracks” and ignore the issues that negatively affect you. But this can cause toxic positively and is not going to help you in the long run.
If you’re stressed because of relationships, financial issues, family problems or similar, it will not solve those problems. You’ll still need to deal with the issues, but positive thinking gives you the tools and strength to do it productively.
Without some form of positive affirmations, and negative thoughts running through your mind constantly, you are unlikely to be able to solve the issues, and things are likely to get worse.
“I’m the problem, it’s me”
Taylor Swift might have had a point! As much as you don’t want to admit it, sometimes the problem starts from within.
You first need to realize that often your mind is the issue here, not the rest of the world.
Your negative thoughts are causing are funneling inaccurate information into your mind and causing the bad feelings and lack of resolution you feel when things are not going well.
You can change your feelings and reset your mind to “positive”; it is simply a FEELING, nothing more.
To more positive thinking, you need a mind shift that will move your thoughts from negative to positive to solve the issues you are dealing with. Positive thinking means approaching unpleasantness with an optimistic attitude and productively. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.
Once you learn the tricks, you’ll feel more able to cope with life’s demands and feel stronger, healthier and more confident.
The health benefits of positive thinking
But, what can positive thoughts and an optimistic attitude help you achieve?
Better physical and mental health…
Being in a constant negative spiral will leave you feeling low and cause a lack of resolution, where you stop looking after yourself and take more risks than you would normally.
If you don’t eat well, sleep well, or have little interest in hygiene, you are far more likely to have health issues.
In fact, studies have shown that people who think more positively have a longer lifespan.
Lower rates of depression
Negative thoughts can have a “domino effect” on your overall mental health, and when the dominos start tumbling, it’s tough to get them all standing again.
Although depression is a lot more complex than having a negative outlook on life, it can impact your overall mental health and result in higher rates of depression.
Better cardiovascular health
Negative thinking triggers a stress response and an accompanying physiological impact which can increase heart rate and blood pressure.
This puts a lot of stress on your heart and cardiovascular system - and so a negative outlook can impact your heart health over your life.
The tools you need to have a more positive outlook…
Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive changes in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can benefit your physical and mental health.
Here are a few ways in ways that can help you to change your mindset.
1. Set yourself a goal…
You don’t have to limit it to just one, but if you have something to work towards, it will be a shining beacon in the distance.
Recognize that there WILL be problems along the way.
In doing so, you’ll be able to deal with any issues more readily and take them as part of the process rather than having them knock you off-balance unexpectedly. Each step towards your goal will be a positive one.
2. Open up…
Part of the issue with negative thinking is that we can bottle up our emotions so easily. Talking about them can be challenging, but sharing issues with a trusted friend or family member can be a huge burden lifted off your shoulders.
Carrying the weight by yourself is a massive ask for anyone, and if you can talk about any problems you are having out loud rather than just in your head, you’ll find they are easier to solve.
3. Surround yourself with the right people…
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
So, it’s no surprise that if you are hanging around with a bunch of negative Nellies, then they might have the wrong kind of influence on you.
Surrounding yourself with positive thinkers and those who are empathetic to those who don’t think as positively as them will be a step in the right direction.
Listening to those always moaning or complaining won’t head you up the right path. Positive thinkers will lift you, and time in their company will have the right effect on you.
4. Realize that your decisions count…
It’s easy to blame others when things go wrong for us, but taking accountability is a huge step forward.
When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.
This will help you learn from your mistakes and realize that you control your life, not others.
5. Give something back…
A random act of kindness is seen as a selfless gesture, but it can make you feel excellent. Knowing that you’ve made someone else feel good can lift your heart.
Volunteering and helping others less fortunate than yourself can also help to give you a perspective of just how lucky you are.
6. Read Positive Books
Whether it’s a fictional tale with a happy ending, or a positive thinking book full of inspirational quotes, it will help you to get a positive mindset.
Plus you can make a list of all the things you are grateful for and read them daily.
7. Recognize when the negative process starts…
Nipping it in the bud is the key; the earlier you catch it, the better.
Try to use the “Change” tactic mentioned earlier to stop yourself from going down the negative path and allow yourself time to take a breath and redirect your thoughts.
Some people find that NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) is a great way to help them reset their minds. This is a form of psychotherapy where you use a word or action to help your mind to calm down or “reset to positive.”
One way of doing this is to touch your ear whenever you feel particularly happy. This programs the brain to associate this touch with happy feelings. When you are feeling low, touching your ear will help to release the pleasure endorphins and pick you up.
8. Imagine the worst-case scenario…
By this, I mean it’s essential to recognize that the consequences could be dire if you don’t do something about the negativity. Realize why you need to change things and think about the route you definitely don’t want to go down.
But also remember that while you can acknowledge the “worst case scenario” it’s very unlikely to occur in most scenarios.
Perhaps a better way to frame things is, “realistically, what’s the worst that could happen?”
[h3]9. Look after yourself…
It’s essential to exercise and make sure you are eating a healthy diet. Too much of the wrong food can have a negative effect on your overall mood.
Sugar cravings happen, but after the initial “rush,” they will come crashing down on you; therefore, it isn’t a good long-term solution.
Exercising doesn’t mean full-blown gym workouts every day; just a 20-minute brisk walk to get the heart rate up, and you’ll feel good.
You’ve got this!
It’s important to stress that positive thinking won’t immediately solve the issues causing you to feel down. And pretending that everything is amazing when it isn’t can lead to toxic positivity.
If something is wrong…fix it.
But also acknowledge that thinking more positively can help improve your mental and physical health and can ultimately lead to better choices and progress toward your goals.
It will give you the resolution to cope with them efficiently, rise above your problems and deal with them efficiently.
If you want to figure out some other ways to improve habits and help you towards your weight loss goals then have a read of this.