Keeping with the theme of gratitude it only seems fitting to explore positive thinking. Seemingly so simple it is easy to overlook how important this tool is to our development, success and happiness. Positive thinking has been studied and the results are fabulous!
Barbara Fredrickson has been researching the effects of positive thinking and published a white paper that has positive thinking advocates like me excited. Before we get to the benefits of positivity, let’s first explore what happens when we are exposed to negative emotions such as anger or fear.
It focuses our attention on one thing
Hard to think or focus on anything other than the threat
Close off the outside world, including possible opportunities and resources
Negative emotions are more intense and last longer than positive emotions
What are the effects of these stress responses? Our focus becomes honed in on the threat and the negative emotion becomes all consuming. In this state we do not see the opportunities or resources available to us. It impacts our ability to problem solve and releasing the negative emotions can be very difficult. Additionally the hormones released during the stress response deteriorate the body and our health (which is another blog post entirely). So what is so different about positive thinking?
Emotions only last minutes, but benefits last much longer
Opens us up to possibilities and resources
Greater attention and ability to think which aides in development of new skills and resources
So what does this mean for us? Although positive emotions are less gripping and last a short time, it builds skills and resources that stay with us. Some of the resources that can develop are: cognitive (clear focus), psychological (ability to manage challenges effectively), social (greater empathy), and physical (improved immune system). When participants in the study experienced positive emotions they reported a greater desire to take action, developed better friendships, had happier marriages, higher income, lived longer and improved their overall health.
Creating positive thought patterns is the same as building a new muscle and needs consistency and time to grow. Next week’s blog will discuss tools to build your positive thinking muscle and the following week will explore reiki’s benefits on releasing negativity and building positivity in your lives.
If negative emotions are centre stage in your life and you are ready to take control toward a happier future book a reiki session today! Let us support you in bringing light and happiness into your life.