NCTV Episode 11
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- How your thinking links to your health
- The health benefits of stress management
- Effects of negative and positive thinking
- How to decrease the negativity
- Ways to increase your positivity
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV, providing you bitesize bits to help your health flourish. This is episode 11 on week 9 of UK lockdown and today’s Corona Chronicle topic is all about the power of positive thinking.
So when it comes to the mind, we all have a choice as to how we think. Both positive and negative thoughts come naturally but it’s the ones you pay the most attention to that dictate your state of mental or physical wellbeing.
If you tend to focus more on the doom and gloom side of things, know that you’re far from alone but you’re also not doing your stress levels or overall wellbeing any favours.
There are clear connections between your thinking and physical health, for example, a study found that positive people were 13% less likely than their negative counterparts to have a heart attack.
The Mayo Clinic also notes that the positive thinking that usually comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management.
And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits such as increased lifespan, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical wellbeing, better cardiovascular health and better coping skills during hardships.
The trouble is, our brains are naturally wired to keep us safe based on negative emotions. An example of this is the fear, fight or flight response where if you see something scary, the brain goes into single response mode and nothing else matters at that time.
Negative emotions can therefore control us and dictate our actions, keeping us in that continual state of stress & survival mode if we let it, reducing our clarity of thought and judgement.
A positive mindset leads to the opposite result and broadens your mind which allows you to build more skills and resources that can provide value in all areas of your life and wellbeing.
To increase the positivity, first, it’s good to look at how to reduce the negativity:-
- A great start is to look at your filters, what you pay attention to feeds your brain and so it matters, a lot. This could be the books you read, or news articles & social media feeds for that matter, also the programs you watch, the music you listen to or the people you hang around with, for example. Flush out anything that promotes fear, anxiety or depression and replace it with things that are more positive, upbeat, educational or fulfilling.
- Stop the negative self-talk, such as phrases like “I can never do so & so, I always mess up or I’m the worst at that” Know that these are just thoughts and not facts. Check the facts if you have to and you’ll see the majority of the time these self-loathing statements are untrue. Instead, talk back to your limiting beliefs by reframing them and saying something like, “Just because I haven’t always been good at this in the past, it doesn’t mean I can’t be great at it now”. Another technique is to name your inner voice something ridiculous and picture it with outrageous physical attributes, make it cartoonish and mock it for it’s rigid dedication to negativity. The better you become at distinguishing this voice from the real you, the better you’ll be at preventing limiting beliefs to get in your way. The next time you hear your negative voice, simply roll your eyes and ask it to keep its opinions to itself.
- Questions focus the mind. Staying positive is a daily challenge that requires focus and attention. By asking yourself questions like “what could I do to make this a more positive experience?” prepares your mind to find the answer
- Speaking of focus, the next step is to train your mind to look for the positives, even if you’ve had a bad day, there will always be something to be grateful for, no matter how small it seems. Starting a gratitude journal can help with this. This is something my wife Rachael has recommended to her primary school children she teaches, who have used it to good effect whilst they’ve been in lockdown. Simply jot down something positive that either happened that day, that you’re generally glad to have in your life, or that they’re looking forward to in future. This shifts the attention away from the negative thoughts, improving your mood and energy and reducing your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
That’s it for this week, remember as Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” And as Michael Jordon suggests “Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” Bye bye for now.