Take 5: Positivity

Be positive! A few tips from our regular columnist on all things wellbeing-related, Liggy Webb. 

The more we learn about the human mind the more we can appreciate how incredible it is. The latest research has indicated that we have tens of thousands of thoughts a day and the quality of those thoughts ultimately shape the quality of our lives and the impact we may have on others.

So, to be clear positive thinking isn’t about burying your head in the sand and denying anything unpleasant or difficult as some may believe. With a positive attitude you can also recognise the negative aspects of a situation.

Curious minds are active minds, and active minds become smart minds.

How you think about and deal with those situations however is critical in terms of how you can influence the outcomes. By acknowledging any negatives and then making a conscious decision to focus on the hope and opportunity that is available is far more helpful.

This releases you from getting locked in a paralysing loop of negative emotion and allows you to bounce back from adversity and challenging experiences.

Here are five ways that you can think more positively:

  • Listen to yourself. The way that you programme your mind and the vocabulary that you use will have a profound effect on the way you feel. Words are nutrients for the mind and the quality of the thoughts that you feed yourself with make a big contribution to your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

When you use words like can’t, won’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t you will immediately begin to create obstacles and excuses which lead to self-limitation. Take time to listen to yourself and the language you use and reframe some of the negative words and phrases into something more positive and emotionally nourishing.

  • Be curious. The urge to explore and seek out new things will help you to remain vigilant and gain knowledge about your constantly changing environment. This may explain why your brain releases dopamine and other feel-good chemicals when you encounter new things. Curious minds are active minds, and active minds become smart minds.

  • Embrace lifelong learning. We are all people in progress and setting yourself new goals and challenges will help you to embrace lifelong learning. There are multiple health benefits as you grow older to keeping your mind stimulated and learning new things.

A study from the Stanford School of Medicine found that having a positive attitude towards learning has the potential to boost the functions of the brain’s memory and performance independent of confounding factors such as IQ.

I also strongly recommended checking out the work of Carol Dweck who has pioneered some excellent work around cultivating a growth mindset.

  • ‘Learn’ not ‘fail’. Replace the word fail with the word learn. Remember you were born to be real, not perfect and real people make mistakes. You absolutely do not need to beat yourself up and give yourself a hard time when you get something wrong. Some of the most powerful experiences in your life will be born from your biggest learning opportunities.  

  • Redefine genius. The myth has now been broken. Being a genius requires a blend of curiosity, commitment, hard work and not just talent alone. Adopting a growth and a positive mindset can help you to explore and tap into abilities you never even knew you had.

As a work in progress, every day unfolds a new chapter in your life and a brand-new opportunity to unleash and crown your inner genius.


About the author

Liggy Webb is a resilience and wellbeing expert and the founder of the Learning Architect. You can buy copies of Liggy’s new book here.


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