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How to Stay Positive? These 4 Methods Work
Do you want to be more positive? Maybe you already think of yourself as a ‘glass half-full’ kind of person but you are feeling that life’s challenges are making your positive thoughts get a little shaky?
We all find ourselves being dragged down by events out of control sometimes, but here are a few ways to help you keep that smile –
Balance the forces
When times start to get tough and you are starting to feel down on yourself, sometimes you need to get out there and start tipping the balance the other way. Seek out the people in your life that have a positive outlook – give them a call, invite them out for lunch or go and see a funny movie together. On the other hand, you may need to limit the time you spend with your more toxic friends and family. Our thoughts and attitude to life is contagious – make sure you only ‘catch’ the positive!
By the same token, make sure you schedule some regular time to turn off the television, computer, tablet and phone. Technology has brought some wonderful benefits to our lives, but the constant chatter of twitter, facebook and other media can eat into our feelings of calm and positivity. Regaining control of the electronic devices in your life can really help in your quest of how to stay positive.
Get out there!
Exercise is one of the ‘magic bullets’ of staying positive. When you exercise lovely feel-good brain chemicals (endorphins) are released, with the levels staying higher in your body for hours afterwards. Exercising regularly will cause the endorphins to stay around even longer.
For an even more powerful boost exercise outdoors – a recent Australian study (Deakin University) has shown that regular ‘green time’ can decrease stress and symptoms of ADHD, and increase feelings of wellbeing and calmness. This can really help you as you learn how to stay positive.
Learn to meditate
Just as important as exercise for the body, meditation is exercise for the mind. Learning to meditate does not take long and has wonderful benefits throughout the whole of your being. Meditation also increases levels of endorphins and other beneficial chemicals including GABA (stabilizes mood), DHEA (increases memory and feeling of wellbeing) and melatonin (essential for healthy sleep and a well-functioning ‘body clock’).
There is also much work being done looking at the way meditation can improve the brains’ neuroplasticity. Contrary to what has previously been believed our brains retain the ability to change and make new connections throughout our lives. It is possible to teach old dogs new tricks! Meditation, by placing your brain in a more receptive state for learning, can greatly improve your brain’s ability to change – allowing you to eventually hardwire your brain into staying positive!
If you think you don’t have the time to meditate then at least give it the time for a trial – commit to meditating daily (or nearly daily) for a period of 6 weeks and then decide if you can afford to not meditate.
Did you know that petting a dog can have a more rapid effect on your stress and anxiety than taking medication? In a study published by the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, people that petted a dog from only 5 to 25 minutes had a significant decrease in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The effects were almost immediate, compared to using an anti-depressant like Prozac, that can take weeks to have an effect. Other studies have shown similar benefits of interacting with pets.
The results are clear – dogs are good for your health. If circumstances prevent you from owning a dog, borrow one! This must be one of the most fun ways of learning how to stay positive!