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Or is it half full?
Your perspective influences the choices that you make and your health.
For example, if your cup is half empty, you may feel defeated, exhausted, and unwilling to push yourself. But if it’s half full, you might feel empowered and motivated. The only difference is how you see it.
But what happens when the bright side becomes dogma? What happens when you hold on to the positive with such tenacity that you refuse to see reality?
When we decide to be positive and only surround ourselves with positive people, we end up focusing on the positive and ignoring the negative. So much so that a positive mindset just seems—well, false.
Researchers at Michigan State University recently published a paper in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. For the first time, they give data showing that certain people are hardwired to see a positive outcome while others are hardwired to see a negative outcome—even when asked to look on bright side.
Lead researcher Jason Moser explains, “It’s the first time we’ve been able to find a brain marker that really distinguishes negative thinkers from positive thinkers.”
Here’s the kicker: Positive thinkers have less active brains than worriers.
If you have ever experienced anxiety or depression, that may come as no surprise. Worry, anxiety, and depression turns the mind into a state of turmoil—maybe this is why some meditation gurus have described calming the mind as wrestling with the tiger. With every turn, our thoughts leave us feeling indecisive and fearful.
This study tells us that when we ask a worrier to be positive, we are really just adding fuel to the fire—helping them kick up a storm of doubt, uncertainty, and turmoil.
But what if we ask a worrier to think less? Or even better, what if we teach a worrier how to think less?
The key to a positive mindset may not be more positive thoughts, but just less thoughts altogether.
When we are able to quiet the mind and think less, we will naturally move into a positive mindset.
When the mind is quiet, it’s not trying to be positive. A quiet mind observes more, sees more opportunity (as well as opposition), and is more firmly rooted in reality.
One of the most popular ways to quiet the mind and think less is through meditation. While there are many styles of meditation to choose from, it’s important to support the body while practicing.
Because gut bacteria directly make neurotransmitters that affect the brain, I like to drink a little coconut water kefir early in the morning and in the evening. These are also my favorite times to meditate.
Have you found that a quiet mind makes you more positive? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!
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