Health, Lifestyle

Learning to be optimistic: 5 tips for positive thinking

Those who look ahead confidently are not only happier, have more friends, and sleep better (1) and is less prone to Colds, depressions or cardiovascular disease (2), but can count on recovery in the event of illness, endure pain better and even live longer (3).

The fact is that optimism is partly inherited from the cradle; Upbringing as well as life experiences also contribute a part. But the positive view of things can also be learned. We’ve put together five tips and exercises to help you bring positive thinking into your life.

Positive self-image

One of the most famous exercises in psychology is the so-called Best Possible Self (4). To do this, write about your best possible self in the future. To do this, choose an area of ​​life, for example personality, relationship, job or health. Now imagine in detail that everything went extremely well: You developed your strengths, seized opportunities and pursued goals. This task can take 20 minutes.

Then put what you have written aside and let the situation sink in. Read the text a few days later and keep walking in the self-image you have painted. The aim is not to achieve this ideal, but to draw motivation and strength for new challenges.

Everyone is the maker of his or her happiness

Optimists are not just people who believe that good things will happen or that the future is worth striving for. Another aspect is self-efficacy: confident people believe that through their actions they can make a difference and cope with difficult situations; that gives them a sense of control. Or, as Winston Churchill put it so beautifully, an optimist sees every challenge as an opportunity, whereas a pessimist sees every opportunity as a challenge.

Those who want to learn optimism say goodbye to their victim role and take matters into their own hands. Have confidence in yourself and in your abilities. Encourage yourself to act by saying to yourself, I can do it, I can do it! Assess your own possibilities and take on the challenge in small steps. Be realistic about it; failure is inevitable through perfectionism – and confidence in it.

Should you still make a mistake, stand by it and book it as an experience. It’s guaranteed to work better next time.

Say Cheese!

How we feel strongly depends on the autonomic nervous system. Among other things, it controls the heartbeat, breathing and digestion and can be divided into sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric nervous systems. If, for example, danger threatens, the sympathetic system prepares the body for attack or flight; once the threat has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system ensures relaxation and recovery. The enteric nervous system runs through almost the entire gastrointestinal tract and reports stimuli to the brain.

 

Hold on to gratitude

In the daily monotony, moments of happiness can quickly go under – and gratitude makes you optimistic in the long term. To do this, keep a diary in which you write down three things that you are happy about every evening. Pay particular attention to the supposed little things: the praise of the colleague, the small breakthrough in a tricky task or the particularly delicious food.

Do this exercise every evening for a week at the beginning and whenever you feel like it. Success quickly sets in, because writing gives more space to positive thoughts than negative experiences. This will make you less pessimistic about things, less setback and more enjoyable life.

 

Having a headache is unhealthy

Of course, nobody is completely free from negative thoughts, fears and worries. These are also important to identify risks and act accordingly. However, it is not very helpful to keep brooding: Instead of acting, we fixate on crises, defeats and problems. The whole thing swings up quickly and leaves us with fainting, sadness or anger Trouble sleeping prepare.

The first step is to accept the headache as a waste of time. Circling the same topics over and over again doesn’t lead to a solution. Also, ask whether the problem you are facing is temporary. Then letting go is even better.

If the thought carousel starts to turn anyway, say “Stop!” Inwardly. It is even better to say the word out loud. Or try to give structure to thinking: What obstacle can you currently overcome? Which tasks can you currently master? Feel free to seek advice from a person you trust so that you can find a realistic solution together.

Life holds challenges, crises and setbacks in store for everyone. Instead of falling into destructive brooding, it is important to think about solutions and confidently tackle the problem step by step. So you can grow on it at the same time.

Positive thinking can also be encouraged by recording little things in everyday life or by giving your fellow human beings a smile. If the moment does not allow it, tricks like a pin clamped between the molars help. Give your castles in the air space and imagine your best possible self in the future in order to fill up with motivation and strength for the next hurdle.

 

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