Continuing my ‘Happy Brain’ series, in this post I look at the power of Positive Thinking and how it contributes to a Happy Brain!
In my previous post I shared some of my positive actions and how I benefit from them. One positive action was my plan to run a Personal Best at the Poppy Remembrance half marathon. This required lots of training and dedication to my goal. Unfortunately, I suffered an injury and despite lots of rest and amazing osteopathic treatment at the Carlton clinic, I had to make the decision to withdraw from the race.
I have to admit that negative thoughts threatened to overwhelm me. Even though my clients think I am the most positive person ever! But, being totally honest, for me thinking positively in this situation was very difficult. All my hard work and training gone to waste.
Even though, I know the benefits of positive thinking so well (in my rational brain), when faced with this personal setback, my brain was not thinking positive happy thoughts!
Fortunately, I was able to pull myself back from the brink. I put my trust in what my rational brain was telling me. Do I stay annoyed and become more stressed? Or do I take positive action and move forward?
- Rest and recover
- Change from a half marathon to a 5K race
- Get back to enjoying yoga and cycling
Magically, life began to feel much more manageable and purposeful.
It’s not the events in our lives that cause us stress! It’s how we deal with them that matters.
Your thoughts are not you!
“It is so liberating to be able to see that your thoughts are just thoughts and that they are not ‘you’ or ‘reality’.” Jon Kabat-Zin
I explain to my clients repeatedly, that when we change our thoughts we can change the outcome. Thoughts are constant always coming and going. And they do affect how you feel. But you can control them, because they all come from you.
Have you ever wondered about thoughts? Scientists estimate that we have 50,000- 70,000 thoughts a day ! And it is estimated that 70-80% of these are negative. It is very difficult to confirm these figures, but it does seem that our busy minds are wired for negativity. Whch makes sense if you think about survival in primitive times. It’s much more important to think big bear in the dark forest rather than fluffy bunny!
According to a neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., our minds naturally focus on the bad and discard the good. The amygdala, which is like an alarm system in our brains, is on a constant quest to find bad news. Hanson explains that in order for positive events and experiences to hold their own against these equally intense negative ones, we need to purposely focus on them for much longer.
Many of my clients realise that they overthink things. They are constantly worried or thinking obsessively about what might go wrong – catastrophising! Or ruminating about events from their past. It is natural to assume hat we have no control over our thoughts. It feels like they come from nowhere and that we are stuck with them.
How Our Thoughts Feed Into Our State of Mind
Every time we have a thought our brain creates a chemical. Good thoughts create chemicals that make us happy. Bad thoughts create chemicals that bring us down.
So can we train our brains to think more about the good things in our lives and less on the bad?
Yes! The brain is malleable and can be retrained. I like to use the analogy of a radio station playing in the background. You can tune into any station but some of them are unhelpful. So switch the channel and tune into the ones you like instead.
We know that to improve any skill we need to practise.
Actively choose to focus on the positive over the negative. And be hopeful not fearful! When life presents you with a challenge, choose to focus on what we can do, what we could do differently. How we would like things to be? What’s possible ?
Top tip for thinking positively
‘Focus on what you want. Not what you don’t want!’
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can facilitate this change in your way of thinking. It uses repetition of success in the past, present and future to encourage you to thinkg more about success and less about failure.
It focuses on solutions not problems, leading to a conversation that is positive and which builds on your strengths, skills and resources.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy uses indirect hypnotic trance to consolidate the benefits of this useful solution focused conversation.
So Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a useful tool on many levels to help retrain your brain for positivity.
You can’t change the way you think overnight. But the more we practise positive thinking and focus on the positive in our lives, the more we will build up strength and resilience. So that when faced with a tough situation we are better equipped to manage it.
Positive thinking is a life skill that helps you attain happiness, success and good health.
Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and how I could help you.