As we all know, positive thinking can lead to a fulfilling life, but how can we think positive thoughts when the brain is overwhelmed by negative thoughts? How can we feel and think better without the use of stimulants? Can we do it naturally on our own? According to Alison Ledgerwood, a psychologist, we actually can.
Ledgerwood recently took the stage on a TEDx talk wondering why are we negative most of the time. She says that everyone, including her, think negative by default. When a paper of hers got rejected, it was stuck in her mind even after the publisher accepted another of her papers. Why is our mind wired like that? Can we do something about it and start living a more fulfilling life? Watch Ledgerwood’s talk in the video below and learn the best strategies for positive thinking:
We know that there are different ways of thinking about anything. As the saying goes, the glass can either be half empty or half full, and research has proven that the way you describe the glass to people can change the way they feel about it. This shows that we can change the way we think naturally and shift back and forth. But, what happens in the brain during this process? Alison Ledgerwood tried to answer that question and started doing research on it.
To do this, she did an experiment in which she told the participants about a new surgical procedure. The subjects were divided in two groups – the first group was told about the gains of the procedure, while the second was told about the failure rate of the process. The first group liked the revolutionary procedure better, but after being told that it is successful only 30% of the time, they changed their opinion about it. When the second group was told about the 70% success rate, they still weren’t happy about it, and were stuck in the initial lost frame.
Ledgerwood explains that this study shows that we’re viewing the world in negative by default. It’s easy to go from good to bad, but we can rarely shift from bad to good. We need to work harder to see the positive side of things, and we can train our brain to do it.
An ongoing research the U.C. Davis has shown that writing down about things you’re grateful for every day can significantly improve your mental wellbeing. We can share the good news with everyone and make them happy too. We complain frequently, and forget to share good news with our friends and family whenever we meet them.
However, reshaping the stories in our mind to make them look positive will improve our mood and helps us look more positively on things. We need to think about things from other people’s perspective as well, and be more aware that bad news often stick around. A mean comment can affect a person for up to a week and make them moody and glum, also affecting everyone around them. Bad news are like an epidemic which can quickly get to many people.
Instead of snapping back at someone, forgive them and move on, staying positive and happy. This will transfer to your close environment and set off a positive chain of events that will help you look on the bright side of life.