This week on Episode 080 of Productivity Paradox, we talk about changing our perspectives so that we can cultivate a happier life. We discuss focusing on shifting our mindset, the importance of identifying negative self-talk and thoughts, and five practices to help shift our perspective.
Today, I wanted to explore other ways that we can inspire a positive outlook by giving ourselves the space to be more optimistic. Studies show that optimists tend to make more money than pessimists, get sick less often, have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and are likely to enjoy a longer life.
Optimists have also been found to be happier, more creative, faster at solving problems and have increased mental alertness when compared to pessimists… Sounds pretty intriguing, right?
When put into practice, gratitude rewires your brain to think about positive things. So, when you start thinking about the things you have going for you, instead of obsessing about things you don’t have… expressing gratitude for the things that you do have trains your brain to notice the good in your life more often.
For me, expressing gratitude when I wake up sets a positive tone for my entire day. I encourage you to give it a try! You could do it first thing in the morning, or you could write down a quick note of gratitude while you’re drinking your morning coffee… Any way that you can cultivate this habit early in your day will help you learn how to recognize and to appreciate all of the great things that life has to offer.
This can be as grand as volunteering with an organization that you admire, or simply spending some time helping close friends and family. When you recognize what others have and what they do not compared to yourself, it’s easier to cultivate gratitude.
Sometimes when we are experiencing our own hardship, it’s empowering to see that we can still help others, which often inspires optimism as a result.
Whether it comes to spending time with inspirational people in your life or picking up a few motivational books to read… Hearing how others are persevering inspires our own perseverance in return. When we hear stories of others with similar struggles who were able to rise above and come out on the other side, it gives us hope—the foundation of optimism.
Simply reading and hearing inspirational stories can help encourage you to become more optimistic every day.
It is no secret that the people that you allow into your circle will help shape your perspective. So, if you’re spending time with a group of pessimists, it’s difficult to break out of that negative mindset!
It’s important that we break away from perpetuating pessimism when and where we can… If you find yourself surrounded by negative people, I encourage you to shift this so that you are able to spend time with other people who offer a more positive world view. By doing so, you’ll likely start cultivating a similar mindset for yourself.
It’s incredibly important to remember that what other people say or do is most often a reflection of their reality, not yours.
Instead of tuning into what other people think so much, keep in mind that you can disagree with other’s opinions and stick to your own without their comments affecting you.
This one can certainly be easier said than done, but the idea here about forgiveness is that… When you make peace with the past, it stops it from spoiling the present!
Optimists have the ability to forgive and to move forward in their relationships, allowing happiness to flourish.
This may also seem a little easier said than done depending on how your day has been moving along… but research shows that smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, reduces the intensity of the body’s stress response regardless of whether you feel happy or not.
The act of smiling releases serotonin, which is a hormone that contributes to the feeling of well-being and helps to create a happier, more positive environment.
When we do something simple and kind for someone else, it not only gives the person benefiting from our act of kindness a boost of happiness… but us as well!
Send a thank you note or email to someone you appreciate, buy a stranger’s cup of coffee in the morning on your way to work, donate a few dollars to a charitable cause, or simply try offering someone a genuine compliment… Any act of kindness that you can do to pay it forward is a sure way to put a positive spin on your day.
When we feel lousy, it becomes easier and easier to complain… In order to encourage optimism, it’s important that we recognize when we start using negative language that often clouds our perspective.
The next time that you start to complain about something, stop and ask yourself if the complaints are really true. Reducing our tendency to complain by shifting our attention to thinking of ways out or around the situation at hand can help turn your outlook from negative to positive.
Exercising is one of my favorite ways to reduce stress and inspire a happier, more optimistic outlook on life.
Getting your heart rate up for 20 minutes a day has been proven to elevate your endorphins, serotonin, and other pleasurable brain chemicals… Doing some simple exercises at home, stretching or going on a couple of walks can help put yourself in a better mood and set you up for a brighter disposition each day!
Have some ideas that have helped to inspire optimism in your own life? I want to hear about them! I would love for you to share your tips & tricks in the comment section below.
And be sure to tune in to Episode 080 of Productivity Paradox to learn more about the importance of shifting your perspective so that you can allow happiness to flourish.