The Benefits of Having a “Sustainability Mindset”
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I want you to expand on two situations.
Situation one: You have just had something horrible happen to you early in the morning. Whether or not it is emotional, physical, or both, it has altered your mindset. You focus on that one bad experience all day, and now you are not performing at your usual 100%. Maybe because you are focusing on this, you go into and leave some form of an assessment thinking you have already done poorly. Simply because you’ve made an unconscious or conscious choice to focus on this negative experience, you are now going to bed at the end of the day with the negative energy trapped within you and you’ll wake up with the same negativity, hurling you into another negative day.
Situation two: You have just had something horrible happen to you early in the morning. Whether or not it is emotional, physical or both, it has minorly altered your mindset. Rather than choosing to focus on that bad experience all day, you set a timer of 5-10 minutes to be as upset as you want to be. After that 5-10 minute timer has finished, let’s say you take 2 minutes worth of time to focus on calming your breathing. Now that you have expelled this negative energy, and brought your mind to a neutral point, you take another minute to think about how you can resolve this issue if it’s something that requires attention (i.e. a deadline you weren’t prepared for). Now that you have not only expelled the negative energy, but you’ve figured out whether or not there’s a solution to the issue, you can completely let go of the negative experience itself. Since you’ve done this, you walk into an assessment (similar to situation one), but rather than assuming how you will perform due to the negative energy, you can go into the assessment with a clear and positive mindset by simply telling yourself “I’ve got this!”, which has been proven to improve your results! Since you’ve made a conscious decision to change a negative mindset into a positive one, the rest of your day is more enjoyable and you are not going to bed at the end of the day full of negative vibrations.
I ask that you reflect on these two situations I’ve outlined. How did they make you feel simply by reading them? Did you find situation one to stress you out? Did situation two have a stronger positive effect in your opinion? I know I personally resonate and relate more with situation two, simply because those are the practices I follow. I have noticed that maintaining a positive mindset makes the other aspects of my life more enjoyable!
Why should I develop a more positive mindset?
Although it may seem like my intentions are to push a positive agenda, there have been many studies that have proven that just thinking more positively can have noticeable benefits on both one’s psychological and physical health. A study performed by Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H and her colleagues in the medical department at Johns Hopkins University proved that people with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years, compared to those with a more negative outlook. This study was still found to be applicable to people with a family history of cardiovascular disease with the most risk factors for coronary artery disease, where positive people from the general population were 13 percent less likely than their negative counterparts to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular issues. Many studies also found out that by being more positive, your immune system is much stronger against the common cold and the flu. Not only are there physical effects by being more positive, but numerous studies around the world have also concluded that by having a more positive mindset people:
- Are less stressed,
- have greater confidence levels (this also boosts personal success!),
- feel happier and more fulfilled overall,
- have more energy,
- have better psychological health and coping mechanisms,
- have more enjoyable social interactions and,
- are more likely to make wiser decisions that appeal to them.
How to think positive thoughts!
Now that you’re aware of the many benefits of having a positive outlook, you may find yourself wondering where to begin! Lo and behold, here is an easily accessible list in order from the smallest (and most affordable) ways to be more positive, to techniques that may require some practice, habit building and possibly a little bit of cash. (Anything indicated with * is something I have personally done that works for me! Please be mindful that not everything works for everyone, but it never hurts to try something new and adapt if it doesn’t work 😊)
1. When you wake up, start your day by saying one thing to be grateful for (ie. “I am grateful to have a warm, comfy bed to wake up in”) Alternative: start off by saying a positive affirmation (ie. “Today will be a spectacular day”)*
2. Play some upbeat music, or your favourite song while you get ready to boost your serotonin levels1 *
3. Surround yourself2 with people who are generally more positive, or make you feel good about yourself! Energy is contagious 😊*
4. Literally do ANYTHING that brings you joy!*
5. Focus on the present! Not yesterday, not 3 hours ago... focus on NOW.*
6. Be so grateful for everything!*
7. Retrain your thoughts to practice positive thinking every day! (ie. Turn “I shouldn’t have tried” into “That didn’t work out as planned… maybe next time I can do this...”*
8. If something turns out unexpectedly, reflect on the situation and see how you can improve the results next time!*
9. If you become anxious or stressed, take a few minutes to be upset (I like to call this my temper time), and then take a few minutes to breathe following a rhythmic pattern of your choice (ie. square breathing of 5 seconds in, 5 second hold, 5 seconds out and repeat, but deep breaths are also sufficient).*
10. Buy a coffee for someone you care about! Remember, energy is contagious! (approx. cost: $2-$5)3*
11. Start a gratitude journal! Write in it as often as you can and fill it with everything that makes you smile and feel good! Dedicate a journal where you only write in it for this purpose! To go the extra mile, you can even buy a special pen that you only use in your gratitude journal! (approx. cost: $5-$20)*4
Now that you know the benefits of positive thinking and how you can practice it every day, try it out! You’ll probably notice a positive difference in your everyday life5, but if you don’t remember that there are NO negative outcomes!!!
NOTE: 1: serotonin: the happy hormone!
2: surround yourself is being used hypothetically. Please remember to follow any and all COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines in your area 😊
3, 4: price ranges depending on what you buy and where
5: like most practices, results usually take time to be noticeable! Be patient with yourself and push through even when it gets tricky 😊
Alton, Larry. “7 Practical Tips to Achieve a Positive Mindset.” SUCCESS, 11 June 2020, www.success.com/7-practical-tips-to-achieve-a-positive-mindset/.
Cherry, Kendra. “How Can Positive Thinking Benefit Your Mind and Body?” Verywell Mind, 1 June 2020, www.verywellmind.com/benefits-of-positive-thinking-2794767.
“The Power of Positive Thinking.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking.
Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. “Benefits of Thinking Positively, and How to Do It.” Edited by Timothy J Legg, Healthline, 2019, www.healthline.com/health/how-to-think-positive.
“What Are the Benefits of Positive Thinking?” Always Greater, 17 June 2020, alwaysgreater.com/benefits-of-positive-thinking-attitude/.