I truly believe that our brain is the most powerful organ we have... it is likely the most complex as well. Not only is it responsible for our conscious thoughts and actions, it controls our subconsciousness. It is the combination of these that impacts how we experience the world AND how the world impacts our holistic being (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual)
Take a moment... I want you to think about your last couple days. Now tell me, what thoughts fill your head? Would you label them as positive, or negative?
Now let's say you are walking down the street with these thoughts. Do you think anyone who would meet you would be able to tell you what’s on your mind?
The answer to number one is up to you. But, the answer number two can be pretty generic. Although people will not be able to tell you exactly what you think, they may more or less have an idea of how you are feeling.
Thoughts are very powerful. They affect your general attitude. The attitude you carry reflects on your appearance, too – unless, of course, you are a great actor.
And it doesn't end there. Your attitude can also affect people around you...it can be positively or negatively infectious.
The type of attitude you carry depends on you. It can be either positive or negative... beneficial or detrimental.
Positive thoughts have a filling effect. They are invigorating effect. Plus, the people around a person carrying positive thoughts are usually energized by this type of attitude.
Negative thoughts on the other hand have a sapping effect on other people. Aside from making you look gloomy and sad, negative thoughts can turn a meeting or gathering that is meant to be positive and uplifting, into a dreaded energy sucking time.
A positive attitude attracts people, while a negative attitude repels them. People tend to shy away from those who carry a negative attitude.
We can also define attitude as the way of looking at the world. If you choose to focus on the negative things in the world, more or less you have a negative attitude brewing up. However, if you choose to focus on the positive things, you are more likely to carry a positive attitude.
You have much to gain from a very positive attitude. For one, studies have shown that a positive attitude promotes better health. Those with this kind of attitude also have more friends. Projecting a positive attitude also helps a person handle stress and problems better than those who have a negative attitude. While a storm can be brewing around you, calm people can withstand it, use willpower to get through it, and when they get pushed down, get back up and bounce back.
A positive attitude begins with a healthy self-image. If you love the way you are and are satisfied, confident, and self-assured, you also make others around feel the same way. A positive mental attitude can help you see what you have to offer and seek ways to contribute.
A negative attitude, on the other hand, has, of course, an opposite effect. So, carrying a negative attitude has a twofold drawback. You feel bad about yourself, and this energy transfers onto others.
If you want to have a positive attitude, you have to feature healthy thoughts. This can seem very hard to do nowadays given our third wave of the covid-19 pandemic and being inundated with negative or unrealistic media feeds.
Although it is almost impossible to shelter ourselves from the negative things around us, you can still carry a positive attitude by focusing on the good people and events around you, the positive small steps you might be taking to move forward, and the joyful things in life.
And this positive attitude you now carry can be of benefit to other people. Now I'm not saying you need to be that bubbly, optimistic do-gooder person. You can have a positive impact on others by trying to see opportunities during difficult times... by simply smiling, nodding, or waving to others as you go about your day!
If a positive attitude is lovely, why do people choose to adopt a negative attitude instead? One who carries a negative or pessimistic attitude may be actually sending a signal for attention. Before you get me wrong, feeling sad, angry, or gloomy is not wrong itself. But dwelling on these thoughts for far too long is not healthy either. Shifting perspective can be very empowering - seeing problems as something you can overcome, not simply to endure.
There are definitely going to be times where being positive is going to be hard and take extra effort and focus... and it is these times that grow us and set the tone for further positive dynamics and soon the momentum can shift group think from negative to positive AND from being a recipient of the world effects TO impacting how the world can impact others while improving your own environment.
You do not have much to lose by adopting a healthy, positive attitude. Studies show that such an attitude actually retards aging (less furrows and stress lines on our face), makes you healthier, helps you develop a better stress coping mechanism, and has a very positive effect on all the people you meet every day. So, what's not to like about a positive attitude?
So now that you understand the importance of a positive attitude... how can you cultivate it in your life?
5 Steps Toward a Positive Attitude Life
1️⃣ Committing to a positive attitude shift: I truly believe that no one person really wants to live in pessimism and negativity. Now that you've committed to positivity, write positive affirmation everywhere (words, pictures, thoughts) - in your day timer, on your mirror, on your desk, as a calendar reminder, as a screen saver on your phone or computer. Positivity breeds positivity so surround yourself with positive reflections.
2️⃣ Taking time for self-reflection: on past and current situations and events - how you reacted to them and how they impacted your attitude. Taking time to reflect on how you could have reacted differently or chosen different more positive approach.
3️⃣ Take time to practice self-love by improving yourself through:
a) Exercise which stimulates healthy brain chemicals, builds energy for each day, and improves self-confidence as our body shape and tone improves.
b) Nutrition - clean eating with a balanced diet and limiting processed foods can help improve energy and mental wellbeing. Vitamin & mineral deficiencies (e.g. B12, omegas) are associated with mental fog and worsening mood.
c) Self-growth - get inspired by reading a new book, learning a new skill or hobby, advancing a current skill or area of knowledge
4️⃣ Practicing Positivity - when you catch yourself in a negative state, having a negative reaction, or self-doubt, take a moment... take a moment to acknowledge the thought and identify your part in these feelings/reaction. Okay, now cut yourself some slack for being in this negative state, but then commend yourself for being committed to change. Now think about how to alter your thinking, approach, feelings to shift to a more positive state. You And Only You are responsible for your reactions and You Have The Power to shift to a more positive state.
5️⃣ Surround yourself with positive people - their positivity will rub off on you. To further improve, ask them to keep you accountable for your attitude - give you feedback when your attitude shifts to the negative side of life. You must be open to this feedback and be willing to go back to previous steps to once again shift to more positivity!
When you’re stressed out, do you turn to ‘comfort’ foods – pastas, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution.
When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.
Foods that Fight Stress
If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.
Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:
Putting Together Your Diet Plan
Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.
When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.
Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.
In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.
A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries
Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts
Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate
Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables
Before bed: Chamomile tea
Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good idea! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.
Cindy is an experienced RN(NP) residing in Southern Manitoba, Canada, with a passion to support her patients looking and feeling their best at every age. This blog is to support patients in gaining knowledge about skincare, medical aesthetics procedures, and health & wellness practices. It is her goal to share the knowledge she gains from continuous reading of research, and regular continuing professional development sessions. Pursuit of personal and professional growth is paramount to Cindy and she loves to share this learning with her patients.