Near the end of a stressful day, you can end up with a lot of unhappy chemicals in your quest to stimulate the happy ones. There are a number of reasons why our brains go from positive to negative, sometimes very quickly. That bad feeling is a chemical by the name of cortisol and it has its own survival purpose. It actually alerts us we’ve found an obstacle so that we can navigate around it and back to our good feelings. The problem is that once we do that, our brains are back on the hunt for finding the next obstacle or problem. This is why a lot of people feel bad more often than others, because they follow their survival brain wherever it may lead them. The good news is that it’s quite simple to rewire this natural negativity in our noggins. Here are 3 tips to train your brain to be more positive:
1. Build Yourself A New Positivity Habit
Negativity can swallow any of us whole, if we let it. To avoid that, build yourself a new positivity habit. To do that, spend one minute, 3 times a day, looking for positives that surround you. Try to do this for at least 45 days to form the habit. This exercise will train your brain to look for positives the way it is already trained to look for the negatives.
It’s hard to go positive when everyone around you is going negative. Your mammal brain wants to run when the rest of the herd runs. In the state of nature, you’d end up in the jaws of a predator if you ignored your group-mates’ threat signals and waited to see the threat for yourself. Mammals bond around shared threats, and fighting the common enemy raises a mammal’s status within its group. If you ignore the perceived threats that animate your group mates, you will probably pay the price in social rewards. Positivity has a cost, but the benefit is greater.
2. Accept That Positivity Isn’t Popular
It’s really, really hard to remain positive when everyone around you is going negative in a heartbeat. Our mammal brains want us to run when the rest of the herd runs. Ever notice how us humans bond around shared threats and fighting the common enemy? That’s the way we’re wired. So yes, if you ignore the negatives your coworkers, business partner, or friends are spewing at you, you will probably pay the price in social rewards, because positivity does have a cost, but the benefit is greater – like a clear head and a happy heart.
3. What To Do When Your Cortisol Spikes
Though it’s straight natural to have a survival-threat feeling when your efforts fail to bring immediate visible rewards, you just have to remind yourself that your survival is not actually being threatened. As we know, a majority of the most amazing achievements came from efforts that did not bring immediate, visible rewards and results. When your results are disappointing, adjust your expectations and move forward to take another step.
What do you do to stay positive? Let us know in the comments!
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