Once you’ve learned how to clear your head of daily worries with the basics of mindfulness, such as deep breathing and being present, the next step is to shift your state of mind. If stress has been causing you to have negative thoughts, try switching your direction and think positive. Look on the bright side this Monday and spread sunshine everywhere you go!
In addition to making you feel better about your daily life, adopting an optimistic point of view is great for reducing stress. A 2013 study from the Concordia University Department of Psychology found that levels of cortisol – also known as the stress hormone – were lower in people who had a more positive outlook. People who considered themselves optimists were found to have the highest levels of cortisol first thing in the morning; as the day progressed, their cortisol levels dropped as they managed their stress.
Looking on the bright side is the next logical step in building your mindfulness practice. If you feel like you’re going through a stressful time, replace the thoughts that trigger stress with a more positive spin. For example, if there is a deadline you need to meet, think of it as a finish line. Reaching a finish line means victory and a job well done.
When you sit down for your mindfulness practice, take the time to calm your mind first. Do a deep breathing exercise for a minute or more. Then concentrate on the current moment. Now that you’re present, allow any worries or negative thoughts to enter your mind… and then flip them to something positive. If it feels like an exercise, that’s okay! This is how to build a practice. Eventually, thinking more positively will be second nature.
It’s healthy to have and acknowledge negative thoughts. The important thing to remember is that you can change your mind about how to approach those thoughts. You can change shift them from negative to positive. When you start confronting the source of your negative thoughts, you can begin to manage them instead of dreading them. With the help of mindfulness, you can also learn to let frustrating and stressful moments pass.
Spend this Monday in a positive state of mind. It will do your mind a lot of good!