A life filled with worries, a life filled with peace. What will you choose?
A life filled with despair, a life filled with hope. What will you choose?
A life filled with sadness, a life filled with happiness. What will you choose?
If ever given a chance to choose between negativity and positivity. I am sure almost everyone will be willing to choose the brighter and happier side. That’s the power of positive thinking. Don’t share the same ideology?
Let’s look at an example. When you are feeling good, if anything bad happens around you, you will still feel good. And feel like things are going great.
On the contrary, when things are not going your way. Or when you feel shitty about everything. Then, even a mere problem will create havoc in your life. Simply because you are surrounded by negativity. That does not allow you to see life’s shiny radiance.
Figuring out how a simple negative thought might affect your brain functioning? Let’s dive into understanding the brain’s biochemistry when subjected to two different scenarios.
Negative Thinking And Brain Functioning
To understand the concept of negative thinking better, let’s take it along with an example. Imagine you were walking and suddenly a thief attacked you. When such a situation arises, your visual senses signal your brain an emotion, which in this case is “fear”. Researchers confirm that negative feelings trigger your system for a specific action. Here, you will try to escape without thinking about what’s happening around you. It’s more like nothing matters to you at the moment. Your focus narrows down and you start thinking only about ways to get yourself out of that situation.
In other words, negative thinking narrows down your approach and focus on a limited number of thoughts. For instance, you could ask for help, hit the man with something in your hand, or similar options. But your brain somehow ignores all this or everything seems irrelevant. Although, you won’t encounter any such situations everyday. But, your brain is programmed to act in the same way when you are stressed or depressed.
You will start finding it hard to start or do anything. So much so that you will start feeling paralyzed and the list of “undone tasks” will be topping the charts. You will eventually start feeling bad about it. Thereby, losing all the interest and start feeling lazy without any motivation to start working things out. In short, negativity shuts down your brain’s thinking abilities of finding solutions.
A study published in Neurochemical Research, “Stress and Plasticity in the Limbic System” shed some light on the brain’s activity when subjected to stress or negativity. It showed that the brain was unable to process new things or creative thoughts. Along with that, SPECT imaging confirmed that cerebellum’s activity (a part of the brain that manages coordination, balance, relationships- personal or professional) diminished.
Another scientific evidence revealed that the more you think about something negative, the more connections will develop in the brain that will increase the mesh around negative thoughts. And that further limits the brain’s ability to perform certain functions. Hence, affecting cognition and other important functions.
Positive Thinking And Brain Functioning
One of the famous personalities in the field of psychology, Barbara Fredrickson, conducted a study on the impact of positivity on the brain functioning. In her experiment, she divided the subjects into 5 groups. They were shown different film clips. For instance, two groups were shown clips with positive emotions, one being images of joy and other being images of contentment. Another group was the control group who saw images that produced no emotions. The last two were shown images that induced fear and anger simultaneously.
Once the groups saw their respective pictures, they were asked to pin down their thoughts. The ones who were shown negative images had least number of responses while the ones with joy and contentment had the highest number of responses. In other words, people who experience positive emotions are able to see a plethora of possibilities in their lives. Because they were looking at the bigger picture that made their brain work smartly without any constraints.
Daniel Goleman, author of “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” confirmed that positivity triggers prefrontal activity that further improves a variety of mental functions such as creative thinking, cognitive flexibility, and even faster processing.
In addition to that, positivity widens attention span. Thereby, changing our perception and help us focus more. It’s like you start focusing on “we” more than “me”. Thus, enabling you to form great relationships at work and in your personal life.
Here’s what happens inside your system when you feel happy or contented. Your brain starts forming synapses which are dispersed in different parts of your brain and then to different parts of your body. This part of the brain signals different neurons and allows you to think about what to do next simultaneously. Thus, allowing you to control your emotions and help you focus on a brighter picture.
What is The Benefit of Introducing Positivity in Your Life?
Positivity or thinking positively is not a momentary feeling. The effects do not stop there. Instead, it grows exponentially. And one of the major benefits of positive thoughts is that it helps to improve your skills and help you develop thought process that will help you in later stages of your life.
Barbara Fredrickson refers to this as “broaden and build”. That means positivity induces senses to think of different possibilities that will further allow to develop new techniques and skill sets that will help you a lot in the future. So, think positively and blossom creatively.
“Being in a positive state of mind is more important than you might think as the mind cannot be creative in a negative state. New ideas, thoughts and inspiration will only take place when the mind is positive.”- Joe Hinchliffe
How Can You Increase Positivity in Your Life?
Nobody likes to live in a stressful environment. But, the type of life that we are living nowadays makes us more susceptible to negative thoughts. So, how can you transform your life positively? For starters, do anything that triggers the feelings of happiness, love, joy, or contentment. Here are some ways that help change your perspective towards life.
Research confirms that people who meditate on a regular basis experience joyous emotions more than the ones who don’t do that. Also, the chances of developing higher skill sets increases by multiple folds. Along with that, such individuals are able to display feelings of mindfulness, social support, or decreasing any chances of disease progression associated with stress or anxiety.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, examined two groups of undergraduate students. One of the groups wrote about their happy moment or positive life events while the other wrote about a control topic. After a duration of three months, the students who wrote about joy moments had better mood and elevated bliss hormone levels. Along with fewer visits to any health center.
Like we schedule events, meetings, responsibilities. Similarly, it is very important to schedule some time for playing in your life. So, taking out some time for playing will mean no harm to anyone. Instead, you will feel relaxed and happy because of the overflow of hormones “endorphins” that initiate the happy experiences. And help you build new skill sets.
To sum up,
if you want to be happy, make sure you feed your brain with positive thoughts. This will help to fine tune your life when you grow old. In short positive thinking will induce the following reactions.
- Synapses increase exponentially
- Enhances productivity by improving cognitive abilities
- Improve your ability to focus
- Improve your thinking capabilities
In short, you will be able to solve the nuances of life without any delay. Still, if you think nothing is working out or you are going deep into any psychological disorder. Then, talking to a mental health professional will enhance your chances of reviving happiness back into your life.