Love shouldn’t hurt – ever

Think Positive
by Teresia Smith

Some people naturally find the good in daily life while others only see the bad. Does it really matter which we see? Studies have demonstrated that both can impact your physical and mental health and that being a positive thinker is the better choice.
A recent study  followed 70,000 women from 2004 to 2012 and found that those who were optimistic had a significantly lower risk of dying from several major causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory diseases. There are other benefits to positive thinking too, such as a better quality of life, higher energy, faster recovery from illness, lower rates of depression, better coping skills, and a longer life span.

Positive thinking isn’t a magic pill that will make all of your problems disappear. However, it will make problems seem more manageable and help you approach them in a more positive way.
So how can you retrain your brain to think positive thoughts? There are various techniques that are promoted such as positive self-talk and positive imagery. Positive self-talk is an internal dialogue such as telling yourself “I can do this”, “I am enough”, “It’s okay if I make a mistake”. Positive imagery is used to mentally remove yourself to a happier place in your mind, such as a beach scene where you imagine you can feel the warm breeze on your skin. Some people find it helpful to leave themselves notes around the house reminding them of positive things.

We will all have challenges and difficult times in our lives. When faced with those, the best way to start to retrain your brain is to focus on the good things you know. No matter how small they seem. Sometimes we have to look deep for that silver lining. Once you find that good thing to focus on, practice gratitude. Think of people or things that bring you comfort and happiness and express your gratitude daily. It can be as simple as thanking someone for their friendship. If you struggle with this, it may be helpful to keep a gratitude journal, writing down the things you are grateful for so you can go back and remind yourself.

Another great way to lower stress and improve optimism is through laughter. Humor is a great help in difficult situations as it makes things seem a little less hard and can relieve stress. There was a group called Laughter Yoga at one time who taught you to go through the physical motions of laughter even if you don’t feel it and you reaped the health benefits of laughter anyway.
Negativity can be contagious so make sure to spend time around positive people. A person in a bad mood can bring down everyone around them. However, a positive person can have the opposite effect. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up and help you see the bright side.

As you rise each morning, try to start every day on a positive note. Create a ritual in which you start off each day with something uplifting and positive. Tell yourself that it’s going to be a great day or any other positive affirmation, listen to a happy and uplifting song. Find a way of doing something nice for someone. Look for those silver linings all around you.
If you are restarting life after leaving an abusive relationship, it can be easy to become negative in life. Having a support system can help you find positives to focus on. Crisis Services of North Alabama offers free and confidential services to survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Reach out today for an appointment by calling 256.574.5826 or our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000. You are not alone.

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