POS­I­TIVELY FLOUR­ISH­ING

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Jenny Brockis

Tak­ing care of your health and well-be­ing all starts with bet­ter thoughts

We are told to ‘Just think pos­i­tive!’. But let’s face it. Things don’t al­ways turn out the way we hope or ex­pect. Some days are great, some not so much and some­times we have those days where we wish we had stayed in bed.

Deal­ing with life’s chal­lenges can be tricky, up­set­ting and some­times ex­tremely painful. But be­ing told to look for the good in ev­ery bad sit­u­a­tion is un­help­ful be­cause it’s un­re­al­is­tic. It fails to ac­knowl­edge that our cop­ing skills are grown through deal­ing with those not so won­der­ful times and ac­knowl­edg­ing the as­so­ci­ated emo­tions whether pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive that are ap­pro­pri­ate to the sit­u­a­tion.

That’s why pos­i­tive think­ing on its own doesn’t work be­cause it’s nor­mal to feel sad when a re­la­tion­ship breaks down or hurt if we over­hear some­one shar­ing an un­kind com­ment about us. We have a nat­u­ral neg­a­tiv­ity bias, which if let off its leash can rapidly un­der­mine our abil­ity to see things in a more pos­i­tive light. What can help is to know how to veer to­wards re­al­is­tic op­ti­mism, so as to be more stress re­silient, less fazed by change and bet­ter placed to make the best de­ci­sion in any given cir­cum­stance. Nur­tur­ing a growth ori­ented mind­set leads to pos­si­bil­ity think­ing. It helps you to see the var­i­ous op­tions avail­able to help you achieve your goals while di­min­ish­ing the impact and fear of fail­ure.

Bet­ter think­ing be­gins by tak­ing care of your health & well­be­ing.

How you think about a given sit­u­a­tion will be in­flu­enced by a num­ber of fac­tors; how tired you are, how dis­tracted, stressed, hun­gry and your mood. If you’re wor­ry­ing about some­one who’s not well at home or you’re still an­gry about a con­ver­sa­tion you had with your part­ner last night, it can be harder to main­tain the best frame of mind and fo­cus to help you de­ter­mine ‘what should I do next?’. Our level of busy­ness can get in the way of our best in­ten­tions to take good care of our brains. Bet­ter think­ing starts with putting in place those life­style prac­tices rel­e­vant to your com­plete health and well­be­ing; get­ting enough sleep, be­ing suf­fi­ciently phys­i­cally ac­tive, eat­ing healthily and man­ag­ing stress. This en­sures your men­tal hard­ware is in good work­ing order and pos­i­tively ori­ented, so you can think more clearly and get the re­sults you want.

HOW CAN YOU STAY MORE POS­I­TIVE? 1. Re­fuel smart.

The lat­est ev­i­dence points to how ex­cess su­gar is a real downer, in­creas­ing our risk for de­pres­sion. The typ­i­cal West­ern diet is high in trans fats, salt and su­gar and has been shown to con­trib­ute to a lower mood.

2. Keep mov­ing.

Spend­ing too much time sit­ting, means you’re miss­ing out on the mood el­e­vat­ing ben­e­fits of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity that raise lev­els of our feel-good neu­ropep­tides, dopamine, sero­tonin and en­dor­phins.

3. Be cu­ri­ous.

‘Yes, I know’ is dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory as it shuts off that nat­u­ral de­sire to ex­plore, keep ask­ing ques­tions or be open to chang­ing your mind.

4. Be grate­ful.

It’s easy to get dragged down into the mire of neg­a­tiv­ity, catas­trophis­ing and neg­a­tive self-talk. Prac­tis­ing an at­ti­tude of grat­i­tude by keep­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal for two weeks, has been shown to shift mind­set to­wards the pos­i­tive for up to three months.

5. Be still.

Tak­ing time out for you isn’t self­ish, it’s es­sen­tial to your well be­ing. Tak­ing too much on, look­ing af­ter every­one else may get you some brownie points to­wards saint­hood if that’s what you seek, but does lit­tle to sus­tain or nur­ture your mind. So, book that hol­i­day, take time off for a mas­sage and plan to catch up with friends.

6. Rest and re­flect.

The truth is that many of us are so chron­i­cally sleep de­prived we’ve lost sight of just how tired we are. Sleep is es­sen­tial to emo­tional reg­u­la­tion and el­e­vat­ing mood. Try the 2-week 20-minute chal­lenge of go­ing to bed twenty min­utes ear­lier each night and see what dif­fer­ence that makes to your mood, en­ergy lev­els and think­ing.

7. Hang out with those who sus­tain you.

Un­sur­pris­ingly stud­ies have shown that our clos­est re­la­tion­ships have the great­est in­flu­ence on our state of mind and over­all level of hap­pi­ness. Stay­ing in the pos­i­tive not only helps you, it will pos­i­tively con­tam­i­nate oth­ers too, cre­at­ing a more pos­i­tive out­look read­ily avail­able for every­one to flour­ish.

Dr Jenny Brockis is a Med­i­cal Prac­ti­tioner and spe­cialises in the sci­ence of high per­for­mance think­ing. Jenny’s ap­proach to over­com­ing life’s chal­lenges is based on prac­ti­cal neu­ro­science which en­ables peo­ple to un­der­stand their thoughts and ac­tions lead­ing to ef­fec­tive be­havioural change. Jenny is the au­thor of ‘Fu­ture Brain - the 12 Keys to Cre­ate Your High-Per­for­mance Brain’ and may be con­tacted via her web­site.

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