5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Be More Positive
Building a business is a massive task. In your drive to ensure everything goes right, it can be easy to get stuck in a negative, critical way of thinking.
But it doesn't matter how many hours you work, or how many fires you put out. There's good reason to find positivity throughout your day. When you exude positive energy, it comes back to you—and your business—in spades.
Being happier doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are five surprisingly simple ways to be more positive.
1. Focus on your breathing.
Meditation's benefits have been so thoroughly discussed, studied, and written about that most of us already know it's supposed to help you de-stress.
The secret, however, is that it's not difficult to get the mood-boosting effects of meditation via a simple breathing exercise. Try the 4-7-8 technique:
- Begin by relaxing your shoulders and closing your eyes.
- Breathe in through your nose for a period of four seconds.
- Hold your breath for seven seconds.
- Then exhale all the air from your lungs for a count of eight seconds.
Repeat the process three more times. While some extol this as a way to fall asleep, you can do it anytime to receive a nice boost of calm from your subconscious. Just focus on your breath, keep doing it, and you'll feel the difference.
2. Get in some exercise.
Exercise makes us happier. What's surprising is just how little exercise we need to start feeling it.
“The first 20 minutes of moving around, if someone has been really sedentary, provide most of the health benefits,” fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds told the New York Times. “You can always do more. But the science shows that if you just do anything, even stand in place 20 minutes, you will be healthier.”
You could bike to work rather than taking your car. You could step out for lunch and walk someplace a little further than you usually go. There are even gyms that are open 24/7 if your schedule is prohibitive—Anytime Fitness being one example.
There's no shortage of ways to get in your 20 minutes and not only improve your health, but get a natural dose of happiness while you're at it.
3. Re-evaluate what you're focusing on.
Whether in work, life, or school, many people simply go through the motions. How often do you stop and think, “Why am I investing my valuable time and energy on this rather than something else?”
If you don't question your own choices very often, give it a try.
As positivity expert Joffrey Suprina, Ph.D., told the Huffington Post, positive thinkers are trained, not born:
Many people think that positive thinkers only look at the good side and ignore everything else... Positive thinkers really are individuals who recognize both the bright side and the negative, but they choose to focus their energy and time on the side that’s going to promote the most positive outcome.
If you're stressing out about things that you have no control over, take a step back and reassess your priorities. You'll be happier when you know that your efforts are going to have a positive impact.
4. Take stock of little joys.
One of the most surprising ways to find more positivity comes from a former employee at Google. Chade-Meng Tan, once Google's official “Jolly Good Fellow (Which Nobody Can Deny),” came up with a three-second system for finding joy.
The process was designed to fit around the most hectic of schedules, and requires only that you practice small bits of mindfulness here and there. Not just anywhere, however—in Meng's system, you take stock of specific and physical experiences that most people take for granted.
For instance, when you take a sip of water, you don't just take a sip of water—you do it while noticing how it's bringing you and your body a feeling of happiness in that very moment.
Do this over and over again and you will train your mind to naturally experience joy. The more frequently you pause to appreciate life’s simple pleasures, the happier you’ll be.
5. Do someone else a favor.
It's long been said that helping others can make you happier. It's also been completely unproven on a scientific basis—until now.
University of Oxford researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis of more than 400 papers on the topic, analyzing the claims made and the results discovered, and found that there was a real, measurable effect of altruism on one's subjective mood.
“Kindness interventions boost subjective well-being” was one of the primary findings of the Oxford study.
While we're often bombarded with images of self-made people and laser-focused entrepreneurs who are out to change the world, humans are social animals. We do good things for our friends, family, and even strangers because that's the way we're wired.
Doing someone else a favor can make you happier. So when you find opportunities to help out other people, don’t hesitate. It’s easy.
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