While the holiday season is one that’s often filled with joy and reflection—for some, it can be a challenging time of year. While we love everything this season is meant for, the sudden onslaught of extra work, tasks, and responsibilities quickly skyrockets—leaving us feeling like we’re spinning our wheels and never fully able to get things done.
The trouble comes when this type of negativity starts to eat away at our hearts and minds. Negativity is something that can easily captivate our entire minds. When we experience negative thoughts about something, it’s as if that’s the only thing in the world and nothing else matters or exists. Sadly, our thoughts can have a natural tendency to flow towards negativity naturally, and if left unchecked for too long, we will find that we’re caught in a cycle of stress and negativity, struggling to break free.
This is one reason why it’s so important to make a conscious effort to renew our mind. This means taking control of our thoughts and, rather than letting them drive us, consciously challenging ourselves to think in a different direction instead.
You may not realize it, but you have the power to significantly impact your mindset and resulting emotions. In time, and with practice, the positive thoughts that you think will start to shape your mind, and eventually, even your life.
What is the impact of positivity?
We have a choice to take captive our thoughts and then turn the negative thoughts into positive ones.
We can train our minds to be constantly positive and more open. It may sound unlikely, but there are studies that show that positivity can impact our minds—and even our lives. Joy produces less cortisol and more serotonin creating a sense of well-being that allows your brain to operate at full capacity.
And joy is something that’s absolutely necessary for our well-being.
“I think of positive emotions as nutrients. In the same way that we need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily experience to help us become more resourceful versions of ourselves,” says Professor Barbara Fredrickson, social psychologist at the University of North Carolina.
While positive thoughts tend to be short-lived, their resulting impact is tremendous.
‘What seems to be unique about positive emotions is that they expand our awareness so that in the moment that we are experiencing positive emotions—and they are very fleeting states, they last from seconds to minutes, not hours, weeks and years—our peripheral vision expands, our ability to take in more of our surroundings and connect the dots and see the big picture is facilitated,” Fredrickson continues. Neutral states, on the other hand, she explains, tend to narrow our mindsets—and negative states narrow them even more.
What does all of this mean for us throughout this busy season and into the New Year?
Throughout this busy and sometimes overwhelming season, it’s important to consciously take control of our thoughts, and try to find positivity each and every day!
If you’re struggling to reach your goals, and feeling like you’re failing, try to replace those feelings of failure with ones that are far more positive. Instead of focusing on things that you view as shortcomings, shift your focus to look at your progress instead. Focus on your success, and remind yourself of those small wins that you’ve made this year or this season. Consider keeping a gratitude journal where you jot down things that you’re thankful for every day to help redirect your thoughts in a more positive way.
This season, why not make it a priority to find the positive things—every day? Even for those days that don’t go quite right, your overall mindset will help to see you through, and you’ll soon feel the difference resulting from positive thoughts!