How Positive Thinking Affects Your Brain

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Is the glass half empty or half full?  If you see it as half full, chances are, you’re more creative, attentive, and productive than the person who sees it as half empty.  Here’s why:

When we think positive thoughts, cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in our brain begin to decrease, and in response, serotonin levels in our brain rise.  Normal levels of serotonin result in increased happiness, a feeling of calm, decreased anxiety, and enhanced concentration.  Conversely, negative thoughts lead to increased levels of cortisol which results in feelings of stress, anxiety, and lack of impulse control.

If you’re not a positive thinker right now, you’re not doomed; you just have to work at it.  A few factors that may be influencing your thoughts include relationships with others, the environment you live/work in, and your physical health.  Tips for increasing positive thoughts include:

  • Incorporate a gratitude practice into your daily routine
  • Spend time with people who lift you up rather than tearing you down
  • Speak kindly to yourself
  • Create a positive morning ritual with a mantra or happy song before your day starts
  • Increase physical activity, which will help to raise levels of serotonin 

If you’re experiencing negative thoughts often, consider seeking out a counselor who can identify your potential sources of angst and help you work through them. 

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