Finding Happiness through Healthy Thinking

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By Jessica Bovee

“I love myself.” That’s right, go ahead and say it, out loud, preferably. Say it once, twice, however many times it takes for it to be true. It’s not always easy to admit that we’re beautiful or that we have these dazzling qualities that make us who we are, but it’s important.

Some of us might laugh at the girls who cover their mirrors with Pinterest quotes and the uplifting mantras. While some of these motivational sayings and pictures may seem pointless, it may be just what we need to find happiness.

Positive, healthy thoughts do make a difference. Some of you may have just rolled your eyes or heard the echoes of your mom telling you to be more optimistic, but your mom was right, again. According to WebMD, positively retraining your brain’s thoughts can improve stress, depression, anxiety, problems with sleep, and much more. This attempt to change our thought patterns is called CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, something we can do on our own by shifting the focus from the bad to the good.

This is easier said than done, but we need to form these habits now, rather than later. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researched nearly 100,000 women where optimistic women were 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease than the pessimists. They also found that women with more negative thoughts were 23 percent more likely to die from cancer. Believe it or not, your life can depend on the quality of your thoughts.

How does someone simply change the ways of the brain and produce nothing but sunshine and rainbows? Well, it takes time. Many of us may attend a gym in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle or strengthen the muscles within our bodies. We all know that getting our bodies in shape doesn’t happen overnight. We need to view healthy thinking the same way; it’s a practice, not a quick fix.

Leslie Villelli, a life coach, has used positive thinking to help her deal with losing her husband. Each morning she would wake up in pain knowing that she wouldn’t see him, but she used her knowledge of neuroscience to improve her situation. She would say to herself “I’m happy and I love my life” while moving her hands in a hand jive, every day for a minute. Villelli took control of her happiness. Each time she felt uneasy she moved her hands into a jive that automatically made her feel better.

This isn’t the only way we can take control of our happiness.

The Journal of Research in Personality did a study on 90 undergraduate students. One group wrote about a positive experience each day for three consecutive days, while the other group wrote about a control topic. The students who wrote positively, after three months, had improved mood levels, and had fewer illnesses and visits to the health clinic. This is just one way to incorporate more encouraging thoughts into your everyday life.

There are so many ways to surround ourselves with good vibes. Start a yoga practice, incorporate mindfulness or meditation, or design your own mantras. Put together a gratitude journal where you write all of the things you’re thankful for in your life. Rid yourself of the negative people and declutter the space you live in externally and internally. Wake up 10 minutes earlier just to appreciate the world around you as well as yourself. Truly love yourself, and even if you’re not feeling it, fake it ’til you make it. Try to meditate, go to that yoga class.

Maybe you’ve heard of The Secret, a book and film that talks about the law of attraction. This isn’t hocus pocus, although it may seem so at first glance, this idea has to do with “what you think about, you bring about.” Imagine something you desire and ask the universe what you want, and intentionally create joy in your life.

Many swear by this secret, and celebrities like Jim Carrey have utilized the secret through writing himself a multi-million dollar check years before his fame and fortune came. Carrey’s visualization and positive thoughts helped him find his purpose, and ultimately, his happiness. Countless others have used these ways of thinking to find love and cure themselves of illness among other things.

We shouldn’t wait for happiness to find us. We may think that we will be happy once we make more money, or once we fall in love, or once we’ve lost 15 more pounds. But by doing this, we’re equating success with results. While society may focus on the outcomes, it’s important for us to focus on the present, the decisions and thoughts we make today that get us closer to our goals. Our thoughts are far more powerful than we can measure, or possibly understand.

So, let’s make the dream boards, scribble on our mirrors, tell ourselves we are happy and love our life. Manifest our own happiness. What do we have to lose? We could feel better, live longer, and actually love ourselves more. Sure, this could sound like some hippie article telling you to love yourself, and maybe you’re right. But, happiness is for everyone. It’s up to us to go out and create our own.

 

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