It’s been said many times that positive thinking not only makes you feel better but is also good for your health and can boost your immune system.
I often give this simple exercise to clients who are experiencing depression or high anxiety. It’s called ‘The Three Gifts’ and is taken from the Positive Psychology movement. Researchers at Penn University have proven that practicing gratitude each day makes people happier, more optimist and helps boost the feel good hormones. *
My clients are often surprised how effective it is in focusing their minds in a better way. So why not try it this winter to help lift your mood and help increase your positive thinking.
Why does it work?
Research shows that gratitude techniques help to prime the mind to go looking for the positives and feel good about them. In effect, it helps to start shifting our focus from the negative projections into the future to more optimistic ones as we begin to notice more positives around us. In the case of depression or anxiety disorders it can help to start breaking the cycle of negative thought patterns and unlock the door to hope for the future.
Once we repeat this type of exercise enough it becomes an unconscious habit and therefore positive thinking becomes a normal part of our life.
The Three Gifts Exercise:
Try the “Three Gifts” or “Panning for Gold” exercise for a couple of weeks and start to notice how it helps you feel more positive through the day. I recommend doing this exercise before you sleep so that you are priming your mind to find more positive things the following day:
- Get a notebook – preferably one that makes you feel good just to own it but any notebook will do!
- At the end of each day write down 3 positive thing that could be considered gifts in your life or ‘gold’ in your day. (These aren’t monetary gifts.) Write down something you are grateful for that has meaning or is positive for you. For example: something from nature, something someone said to you, an encounter or an achievement. Any moment that made you laugh or smile. Something that money cannot buy. Some days you might struggle to find 3 and other days you might struggle to only pick 3 of so many.
- Write down how you were responsible for bringing each of these gifts into your life.
- At the end of each week look through your lists and know these are always written there for when you need a reminder or a boost.
We all know that the only way to overcome issues or to improve our wellbeing is by taking action. All the best self-help books or even advice in articles like won’t help you unless you take some sort of action… so why not try this simple exercise to boost your positive thinking. Give it a go and start to notice the differences.
*Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the Positive Psychology field has documented much research into the benefits of gratitude. His books include “Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment” and Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death (Series of Books in Psychology)
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