Do brain exercises and positivity really go hand-in-hand?
Do you ever wonder how some people are so darn positive?
They always seem to turn lemons into lemonade.
I bet sometimes you get annoyed with them.
But secretly, you’re jealous because you just don’t know how they do it!
Well, some people are naturally optimistic.
They just come into the world with that sunny disposition.
What are the benefits of learning to do brain exercises?
Even brain research supports the fact that some people are wired to be more positive than others.
But what are the rest of us to do if we’re not in that small percentage of fortunate recipients?
We can learn to be more positive! Having been a practicing psychotherapist and executive coach for over 33 years, I always say that “good mental health is not a natural sport; it’s a learned sport.”
I can listen to how a person speaks and tell whether they have pursued the path of personal and transformational growth.
Some of the telltale signs are they:
- Are good listeners
- Accept responsibility for their behavior
- Will hear another person’s point of view
- Will apologize
- Are good problem solvers
Some of those folks have been fortunate enough to have parents who’ve mastered these behaviors and taught them to their children, but most of us have not.
This leaves the responsibility to every one of us to become the best version of ourselves.
That means learning and practicing the mental skills that will enable us to be that positive person everyone admires (secretly or not!)
Without training, we operate on automatic pilot.
We don’t realize how our thinking affects our mood.
So, to change your thinking, you must first notice how you’re thinking.
Here’s how brain exercises can help.
Brain Exercises 1: Check in with your thoughts.
This is what mindfulness is all about.
Mindfulness is checking in with your thoughts in the present moment without judgment.
It’s as if you were assessing a situation with just the facts, with “what is.”
Realize those thoughts running through your mind all day and night.
You must maintain an attitude of curiosity rather than judgment.
Brain Exercises 2: Reflect on the path of your thoughts.
Once you have noticed your thoughts, ask yourself if your thoughts are taking you to a good place or if they are taking you into a downward spiral.
Once you have recognized which direction you are going, you can choose what you want to change and how you want to change them.
Brain Exercises 3: Acknowledge that you have the power to change your thoughts.
This goes for your mood and experience, too.
This is where your power lies.
Many people fall into feeling like victims.
They think things are happening “to” them.
Once you realize you can change that experience, you will become more positive and optimistic. How cool is that!
Brain Exercises 4: Choose to create positive thoughts.
I like to use the term “productive” thoughts because they literally put you in charge.
For example: if you’re sitting in traffic and running late for an appointment, it’s easy to blame the traffic for your tardiness and get stressed out.
But if you aim to be a more responsible person with your thoughts and actions, you might recognize you didn’t leave enough time for the unexpected.
So you promise to learn from it and leave earlier next time.
Brain Exercises 5: Believe success is possible.
Resilient and optimistic people believe setbacks are temporary.
They look for the silver lining in challenging situations.
They use words like ‘obstacle’ instead of failure or ‘opportunity’ rather than calamity.
Most people are on autopilot and don’t realize how their thinking affects their mood and the successes or failures in their lives.
With commitment and practice, you can change your worldview and, ultimately, your life experience.
Be patient with yourself as you build new habits and neuronal pathways in your brain.
But the good news is that you have this wonderful capacity to change.
You will not only feel good about yourself, but you will positively affect everyone you meet.
Just practice these brain exercises, and you will soon think—and feel—more optimistic.
Tell us about your favorite brain exercise in the comment section below!
Also, check out this book of almost 400 games, puzzles, and brain teasers to get your mind going!