It is an inconvenient, evolutionary fact that we are not inclined towards being happy individuals. We are so focused on negatives and threats, rather than looking on the bright side. In fact, it was essential to our survival, but in today's world stress is bountiful and can keep us from realizing our own goals and happiness.
When your a small company and trying to get off the ground, money and resources are often scarce. Your left often with just the power of positivity to make it through.
Our Sets of Survival Chemicals
Our brain has a set of happy chemicals, which include dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin; these chemicals are only released when we meet a survival need. In other words, our brain releases these happy chemicals as a motivating factor for us to continue enabling ourselves to survive, like when we eat a hearty meal or snuggle up in a warm bed after a long day outside. The rest of the time, our brains store these chemicals, building them up to release them when our survival needs are met.
On the other hand, the stress chemical cortisol is released to help alert us of any impending obstacles that may interfere with our well-being. Think of it as a personal alarm system to help us anticipate and navigate potential obstructions to a happy, healthy life. This alarm is sounded far more often than those happy chemicals are released. Moreover, once you avert one obstacle, your brain is inclined towards finding more obstacles. This is where the all-too-common moods of negativity arise.
"People are often preoccupied with problems and negativity because it's easier to focus on limitations rather than possibilities," Ashmoret Mishal, founder of Ultra Goal Achievement Method, said. "Possibilities and opportunities lead to new and unfamiliar situations, and people tend to stay away from uncertainty."
Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels can lead to a total collapse of your body and healthy living. Medical science says that the long-term activation of cortisol can lead to the disruption of all body processes, ultimately causing physical health problems, constant anxiety and chronic depression.
So, what is the solution?
The Positivity Circuit
The answer lies in training the brain to look for positives. This is best put in practice by adopting a mindset technique suggested by Loretta Breuning. It's called the Positivity Circuit.
It's simple; spend one minute looking for positives in your life, three times a day, for a total of 45 days. This proactive training technique will condition your brain to automatically identify more positives in your life, as opposed to primarily searching for negatives.
"Just like it's important to stop to eat and feed your body three meals three times a day, or to exercise the body to keep physically fit, or to pray and express gratitude to feed your soul, the mind also needs positive thinking," Maureen Walsh, owner of Maureen Walsh Makeup, said.
According to Early Childhood Strategist and Leadership Coach, Chanie Wilschanski, "focus on what you can be grateful for with your teachers, parents and the school as a whole and your mindset will switch instantly."
Maintaining Positivity in a Hyper-Anxious World
However, it's hard to find positivity when everyone else around us is full of negativity. In the competitive world in which we find ourselves, all generations across the spectrum are acting in a hyper-anxious state, constantly on the lookout for the next impending danger. How then do we find positivity while just trying to stay afloat in this state of constant calamity?
Breuning suggests we follow the principle of Personal Agency and Realistic Expectations (PARE). Personal agency is the distinct pleasure of autonomy. You can never perfectly anticipate the results of your efforts, but you can have the privilege of choosing the next step towards meeting your needs.
Realistic expectations are the alternate routes you create whenever your cortisol surges. Whenever your efforts fail to generate immediate results, remind yourself that your basic survival is not threatened by this. You must simply adjust your expectations and move on to take the next step.
By following these steps, you will actively stimulate your own happy chemicals and live a healthy, happy, and balanced life.
**Abhik Shome contributed to this article.