7 Mind and Body “Hacks” For Feeling Good
A positive mental attitude is absolutely necessary to ensure your success. You can make the seemingly impossible – possible by developing a positive mindset. Reap the benefits enjoyed by all successful people. Feeling great means we can all produce and flourish at full capacity. Without energy and vitality it’s very easy to lose motivation. Here’s how to fix that and operate at your full potential…
1. Can Lack Of Sleep Cause You To Be Overly Emotional?
Absolutely. If you’re feeling overly emotional, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can prevent you from thinking clearly and keeping your emotions on an even keel. Studies show that excessive sleepiness can hurt work performance, wreak havoc on relationships, and lead to mood problems like anger and depression.
- Sleep Deprivation Symptoms
- Mood Changes
- Difficulty Concentrating and Impaired Performance
- Memory and Thinking Problems
- Disorientation, Hallucinations, and Paranoia
- Pain Complaints
- Disruption of Sleep Cycle
2. A Sense Of Humour
Albert Einstein attributed his brilliant mind to having a child-like sense of humour. Indeed, a number of studies have found an association between humour and intelligence.
Researchers in Austria recently discovered that funny people, particularly those who enjoy dark humour, have higher IQs than their less funny peers. They argue that it takes both cognitive and emotional ability to process and produce humour. Their analysis shows that funny people have higher verbal and non-verbal intelligence, and they score lower in mood disturbance and aggressiveness.
Find humor in bad situations. Allow yourself to experience humour in even the darkest or most trying situations. Remind yourself that this situation will probably make for a good story later and try to crack a joke about it. Turn failures into lessons.
You aren’t perfect. You’re going to make mistakes and experience failure in multiple contexts, at multiple jobs and with multiple people. Instead of focusing on how you failed, think about what you’re going to do next time, turn your failure into a lesson.
A sense of humour is an important part of coping with setbacks and adversity. If we’re blessed with a humorous outlook we’re better able to see the ridiculous side of whatever it is we are upset about, making it easier to avoid being swamped by distress.
3. Distorted Thinking
- Why can’t I get a break?
- My life really sucks.
- This will never work.
- Who am I kidding anyway?
This type of thinking reflects a lack of confidence in yourself and a failure to trust in the process of life. As a result, your enjoyment and appreciation of all the good stuff that life has to offer gets distorted, leaving you in a victimised state and ultimately, an unhappy existence.
Remember, thoughts don’t just happen. They are something we create and therefore we are able to direct them. When something upsetting happens, it’s your thoughts about the situation that will either minimize or magnify the effect it will have on you.
Transform that negative self-talk into positive self-talk.
Negative self-talk can creep up easily and is often hard to notice. You might think I’m so bad at this or I shouldn’t have tried that.
But these thoughts turn into internalised feelings and might cement your perception of yourself. When you catch yourself doing this, stop and replace those negative messages with positive ones.
For example, I’m so bad at this becomes, once I get more practice, I’ll be way better at this. I shouldn’t have tried becomes That didn’t work out as planned—maybe next time.
Drop your distortions. There are negative things in the world.
We all have cognitive thinking distortions that can alter our perceptions of reality, sometimes causing the negatives to appear fun-house-mirror large. A few common distortions include mind reading, when you assume you know what others think (someone asks you to lunch, for example, and you assume it’s because he feels sorry for you); fortune telling, when you predict the future negatively and then react as if that prediction is imminent (you assume an upcoming company meeting means you’re being let go and begin bad-mouthing your boss and ignoring work); or all or nothing thinking, in which everything is all or nothing (Everyone thinks I am a loser or no one can be trusted).
Recognise what your distortions are and see whether you can view circumstances through a clearer, more helpful lens.
4. Start Your Day With Positivity
How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Have you ever woken up late, panicked, and then felt like nothing good happened the rest of the day?
This is likely because you started out the day with a negative emotion and a pessimistic view that carried into every other event you experienced. Instead of letting this dominate you, start your day with positive affirmations. Talk to yourself in the mirror, even if you feel silly, with statements like, “Today will be a good day” or “I’m going to be awesome today.” You’ll be amazed how much your day improves.
Focus on the good things, however small.
Almost invariably, you’re going to encounter obstacles throughout the day—there’s no such thing as a perfect day. When you encounter challenges, focus on the benefits, no matter how slight or unimportant they seem. For example, if you get stuck in traffic, think about how you now have time to listen to the rest of your favourite podcast. If the store is out of the food you want to prepare, think about the thrill of trying something new.
5. Foods to Enhance Your Mood
Eating the foods that follow may be a simple way to boost your spirits, as each is known to have a positive impact on mood.
If you’re one of these individuals who gets a nice mood boost whenever you sink your teeth into a bar of pure, unadulterated chocolate, it is not happenstance.
There’s actually a chemical reason called anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It’s a derivative of the Sanskrit word “bliss,” and one of the great things about chocolate is that it not only produces this compound, it also contains other chemicals that prolongs the “feel-good” aspects of anandamide. Chocolate has even been referred to as “the new anti-anxiety drug.”
A high-quality source of protein – like organic eggs, a piece of Gouda cheese or a handful of almonds – helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.
Bananas contain dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood. They’re also rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, which help to soothe your nervous system, and magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive mood.
Coffee affects a number of neurotransmitters related to mood control, so drinking a morning cup could have an effect on your general sense of wellbeing. Research has also shown that coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases BDNF, which activates your brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, thereby improving your brain health. Interestingly enough, research also suggests that low BDNF levels may play a significant role in depression, and that increasing neurogenesis has an antidepressant effect!
Curcumin, the pigment that gives the spice turmeric its yellow-orange color, is thought to be the primary component responsible for many of its medicinal effects. Among them, curcumin has neuroprotective properties and may enhance mood and possibly help with depression.
Anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep colour. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function and your mood.
Animal-Based Omega 3 Fats
Found in salmon or supplement form, such as krill oil, the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well-being. One study showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3, while past research has shown omega-3 fats work just as well as anti-depressants in preventing the signs of depression, but without any of the side effects.
Mood-Busting Foods to Avoid
Just as foods can uplift your mood, they can also quickly bring it down. Here are the top three foods that can trigger a poor mood.
Sugar can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings, but its role in poor mood actually goes much deeper than that. Entire books have been written on this topic, such as William Duffy’s book, Sugar Blues. There are at least three potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on your mood and mental health:
- Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health
- Sugar suppresses activity of BDNF, which promotes the health of your brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative
- Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression
Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia. One mechanism that can help explain the mysterious connection between wheat and mental health problems is the fact that wheat inhibits production of serotonin.
Neurotransmitters like serotonin can be found not just in your brain, but also in your gut. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain. Wheat in particular has also been implicated in psychiatric problems, from depression to schizophrenia, due to an array of brain-disruptive opioid peptides, and wheat germ lectin (WGA), which preliminary research indicates has neurotoxic activity.
The list of potentially mood-busting ingredients in processed foods is a long one. Aside from sugar and gluten, they may also contain trans fats, artificial colours, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients linked to irritability and poor mood.
Nourishing Your Gut Health
Your gut can boost your mood and protect your mental health.Toxicity in your gut can flow throughout your body and into your brain, where it can cause symptoms of poor mood, autism, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia and a whole host of other mental and behavioral disorders. With this in mind, it should be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important to support a positive mood. To do so, I recommend the following strategies:
Avoid sugar and processed, refined foods in your diet. There is simply no question that eliminating refined sugars is the most powerful intervention the average person can make to improve their gut flora.
Eat traditionally fermented, unpasteurised foods. Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurised versions. Ideally, you want to eat a variety of fermented foods to maximise the variety of bacteria you’re consuming. Healthy choices include:
- Fermented vegetables
- Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
- Fermented milk, such as kefir
- Natto (fermented soy)
- You can also go for various fiber-rich foods like green vegetables and psyllium. Shoot for around 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed.
- Take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis. Research has shown that certain probiotics may help alleviate anxiety by modulating the vagal pathways within the gut-brain, affecting GABA levels, and lowering the stress-induced hormone corticosterone.
To sum up, foods have an immense impact on both your body and your brain, and eating whole foods is the best way to support your mental and physical health. Whether you need a quick pick-me-up or you’ve been struggling with poor mood for a while, the best place to start to turn your mood around is likely not in your medicine cabinet but right in your pantry or refrigerator.
6. Look For The Hidden Good
Why a positive mental attitude is indispensable to your success… It is not what happens to you that counts. It is how you react to what happens to you—especially when there are unexpected problems.
Here are three things you can do to assure that your attitude is the very best it can be, no matter what the circumstance:
Focus On The Future
Whatever challenges you face, focus on the future rather than on the past. Instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, focus on where you want to be and what you want to do. Get a clear mental image of your ideal successful future, and then take whatever action you can to begin moving in that direction. Get your mind, your thoughts and your mental images on the future.
Think About The Solution
Whenever you’re faced with a difficulty, focus on the solution rather than on the problem. Think and talk about the ideal solution to the obstacle or setback, rather than wasting time rehashing and reflecting on the problem. Solutions are inherently positive, whereas problems are inherently negative.
Take some time to write out every detail of the problem, and then take the most logical next step to solve it. The instant that you begin thinking in terms of solutions, you become a positive and constructive human being.
What Was The Lesson Learned?
Assume that whatever situation you are facing at the moment is exactly the right situation you need to ultimately be successful. This situation has been sent to you to help you learn something, to help you become better, to help you expand and grow.
So seek for the valuable lesson in every adversity. Make a list of every idea or insight you can gain from every setback or difficulty.
A positive mental attitude is indispensable to your success. You can be as positive as you want to be if you will simply think about the future and look for the good. If you do what other successful people do, if you use your mind to exert mental control over the situation, you will be positive and cheerful most of the time. And you will reap the benefits enjoyed by all successful people.
7. Goals Are What Take Us Forward In Life. They Are The Oxygen To Our Dreams.
They are the first steps to every journey we take and are also our last. It’s very important that you realise the significance and importance of goal-setting and apply this knowledge in your life.
Begin with the end in mind. – Stephen Covey
Why Is It Important To Set Your Goals?
- Goals Give You Motivation
- Goals Help You Overcome Procrastination
- Goals Keep You Locked In And Undistracted
- Goals Give You Focus
- Goals Allow You To Measure Progress
Top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields all set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organise your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.
Why is it important to write your goals down?
Writing Down Goals Substantially Increases The Odds Of Achieving Them. Most people drive through life without bothering to write down their goals. Very few people have specific and measurable goals, and even fewer have written these goals down…
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