As I was eating breakfast with my family I watched a man come into the restaurant. He pushed open the door and he shook his head. His face was screwed up into a scowl that never left his face. He was disgusted by the table he sat at, the food he ate, and the people who he talked to. When I told him to have a good day…he argued with me that “it wasn’t and never was going to be a good day”. This man oozed negativity and everyone that dealt with him feels it. It’s as if he leaves an oil slick of negativity all around him. I’m sure many of us either have seen or know someone like this.
It got me thinking:
Couldn’t everyone be more positive? Couldn’t we all create a more positive existence? Couldn’t we all turn up our positivity to 11…yes that’s right, not 10 but 11 out of 10! (Spinaltap reference)
So here are 5 things anyone can do to be more positive in their life. (I’m not saying this is the definitive work on being more positive…I’m just saying this will definitely increase your positivity meter!
1. Stop Killing bugs
I know, I know…you are thinking I’ve finally lost it, bonkers, gone mad, crazy, simply off my rocker. The normal comments I hear when I say this is “I hate spiders and I’m not going to stop killing them. I hate them and they deserve to die.” or “Well don’t expect me to stop killing ants, they are disgusting.” Then there’s the very famous and number 1 on the bug EWWWWW list: Roaches! “I won’t stop killing roaches! Those things are disgusting and they deserve death. I’m not getting any closer than I need to with them!” (and then they shake and shiver).
Ok, ok, I get it. Bugs are gross. They are also tiny and smaller than us. This gives us an overactive god superiority complex that decides to tell our brain that we are bigger, more powerful, and have dominion over bugs! AURG!
However think about these 5 things for a moment:
1. They outnumber humans 100 to 1.
2. They have more powers than we do. (Think about it, an ant can lift 10-100 times more than their body weight)
3. They have a better social structure and in many respects get along with each other better than we do. (Remember, they don’t develop ways to obliterate the entire population)
4. They’ve been here for millions of years longer than us.
5. They are living creatures. (If not for any of the others…this one!)
As soon as you stop killing bugs…or at least reduce it by a great amount…you begin seeing the life that lives in each of those little bugs. There’s a great scene in Men In Black when he’s about to step on a roach and he decides not to and the roach says, “That was very kind of you.” There’s a scene in Disney’s Princess and the frog where the evil bad voodoo man laughs and steps on a great and valiant bug. It’s a tear jerker because we understand the value of this little bug. Often, we forget the value of a living creature. When we begin to see the value of all living creatures, we begin to see the whole world in a different less violent way.
I could write and write…give you examples etc…instead I’ll just let Ron Gutman of Health Tap do ti for me:
Charles Darwin, who in addition to theorizing on evolution in The Origin of the Species, also developed the Facial Feedback Response Theory, which suggests that the act of smiling actually makes us feel better (rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good).
This theory is supported by various recent studies, including research out of Echnische Universität in Munich Germany. In a 2009 study, scientists there used fMRI (Functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain before and after injecting Botox to suppress smiling muscles. The findings showed that facial feedback (such as imitating a smile) actually modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain, and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile!
Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match. In a study conducted in the UK (using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart-rate monitor to create “mood-boosting values” for various stimuli), British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; they also found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling in cash. That’s 25 grand a smile… it’s not bad…at 400 daily smiles quite a few children out there feel like Mark Zuckerberg every day!
And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.
If that’s not enough, smiling also makes us look good in the eyes of others. A recent Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.
So now we know that:
- When you smile, you look good and feel good.
- When others see you smile, they smile too.
- When others smile, they look good and feel good, too.
Perhaps this is why Mother Teresa said: “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.” What’s the catch? Only that the smile you give has to be big, and genuine!
In my fascinating journey to uncover more about smiling, I discovered something far greater than just a way to get through a challenging run – I found a simple and surprisingly powerful way to significantly improve my own life and the lives of others.
So now, whenever you want to look great and competent, improve your marriage, or reduce your stress…or whenever you want to feel as good as when you’ve enjoyed a stack of high quality chocolate without incurring the caloric cost, or as if you randomly found 25 grand in the pocket of a jacket you hadn’t worn for ages…or when you want to tap into a superpower and help yourself and others live longer, healthier happier lives…SMILE 🙂
3. Choose to be happier
How simple. Positivity and smiling and happiness is a choice. You can decide to be happy or you can decide not to be. We live 24 hours in a day or 1440 minutes. Taking 6 hours our for sleeping, we have 1080 minutes to live in a day. It takes 5 seconds to decide to be happy. Try it, tell yourself…I decide to be happy! Now, as you walk around constantly tell yourself: I decide to be happy. When you arrive at situations that are upsetting, remind yourself: I decide to be happy.
I’m not a psychologist nor am I a emotional scientist; however, this excersise works. The more you tell yourself you are going to be happy, the happier you become. You will get nagry or frustrated, but then you “decide to be happy” and it’s all gone.
4. Look for the positive.
I’ve written many many blogs about this, please just search for “look for the positive” on this blog and there are many!
In every situation and every moment there is a way to look at the positive:
You crashed your car – You are alive. Your children and spouse is alive. A car is only a material thing.
You got robbed – It was just stuff, all people are ok. They must have needed more than you did. There is some stuff they didn’t get. This is a moment to learn about security. Now you have a moment to reevaluate what is important in your stuff and what isn’t it. The insurance money might help.
You are going to die – No matter what faith…the afterlife is great. If you have a faith, the afterlife is great. Still wondering…well it has the ability to be an amazing adventure. It is a good time to really see your life as it should be seen. The Buddhist state that death is the moment when you are at your most clear.
There is a positive in every thing. Positivity abounds so often, but we are trained to see and dwell on the negative.
Remember – Nothing is good or bad, it is how we perceive it. Decide it is a good thing, and you change your perception to a more positive outlook .
5. Stop watching the news and negativity
It’s simple negativity breeds negativity.
Remember “News” is a business, run by a corporation, developed by a board of trustees that want to get paid. Reporters will write what will be sold and create ratings. Reporters are vultures for “great” stories for their own personal gain. I’ve seen reporters stand in the way of water running off of a roof to tell people about a horrible hurricane…it’s about the story, the money, the ratings, and the bottom line!
Starting with the War of the Worlds broadcast, we found out that fear and negativity sells! It sells big! In fact, people will tune in every minute of every day to listen to, watch, and be part of negativity. Pay close attention to every news channel, network, etc that you know of and you will find that the news they are putting out is fear based and negative. Negativity and violence sells!
Not only that, violence and negativity is poison to your brain. There’s an old saying – garbage in garbage out. It was a term created in the early computer world reminding programmers if they put garbage into the program, that’s exactly what they would get back. If you take a crystal clean beautiful lake and pour 1000’s of gallons of oil (like is happening right now all over the world) into it…you pollute the water and the only thing that will come out of that lake is oil. This is what you are doing with violent and negative shows. It’s only a show right? Nope! It affects your brain just like you are experiencing it. Your conscious brain gets that it’s a show; your unconscious brain is experiencing every part of that show as if it was your life! Put violence and negativity into your brain and that’s exactly what you will get out of your brain.
Follow these simple ideas…I guarantee you will turn up your positivity meter many notches. In fact, you might find that your meter can go even higher than you can even imagine
What other ways can someone become more positive?