6 Ways of Building a Positive Perspective

Every March 9th we observe National Get over It Day. This is a day when we can practice how to overcome the big and little difficulties in life. Maybe you got into an argument, had a stressful day at work, didn’t get the grades you expected in school, have a rebellious child you don’t know how to handle, are in a pinch financially, etc.

At the same time, there are probably a lot of good things happening in your life as well. When we look for it, there are many things to be happy about and to be grateful for: the sunshine outside, a kind gesture from someone, helping those around you, your health, etc.

You can choose to stop ruminating on those negative vibes starting today! You can put your 2020 positive glasses on!

Positive thinking is a tool to create and maintain good mental health. When you spend more time thinking about all the good things happening in your life, you naturally spend less time in negative thoughts.

Positive thinking reduces your risk of depression and anxiety. Positive people are more likely to use healthy coping mechanisms and stay away from destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, self-harm or eating disorders. For example, if a person is having problems at work, positive thinking helps find ways to make the environment more enjoyable or get a new job instead of ruminating on work stress.

Positive thinking can help you cultivate healthy relationships. Think about it, would you like to be around someone with a positive disposition and who is able to look at the silver linings, or someone reminding you of everything that is going wrong?

We can act as a light for others who are struggling and need a “pick me up”. We can choose to surround ourselves with others who uplift us and help us see the sunshine when we are in a dark place.

Healthy and supportive relationships are a big protective factor we can use to overcome and cope with our mental health issues.

Your body also needs positivity!

People who tend to have a positive outlook experience better physical health. Our mind and body are interconnected and always interacting. A positive perspective can encourage our bodies to have a strong immune system.

  • People who focus on the positive tend to live longer than those who would describe their glass as half-empty. They get through health challenges like cancer, heart attacks, and diabetes with fewer complications and are more likely to survive.
  • Optimists have less overall inflammation than pessimists. This means that the aging process goes more smoothly and they are less likely to develop heart disease and other illnesses.
  • People who have a positive attitude get better sleep, eat better, and exercise more than those who have a negative attitude. All of these self-care activities lend to better physical and mental health. For example, sleep deficiency can be linked to anxiety and getting enough exercise has been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • One study showed that people with HIV who were taught positive coping skills had lower virus loads, tended to take their medication more reliably, and felt more in control of their illnesses than those who were simply given supportive counseling.

Source: https://paradigmsanfrancisco.com/positive-attitude-improves-mental-health/

What if I am a pessimist?

Some people naturally tend to expect the worse out of a situation or think about worst-case scenarios in order to be “prepared”. People suffering from anxiety and depression struggle daily with negative and self-defeating thoughts because it is part of their condition. Also, always being happy is not realistic. Difficult things will happen in life that will cause sadness, hopelessness, etc.

The majority of these thoughts are a product of cognitive distortions, discussed in our last post. These thoughts might seem realistic but they are actually based on emotion– not facts or evidence. When we are caught in these distortions our minds tend to expect the worse and make reality seem worse than it actually is. This is when positive thinking can be greatly beneficial!

Positive thinking is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. The important thing is effort and consistency.

Think about when you go start going to the gym. The first time it feels unfamiliar and difficult and the results are not immediate. You look at yourself and notice you haven’t gained any muscle. Somedays you may have to push yourself to keep up with your training.

However, you know that if you keep going, over time you will see and feel the results of your hard work. Months after you started working out you have a toned body, you eat healthier, feel more energy throughout your day, and you’re proud to show off.

Mental health and positive thinking are quite similar. When you practice positive thinking regularly, it might not always be successful, but your perspective towards your world starts changing. You start thinking of everything that can go RIGHT and feel confident to take on challenges.

It is a skill that needs constant practice and is flexible enough for you to mold it to your needs. For example: when you get into an argument instead of thinking of all the things you said wrong, you start actively looking for solutions and compromises.

TIPS TO THINK POSITIVELY

Practice Gratitude

Be thankful for the good things that you have. Your family, friends, coworkers, community. Be grateful for all the little things, like the fact that you have access to drinking water. Little things that we take for granted can be a great source of gratitude.

DON’T MINIMIZE YOUR SUCCESSES

Recognize your efforts and talents when achieving a goal. We have a tendency to downplay our achievements, but we need to learn to celebrate ourselves and be our own cheerleaders.

Avoid White or black mindset

This kind of mindset limits our ability to be happy and undervalues our efforts. White or black thinking leads to seeing all bad when something is not perfect. Even in imperfection, things can be successful and worth it.

FOCUS on your strenghts

Dedicate a day to each of your strengths and practice them to develop ways to use them effectively. Take advantage of all your talents to make your day better

Generate positive emotions

Choose a song, picture or video that makes you feel good! This is a way to take a break from anything that is going on in your life and can help you laugh a little.

picture your best future

Use visualization to help you achieve your goals. Each day visualize the best day you can have and include as many details as you can. See what you’re wearing, how you’re feeling, where are you, what are you doing. Include all five senses. You want to immerse yourself in this experience.

If you need help relaxing and creating positive thoughts, we can help! Our meditation room is a comfortable and safe place to explore your mental health. We offer enhanced meditation with our David Delight Pro AVE and CES machine. This equipment will guide your brain to a meditative state and stimulate your brain to generate more positive thinking.

If you’re interested you can email us at aspenvalleycounseling@gmail.com or call us at (801)224-1103 for your FREE appointment for our meditation room.

Get Your Head in the Right Space

Did you know…? Your body is extremely intelligent and capable of healing. Often when thinking about our health we fail to see ourselves as complex beings. Our mind and body are always connected and interacting to help us adapt to our environment and keep our functioning in optimal condition. However, when afflictions affect the body or the mind, this delicate balance can be broken and cause an array of physical and emotional symptoms.

Nowadays in Western culture, we have a quick-relief approach to our health. When we feel pain or discomfort we can take a pill and hope to make it go away. Unfortunately, this is a temporal fix and will cause the symptom to come back if we ignore its origin.

Taking the time to figure out the root cause of our health symptoms can seem like a complicated and daunting journey. Treating the root cause of an illness requires commitment since it might include changes in lifestyle and creating new habits. Moreover, they might not bring immediate relief to certain symptoms but they will bring LONG TERM RELIEF and enhance your quality of life.

When a health specialist, being physical or mental health, takes the time to look at every factor that might be contributing to discomfort or illness, they are using Holistic Health. A holistic doctor may use conventional and alternative approaches to treat their patients. For example, a patient that complains of frequent headaches might have to look at medications, diet, sleep pattern, stress levels, and possibly therapy if there’s an emotional component to it.

Psychosomatic Illness and Symptoms

Pyschosomatic illness refers to physical symptoms that are caused by emotional distress and other mental health disturbances rather than an organic cause in the body. A common misconception is that psychosomatic symptoms are not as serious because they are caused by emotions. However, they are very real and need to be treated just like any other illness. Our mind has a great influence on brain structure and functioning, and in effect, our brain influences physical functioning.

Common health issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as high stress, can cause various physical symptoms besides emotional changes.

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Racing heart
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweaty or trembling hands
  • Digestion issues
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakened immune system

MINDFULNESS

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Mindfulness allows us to heighten our awareness of the present, our surroundings, what we think, and our sensory experiences. The first rule of mindfulness is to learn to accept things as they are.

By practicing mindfulness we gain self-awareness and self-compassion, we allow ourselves to look at our advantages and defects without judgment or biases. When doing this, we also learn to look at others with a different perspective and more empathy.

Research shows that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.

The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.

Simple Mindfulness Tips

  1. Schedule quiet time. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just anywhere where you can take a time out.
  2. Observe the present moment. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment.
  3. Let judgments go. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
  4. Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
  5. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.

NEUROFEEDBACK

Neurofeedback can help you treat the root cause of your symptoms: your BRAIN.

Neurofeedback is a treatment that allows you to train brainwaves to improve and enhance their functioning. The brain receives feedback to produce changes in brain patterns that are associated with positive outcomes in physical, emotional and cognitive skills. This treatment does not require surgery or medicine and is not painful. Feedback usually consists of watching images on a screen, which could be a game or a movie.

If you wish to know more about neurofeedback and train your brain to a healthier state please visit: https://aspen-wellness.org/nft/ or call our office for questions (801) 224-1103

Photo credits to Marc Bourcier Photography

Create a Meditation Practice

Meditation is a wonderful way to relax, relieve stress, and connect with your body and mind.

If you are new to meditation, you may not know what meditation is or how to do it effectively. You may even be tempted to give up as soon as you’ve started because it’s not just right for you.

While you may be tempted to quit, hang in there a bit longer. There are many health benefits to having a meditation practice and it’s a lot simpler than people think.

Change of thought

Unrealistic expectations are a big hindrance for those trying to implement a meditation practice. In western society, we focus a lot on outcome goals which are goals that are focused on having a specific, final product or outcome. When we approach meditation with the end in mind, we miss the whole of what meditation is.

Instead, think of thinking of meditation as a destination, think of it as a process. As you do meditation more frequently, you will learn and grow from each individual session. You will gain new insights, find beauty in the nuances, and have different experiences every time you meditate.

When you approach meditation in this way you are opening yourself up to learn from the process.

What is meditation?

Dr. Richard J Davidson told the New York Times,

“In Buddhist tradition, the word ‘meditation’ is equivalent to a word like ‘sports’ in the U.S. It’s a family of activities, not a single thing,”

In general, those who are not familiar with meditation do not realize that there are so many different types of meditation. As with sports, they all fall under the same umbrella but have unique areas of focus and different processes.

Here are some examples of different meditation types or techniques.

Concentration Meditation

To engage in concentration meditation, you start by placing your focus on one of the five senses: breath, touch, taste, sound, or sight.

Focusing on the different senses could mean staring at a candle flame, listen to repetitive music, speak a specific mantra that you repeat aloud over and over again, etc.

The key is to hyper-focus on the sense.

As you concentrate on your sense of choice, your mind will wander, especially if you are a beginner. THIS IS OKAY! It is part of the process. Gently refocus your attention.

Mindfulness meditation

In mindfulness meditation, you practice being in the present moment. It is hearing the sounds around you, noticing how the chair feels against your skin, or being aware of the thoughts as they come and go.

The goal in meditation is to keep the mind clear. For mindfulness, you may not be able to sit with a clear mind at first. As the stray thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them, and let them go. The goal is to not engage in or continue with the thoughts.

The American Psychological Association wrote an article called What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness. They describe mindfulness as,

” Rather than dwelling on the past or dreading the future, mindfulness encourages awareness of a person’s existing surroundings. Crucial to this is a lack of judgment. So, rather than reflecting on the annoyance of a long wait, a practitioner will simply note the wait without judgment.

Mindfulness meditation is something people can do almost anywhere. While waiting in line at the grocery store, for example, a person might calmly notice their surroundings, including the sights, sounds, and smells they experience.”

They also went on to report research evidence that showed mindfulness helps:

  • reduce fixation on negative emotions
  • improve focus
  • improve memory
  • lessen impulsive, emotional reactions
  • improve relationship satisfaction
Loving-kindness meditation

The goal of the loving-kindness meditation is to foster a sense of love and kindness towards oneself, people in the practitioners’ lives, and a general feeling of love for life in general.

The loving-kindness meditation is done by the practitioner focusing on the feelings of love and kindness. They send love and kindness to themselves internally and send it outward to others.

The more you are able to feel these emotions in meditation, the more you will be able to feel them throughout the rest of the day. This meditation has been linked to the reduction of PTSD symptoms, anxiety, and depression as well as being a general mood booster overall.

Body scan or progressive relaxation

This meditation is known by both names, the body scan meditation or the progressive relaxation. To practice this meditation, you do a progressive scan of the body releasing tension as you go.

There are different variations of progressive relaxation. For one variation, you begin at one extremity of the body, moving through the body inch by inch, finding any tension and then releasing it. You focus on one body part at a time until you have worked through the whole body.

Another way to do progressive relaxation is to work through the body in a similar fashion to the one above. The difference is that instead of just releasing the tension in each body part, you purposefully tense up all of the muscles of each section and then release that tension. Repeat through each section of the body.

A third variation to help release the tension in the body is to imagine yourself floating on a cloud, drifting in the ocean, being weightless, or any other similar variation. The idea of floating weightlessly helps the body relax.

MOVEMENT MEDITATION:

Movement meditation combines rhythmic movement with meditation. The rhythm of the movement helps focus and center the mind. This type of meditation may be easier for some people as they don’t have to sit still.

The movement most associated with this meditation is yoga, but other types of movement can be movement meditations as well. Tai chi, swimming, or walking are examples of other movements that could be used for a movement meditation.

Meditation is a much simpler practice than it may seem at first glance. It is very individual and based on the practitioner’s intentions for each practice. Try one today and reap the many rewards meditation can bring!