Study after study show that people with a more positive mentality have healthier physical and mental health compared to those with a more negative mentality.
Perception is a very personal thing. Two people can view the same thing very differently.
An optimist can find an unseen benefit or a silver lining even in the darkest of matters, while a pessimist can find a negative in the most positive situation.
How does this happen? It has everything to do with how you perceive the world.
Mind Over Matter
When unexpected or otherwise significant things happen in our lives, we typically have a gut reaction. This reaction is often full of emotion, whether it is anger or joy or sadness or disbelief. We often do not realize that our perceptions affect this emotional reaction because it is such a natural process.
Significant or unexpected things that could happen include losing your job, receiving a promotion, watching your child pack up and move away to college, encountering financial problems, or having a baby. The list goes on and on.
It seems completely natural and ordinary to feel sad when you lose your job, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you let that sadness block you from moving forward or dwell in it for an extended period of time, then it negatively affects your health. You can become depressed, anxious, overly stressed, neglect your hygiene, lose, or gain weight, etc.
An optimist will see the job loss as an opportunity for something better, while the pessimist may think it’s the end of the world.
You must be able to overcome negative feelings by focusing on how you can improve your situation. By focusing on the positive, on what you can do for yourself (such as applying for new jobs), or how others can help you, then you can prevent harmful effects to your health.
How to Change Your Perceptions
How you perceive particular situations in your life, as well as life as a whole, directly affects your emotions, your day-to-day mentality and your health. Start on a path towards a healthier lifestyle by changing the way you perceive things.
1 – Talk to your doctor. First, if you have any existing health problems, you need to make sure that something other than your emotions and mentality is not causing them. Changing your perceptions and mentality will have little effect if something else is in the way. Furthermore, a doctor can listen to your unique circumstances and provide insight into how your emotions may be affecting you.
2 – Find an outlet to express your emotions. Join a self-help group or meet with a therapist so that you can intentionally and regularly share your feelings. They can give valuable feedback or share their own experiences, which in turn help shape your perceptions.
3 – Seek balance in your life. Rid your life of any instabilities and stressful commitments. You need time to relax and have “me” time. You need to seek peace and balance by maintaining an appropriate work-life balance and taking time for yourself daily.
4 – Intentionally say positive things when you have negative thoughts. As soon as something negative floods your mind, immediately say something positive. This both stops the negative thought in its tracks and helps focus your mind on the positive.
5 – Develop a resilient mind. Adopt techniques that will help you better cope with unexpected situations and more importantly, overcome those unexpected situations. People with a “can-do” attitude are more resilient to trauma and have more positive perceptions of the world around them.
6 – Practice relaxation. You may be surprised by this one, but relaxation helps you to obtain inward peace and balanced emotions, which in turn improves the way you perceive yourself and others.
7 – Practice meditation. The meditative state induces peace, clam and clarity of mind. It lets you clear away all the outside noise and focus on your inner self. This practice results in less stress, a more positive outlook, and a simply calmer view of the world. This in turn allows you to better handle day-to-day stresses and pick your battles so to say.
8 – Surround yourself with positive people. This is key because when you don’t know how to do something, a role model is your best way to learn.
Your perceptions affect your thoughts and feelings, which send signals throughout your body, and stress hormones that can affect your health. Your mental, emotional, and physical states are all impacted by these signals.
Unstable nerves do a lot of damage, from mental breakdowns to physical pain. Make an effort to perceive yourself and the world more positively, and you will significantly strengthen your health. There is a silver lining in every cloud, there really is.