Put the power of positive thinking to work

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Your healthy and active lifestyle can be boosted with a positive mindset

Life can be overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to dwell on what’s going wrong rather than what’s going right. But science has shown that if we are able to adjust our mindset and think positively, we can transform ourselves into positive people living positive and productive lives.

Perceptions and the brain

To harness the power of positive thinking, we first have to take control of our perceptions about the world. Negative past experiences and associations are stored, and when an experience is repeated it activates the brain’s sensory cortex. It sends that information to the rest of the brain, first transferring it to the hippocampus. This digs up all of your related beliefs and perceptions, and that information is then sent to another part of the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala determines whether or not to take action, and it sends a signal to the hypothalamus which triggers a physical reaction in your body, often in the form of adrenaline release.

If this happens, you will experience an adrenaline rush where your heart rate increases, breathing intensifies and sweat glands kick into action. All because your perception is negative, not because there was anything to be alarmed about. Therefore, once you start to recognize and change your perceptions in a positive way you will start to see positive results. Because our perceptions control the amount of stress we experience, it’s important to evaluate them to change negative perceptions to positive associations.

Perceptions impact stress levels

Staying positive is not only a way to stay happy, it is also important for stress management. When we’re stressed, a hormone called Cortisol increases, and this can have a serious physical effect on the body. It sends more sugar into the bloodstream; this increases the risk of diabetes, it slows down the digestive system, and it can also have an effect on the reproductive system. It also affects sleep, which in turn lessens the body’s ability to produce the “happy chemicals” dopamine and serotonin which we need to function at our best. (Click here to read more about how physical activity improves your mental wellbeing)

Turn negatives to positives and break the cycle

To stay in a positive frame of mind, try use your belief system and perceptions to bring you toward success. Because our perceptions literally guide the things we see with our eyes (and in turn, the way our brain communicates with our body) it’s important to try and look past the negative and focus instead on the positives of a situation.

Managing stress through meditation and mindfulness is also helpful for those looking to increase mental wellbeing and positivity. Regular meditation is the ultimate rest for your brain, and when your mind is at ease and not focused on the outside world it has time to recuperate.

Thinking positively can also create opportunities and develop our ability to create more positive habits, so go ahead, give it a try!

This Healthy Living article was developed by PepsiCo in partnership with the Saudi SFA

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