Mood and mindset, what’s the connection? Optimism isn’t a simple glass half-full or half-empty kind of thing. But rather, it asks you to take conscious, actionable steps towards seeing the silver lining in every situation, no matter how small or difficult.
Having that positive outlook is a reflection of your feelings and thoughts. Mood and mindset are interlinked. This is why positive people are happier and smile more often.
Mood and Mindset
When you think positive thoughts and have positive feelings, it doesn’t mean you’re envisioning Candyland with flying unicorns and milkshake waterfalls. It simply means you take on any unpleasantness in life with a can-do attitude. Your thoughts are more organized and productive than someone whose first reaction is to rage out.
In addition, you feel a sense of calm and tranquillity. You approach things with a more level-headed mentality because you know that bad things don’t last forever.
What is the difference between mood and mindset?
It may seem obvious, but the way you think about the world has a massive effect on the quality of your days. Between the news, social media, and other non-stop inundations there are many influences on the direction of your thoughts. Since these influences often lead toward the negative, it’s important to be a thoughtful purveyor of information, not allowing others to dictate what goes on in your mind.
A review by Barbara L. Frederickson of the University of Michigan for the American Psychologist showed that positive emotions are not only a sign of flourishing but also help to produce flourishing. This benefit occurs not only in the moment but over the long term, promoting psychological growth and wellbeing.
In other words, being positive is a marker of well-being, and the act itself perpetuates good things in life. This is a cycle worth instigating, so let’s discuss some of the hallmarks of positivity, how to promote it, and the impacts on one’s mindset that we can expect.
The Qualities of Positivity
According to the Oxford Learners Dictionary, positivity is, “the practice of being positive in your attitude and focusing on what is good in a situation.” This emphasis on focusing on the good is significant, underscoring how where we place our attention shapes our perspective.
In an article for positivepsychology.com, Courtney E. Ackerman, MA goes much further describing many of the traits and attributes of positivity. Amongst the first descriptions, she includes are the following six: optimism, acceptance, resilience, gratitude, consciousness/mindfulness, and integrity. She goes on to point out that these characteristics are simultaneously cornerstones of positivity and generators of positivity.
So, cultivating the aforementioned traits yields double benefits. As you increase your ability to see the good in a situation you feel better and as a result things more readily appear good to you. Again, these are the kind of feedback loops we want, the ones that benefit us and are self-perpetuating.
To be positive is not to ignore hard truths, but rather to foster an internal locus of control that enables you to navigate even the most difficult situations with aplomb. It’s a practice that becomes more natural as you exercise the muscles of optimism, recognizing that nothing lasts forever and hardships are training grounds.
Positive thinking and living in the moment go hand-in-hand. In fact, it’s cyclical. Positive thinking helps you become more present, and being present helps you become more positive! We can increase our positive thoughts and feelings in four main areas of our lives: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
How can I improve my mindset and mood?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a positive attitude has many benefits for both mental and physical health. These include reducing stress, depression, distress from pain, anxiety, risk of death from cancer, respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease, infections, and stroke. All of that, while also improving psychological and physical wellbeing and increasing lifespan.
The idea of living longer and healthier is likely to improve anyone’s mindset. After all, that is the magic combo. For to live long without health could be torment and health without longevity would be a cheat.
You may not have been born with a sunny disposition, but you can certainly train yourself using some of the aforementioned techniques. The improvements to your health and the increase in your joy of living will be sure to put a smile on your face.
Cultivating a Positive Mood and Mindset
Even if your life appears to be picture-perfect, there will be times when you feel sad, angry, and alone. This is when you have to switch on your brain to cultivate happiness.
Here are five tips to help you use your positive feelings to promote a positive mindset:
No matter how bad you think your life is going, there are a million other people in this world who are having a rougher timer. So, you always have something to be grateful for.
Experts recommend you keep a gratitude journal and set aside five minutes each day to write down your thoughts and feelings. You can do this first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.
Focus on three good things that happened that day and write them down. You can also add a few notes on how they benefited you and what you can learn from each one.
By reflecting on what you’re thankful for, you train your mind to see the positive in each situation. You also allow yourself to feel more confident and in control.
Contribute to Your Community
Robert F. Kennedy understood this when he said, “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
When you give away your time or money to help someone out, you’re allowing yourself to be connected to something bigger than yourself. Ask around in your community. Are there any foundations you can join? How about volunteering at a soup kitchen or local shelter?
Whatever you go with, you can rest assured that it’s a fulfilling way to add positivity to your life.
We’re social butterflies. Human connection is a basic need, after food, clothes, and shelter.
Yet, because we’re so busy, it’s easier to just connect via social media. So, we send texts instead of calling. We link up through video chats instead of actually visiting.
While technology has been a lifesaver, it’s better to start getting back those face-to-face get-togethers we used to do. You’ll help break the awful routine everybody’s life seems to be stuck in. Plus, it’s a great way to bring some positivity back into your life.
Laugh More Often
Laughter really is the best medicine. Studies show that laughing reduces the release of stress hormones. It also helps lower levels of anxiety and depression, especially if you’re laughing together with a group of friends.
More interestingly, getting a daily dose of laughter helps decrease your sensation of pain and distress. The science behind it is that your brain triggers the body’s relaxation response system every time you laugh.
It also boosts your energy levels and strengthens your immune system. Yet, the most critical benefit of laughter is that it gives us a fresh perspective on life, one that’s full of happiness and optimism.
Find a Hobby
You remember what a hobby is, don’t you? Unfortunately, most of us nowadays barely remember what it feels like to sit in silence for five minutes, let alone do something they enjoy for half an hour.
There are two ways to go about this. You can either pick up something you used to enjoy doing but stopped for one reason or another.
Or, you can find something you’ve never tried before. Learn a new language, take a sewing class, or go skydiving.
Whatever it is, make sure it fills your heart with joy and gives you something to look forward to. So, when you’re happy, your thoughts and feelings become more positive, and so does your mindset.
The Benefit of Promoting a Positive Mindset
Positive thinking is an extensive field of study that researchers have spent decades exploring. It’s a fascinating subject, not only because of how different everyone’s perspective on life is but also because of the sheer number of health benefits that we gain just by having a positive outlook.
Below are just a few ways positive feelings can promote a positive mindset. Check it out.
- Lowers depression rates
- Reduces feelings of pain, distress, and despair
- Boosts physical well-being
- Enhances the immune system
- Strengthens cardiovascular health
- Reduces the risk of chronic illnesses and infections
- Increases resilience and your ability to cope in stressful situations