Our Brains Are Predisposed to Misery, But That Doesn’t Mean You Have to Be Miserable

20150311170104-brain-skull-human-medicalImage credit: J E Theriot | Flickr | Enhanced by Entrepreneur

Do you know any of those beautiful people with supermodel looks who could not stop talking about how devastating it was that they had gained a half-pound or how ugly they look and feel at certain times?

I always wondered how they could look at themselves in the mirror and see only the flaws. Why can’t they focus on the positives? I also wondered what would happen to them if something major occurred — illness, loss of loved ones, etc. — in their lives. Would they be able to survive?

As human beings, we are wired to focus on the negative and give all of the failures, problems and hardships in our lives more attention than all of the good and beauty that surrounds us. It’s just like those beautiful people who will go to extreme lengths to point out the bad while totally forgetting that they are incredibly blessed with good looks.

I have talked a lot about the importance of reconditioning your mind and taking control of your thoughts every day over the years, but I never realized that we were physically hardwired to be negative until I started conducting some research.

Researchers, in a laboratory setting, showed participants identified pictures of angry faces much faster than happy ones. “We have a sixth sense for misery,” as Cracked put it.

So when you fail or something doesn’t go as planned, it’s natural that you begin to think negatively and let those diminishing thoughts take over.

Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, states that research in neuroscience is showing that we’re all hardwired to register and remember negative events more quickly and deeply than positive ones.

Have you noticed that you often focus on the negative? Have you ever wondered if you’re just a negative person or if society and the media downloaded so much negativity into the world and ultimately into our brains, that it has become a natural part of us?

“Evidence does suggest that agitation, anger and fear are easier for most of us to access and sustain than peace, happiness and fulfillment, and that a genuinely happy life doesn’t happen without deliberate effort,” writes psychotherapist Tom Moon.

Before you get depressed about all this, remember that you can change your emotions and feelings.

“What this means in practice is that if we are serious about striving for happiness, we need a sustained intention to take the actions necessary to produce it, and we also have to devote regular attention to the positive events in our lives,” Moon writes.

What we think about every minute is a whole lot more important than what most people think it is. Even when they’re the little thoughts that you believe have no meaning at all, they certainly do. Those little thoughts of negativity will add up to big thoughts, which will eventually take over if you’re not attentive to them. Get intentional about experiencing the very best that life has to offer.

Focus on your wins for the day, not the losses. Live in a space of gratitude and constantly give thanks for all of the blessings in your life. Be sure to engage in positive and uplifting conversations with family and friends. In all that you do, make sure to feed the positives in your life. As I stated above, we are wired to be negative and concentrate on all of the misfortunes in our lives, and the media doesn’t add any solutions to that problem.

From this moment on, don’t wait for anyone else or for a certain event in your life to bring you the happiness that you desire. It’s a choice that needs to be made from within, and only you can make that decision for yourself. The power of intention is extraordinary when practiced and harnessed every day of our lives.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

6 Ways to Enhance Your Mindset So You Can Take on Life’s Challenges

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One of the most rewarding things that I have ever done was create a daily mindset enhancement program for myself. This program has one goal and one goal only: to constantly feed my mind with uplifting and positive material that will help to keep me performing at a high level day in and day out, regardless of what’s going on.

Failure, toxic people and the everyday challenges of life have the potential to completely shatter our dreams, hopes and desires to do anything worthwhile in this world. Don’t be like everyone else and take a major hit to the quality of their thoughts and thinking when something bad happens in their lives.

Take charge of your mind. Grow and protect it with everything you have. All achievements, riches and happiness start in the mind.

There are going to be times where you wake up in the morning and don’t feel like going to work on your mind. However, failing to do so provides you with a lot more challenges and problems than to actually take the 20 to 30 minutes out of your day to sit down and do it.

Here are the steps of my daily mindset enhancement program that you can use as a starting point to help get you started.

1. Rise early.

Wake up at least two hours before you have to be somewhere. If you have to be at the office at 8, then wake up at 6. Waking up two hours before you have to be anywhere is very important because one of the main reasons why most people don’t have very good morning routines is because they rush. From the time they get up until the time they run out the door, everything is just a constant blur for them. They have no time to spend on themselves before they enter the real world.

2. Enter the classroom of silence.

In this day and age with all of the technoglogy, gadgets and obligations that we have, we hardly ever spend time in solitude. There is no better time to tune out the rest of the world and get in touch with your inner-self than early in the morning. All you need is roughly 10 to 15 minutes to sit in solitude and capture the essence of all of the beauty in your life.

I visualize how I want my day to go to every exact detail, from the moment I walk out the door, to the facial expressions of clients after meetings, to eating healthy meals all day long. My vision for the day ahead is as positive and successful as possible.

3. Keep a gratitude journal.

The best attitude to have is an attitude of gratitude, and keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way to incorporate gratitude into your daily routines. When we are going through a rough time or have a million things on our mind, the last thing we are thinking about most of the time is what we are grateful for.

Taking the time to actually write down at least three to five things you are grateful for in the morning sets you up for a happy and amazing day. Regardless of what setback or challenge you may be currently facing, gratitude is one of your best weapons against unhappiness and feeling sorry for yourself.

4. Read an uplifting and positive book.

Reading to the brain is what exercise is to the body. By reading a motivational and uplifting book you are providing yourself with the mental fuel to have a positive state of mind all day long. What we read and watch first thing in the morning is said to have the biggest effect on how the rest of our day goes.

5. Utilize the tremendous power of audiobooks.

Instead of driving to work and listening to music, put on a good audiobook or some type of audio program that is going to motivate, inspire or teach you something.

Work out in the morning? Get your sweat on while feeding your mind at the same time.

We spend so much time every day in cars, trains and airplanes that one of the best ways to utilize that commute time is to grow with audiobooks.

6. Engage in conversations that stimulate your mind.

Think about all of the conversations that you have on a daily basis. How many of them stimulate your mind with positive energy that gets you extremely excited about life in general?

There will always be negative people around us, including some of our closest friends and family members, but start to get real serious about the daily conversations that you engage in every day. Our moods, lives and mindsets are greatly affected by the conversations that we engage in. Make sure yours are building you up, not tearing you down.

Creating a mindset enhancement program and going to work on your mind every single day can dramatically change the direction of your life and business in an instant.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com