PSYCHOLOGY & RELATIONSHIPS
BY SILJA LITVIN, Psychologist
The beauty of positive psychology lies in its focus on everything that is successful and positive about a person’s life. World’s renowned Neuroscientists Andrew Newberg proved via CAT scans that positive thinking and meditation actively change brain activity, reducing stress agents in the body and flooding the system with ‘happy hormones’. All these things account for a raise of the satisfaction level perceived by the person experiencing it. While doing exercises that enhance mental and emotional health are just slowly becoming part of our life, there already are a few helpers such as the apps ‘Headspace’ and ‘Happify’ that keep people on track while measuring their emotional levels and offering mental exercises. But what else can be done?
WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS
The average person has 65,000 thoughts per day, 40% of which are said to be negative. In order to grow as a businesswoman, and actually as better human being, it is important to listen to our thought and try flip the statistic in our favour. The way we perceive the world and our personal life determines its quality. Every bad experience can be reframed into a different, happier context. French explorer Robinson Crusoe compiled a very interesting list shortly after a becoming stranded on deserted island. None of his belongings specifically his clothes, made it to the island, but this didn’t make a different. The list was not a physical inventory, but rather the life saving skills he had to employ in order to survive the harsh environment. Hopefully, none of us will ever be stranded on deserted island, but it doesn’t mean that we cant use to same approach in our life, even in it simplest form. For example, who hasn’t been stuck in a traffic jam, terribly late to an important dinner or meeting and completely lost their nerves? That is exactly when you need to focus on positive aspect in your life, breath calmly and think broadly. The next time you face a challenge, simply take three long and deep breaths tough your nose and exhale trough the mouth. This will not only make you feel better, but if you make it a habit, it will change your brain chemistry and improve your health physically as well as mentally. My app recommendation: Happify.
WHO INFLUENCES YOU?
Do not surround yourself with negative people or those who give up too quickly or have distractive lifestyles. This can even be your closest friends or family. Those are known to be fiercest critics. Instead, surround yourself with people that are one the same journey as your and are influencing you consciously or subconsciously by their actions, thoughts and lifestyle. There is a saying that your five closest friends determine who you are. That is true to an extent as we are social creatures and its crucial to have a network of people that support us and that we can rely on. Psychoneuroimmunology, the science of body and mind interaction, proves that people with close friendships not only have significantly lower levels of stress hormones, but that they actually show a higher expectancy of life. And, unfortunately, if you have friends or family members stress you too much, this has a similar effect on your health as smoking or eating bad food excessively.
Meditation can be a great practice that brings clarity of tough, focus and tranquillity. Managing a business requires a long-term strategy, therefore having short breaks refuels your body and mind. Even a 3 minutes daily retreat can easily become the most important minutes of our day. Research has piled up overwhelming proof that meditation is not just a hippie or monks practise. Harvard Neuropsychologist Thomas Vlatzowik piled up meta studies to show how meditation will allow people to go through the day with significant lower levels of stress hormones, higher cognitive abilities and a much greater feeling of satisfaction and happiness. If you have an important day ahead, maybe a clients meeting, or you need to face the board of your company, meditating only 5 minutes in the morning might make the difference of appearing professional and sharp or not. And feeling good all the while is not bad, either, isn’t it? My app recommendation: Headspace.
Disconnect from oneself by focusing the brain on physical activities to promote innovation, fresh thinking and happiness. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes how people can lose themselves in tasks that acquire just the right amount of concentration. This can be writing, walking, drawing, singing, reading etc. Anything that requires intense focus. A task that brings you into flow will have you forget time, work and tasks. This is the state of mind that triggers a light euphoria that releases hormones such as dopamine into the system, functioning similar to a mental lubricant. We process data faster and more efficiently, react and think quickly. The more we reach this state of mind, the happier, healthier and balanced we become, both in our personal an professional life’s.