When you start your day in a good mood and with the right mindset, does your whole day seem to flow amazingly well? Your productivity increases, traffic seems to move quickly, people smile and open doors, you have great conversations with your colleagues, and you may quickly find a solution to a problem that’s been bothering you for ages.
Such is the power of optimism. When we perceive situations through a positive lens, we notice the good in situations and boost our ability to deal with stress. Here at Chōsen, we believe that optimism is one of the key pillars of resilience, as it is closely interlinked with overall happiness and wellbeing.
Have you ever noticed how news coverage is predominantly negative? It turns out that we all have an inherent bias toward negativity. For thousands of years, we had to be vigilant for our survival and pay special attention to threats. Our brains are still wired to look for these life-threatening events so that we can survive them. We also tend to be impacted more by negative events than positive ones.
Looking at what goes on in our brain chemistry, we can better understand how positive thinking can hold so much power over our experience of life and our level of resilience. When we face criticism, rejection, fear, or negativity, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol - the stress hormone that can shut down the thinking center of our brain and activate suboptimal behaviors, like aggression or conflict aversion. This primes us to be more reactive and sensitive, and less logical. In this state, our ability to accurately perceive situations is affected, and we are more likely to scan for negatives and magnify them. There goes our negativity bias!
On the other hand, positive thoughts, interactions, and conversations are accompanied by the release of oxytocin. This hormone activates the pathways in our prefrontal cortex associated with building trust and improving communication.
This is distinguished from toxic positivity, which is a practice of denying one’s negative feelings. Optimism does not mean ignoring the challenges of life, instead it means practicing being open to challenging situations and approaching them with a curious and learner’s mindset.
When we routinely practice optimism and gratitude, our brain makes connections that support further positivity. We come to see the world in a more optimistic way, and over time, find we are naturally more positive.
Many of us today are still struggling to find solid footing during this time of prolonged crisis. More than ever, we must be ready to change direction and strategy as the world unfolds. We invite you to learn more about how you can bulletproof your wellbeing by harnessing the power of optimism as an active goal-oriented process with our online Foundational Resilience Course. Instead of expecting things to get better, we approach each day and each challenge with curiosity and experimentation.
Our 5-week Foundational Resilience Program is designed to guide you to create a customized program to support yourself through challenging times, practice a mindset of continual growth and transform your lifestyle. Designed by our team of global performance experts composed of Gold Medal Olympians, Wellness Doctors, Nutritionists, Neuroscientists, and Business Leaders, our self-paced, online program was nominated Finalist for “Best Wellness Program” by Destination Deluxe in 2020.
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