When it comes to our overall attitude, most of us want to be more positive, loving, and understanding. Adopting these outlooks requires a little bit of inner work, and since huge changes in mental shifting can be difficult, it can be good to realize some little changes you can make to your mindset that can have powerful results. Just as in other areas of life, adjusting your thinking requires baby steps, and there's no harm in starting off small.
"Small changes are more impactful for better mental health than huge overhauls because they have a much higher likelihood of becoming habit, and therefore sticking around in our lives," says positive psychology expert Pax Tandon over email. "Big sweeping changes are at high risk of becoming passing fads."
Taking the time to make little tweaks to the way you think can have a big impact on your overall attitude. Whether you want to be more optimistic, practice more self-love, or even just motivate yourself to work harder, tweaking your thought process can influence how you handle life's challenges and how you behave. If you're looking for a bit of a mental overhaul, try making these six little changes to your mindset that can have big results.
1. Practice Mindfulness
You don't have to engage in full blown meditation to experience the benefits of mindfulness. Instead, you can focus on your breathing. "Take a few moments every day to practice mindfulness using your breath," says Tandon. "Once you begin to notice your breath, you'll be conscious of breathing more slowly, deeply and actively. More air = more oxygen into your body and brain to help you think more clearly, calm you, and lower stress, among many other benefits."
2. Express Gratitude
"Think of three things for which you are grateful, from your day, your week, or your life in general," says Tandon. "Research shows this is one of the most effective ways to change our perspective from what is going wrong,' to what is going 'right.' This quickly helps us find more happiness."
3. Engage In Acts Of Kindess
"Practice one random act of kindness each day," says Tandon. Studies show that helping others leads to more happiness, as giving activates the same areas in the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. "Service, which is simply an altruistic form of kindness, is the most effective route to flourishing, and small acts each day are far easier and more appealing to implement than renouncing modern life and becoming Mother Theresa."
4. Show Yourself Some Love
"Praise yourself each time you work towards your goal," says psychotherapist Jessica Marchena, LMHC over email. Positive feedback is important to keep you motivated, and where better to receive this motivation than from yourself. "You can pat yourself on the back or tell yourself, 'Great job, you did it,' says Marchena.
5. Write In A Journal
"Each time you do something towards your goal write it down or mark it," says Marchena. "This way you create diary of your progress, and when you reach your goal, you can look back and see your journey of how you made it to your goal." One study from Dominican University found that writing down your goals makes you more likely to accomplish them.
6. Motivate Your Exercise
To keep yourself staying active and fit, challenge yourself each workout session. "If you walk, add a minute or two each time to increase your endurance," says Tandon. "Or, hold very light weights in your hands the next time you walk. These small changes are very approachable when you're in the midst of a session, but over time, add up to lots more endurance, strength, and calories burned."
All these little changes can add up to help you live more positively and healthfully over time.
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