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Turn that frown upside down


Performance Matters

Andrew May is a performance coach who has spent the past 15 years working with elite sportspeople.

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Know the feeling?

Know the feeling? Photo: Rodger Cummins

Attitude forms an important part of our personality and the way we think is a very important element in creating the kind of life we want to live.

This is why positive thinking makes such a big difference in our lives. Not the happy-clappy, "click your heels and go to Kansas, Dorothy". I'm talking about having more positive, optimistic thoughts than negative, self-limiting thoughts on a daily basis.

A positive attitude really can help you change your life for the better. Here are 10 benefits:

1. Enhanced stress management

Reducing the amount of negative thoughts and replacing them with more optimistic thoughts will help to reduce worry and decrease stress. When you develop a positive attitude and maintain it, you're less likely to be stressed about life.

2. Better health

Our thinking directly effects our body and how it functions. When you replace negative thoughts with calmness, and substitute confidence and peacefulness for resentment, anxiety and worry, your wellbeing automatically improves. This means fewer sleeping disorders, muscle tensions, anxieties, and decreased fatigue.

3. Self-confidence

Having self-confidence means that we have faith in our capacities. It is also means we are much more likely to be authentic and happy being who we are, not trying to be somebody else. Positive thinking promotes self-confidence. If we don't have self-confidence, we will never fulfill our true potential.

4. Better decision-making

Optimists are better decision makers. Clear and rational thinking prevents you from making clouded judgments, foolish decisions or doing things that you will regret later. When you start using your mind in a calm and controlled manner, you also make decisions faster.

5. Increased focus

A silent mind enables us to gain focus and tap inner inspiration. Positive thinking helps you focus on the solution, rather than waste time and energy on negative emotions.

6. Improved time management

With improved focus and better-decision making abilities, you'll be more organised all round. This will help you get more done in less time and then have extra time for yourself and for your loved ones.

7. More success in life

Negative attitude gets in the way of success and happiness. Positive thinkers focus more on what can go right rather than what can go wrong and cultivate a feeling of success. A realistic, positive attitude literally can change your whole life.

8. Attracts good things

When people live positively, they are able to attract positive people and more positive events in their life. Also, when a person is positive, people want to be around them.

9. Less fear

Fear comes from focusing on or obsessing about the negative. While some fear in life is a good thing, acting to warn us and keep us safe, too much fear drains energy and takes you away from focusing on what you really want. When you remain positive you will know that no matter what happens in your life, you will be able to face it.

10. A happier life

The research is overwhelming; optimistic people with healthy levels of self-confidence lead happier and healthier lives. If you have a positive disposition you will anticipate a happier life, laughter, good health and financial success.

A positive attitude improves the ability to bounce back from challenges in life and helps us better cope with whatever life throws our way. You will not become an optimist overnight, but it is worth the effort as it results in improved health, longer life expectancy and improved levels of contentedness.

Here are a few tips to help you develop the habit of positive thinking:

•     Be optimistic and expect more favorable outcomes

•     Appreciate what you already have and find reasons to smile more often

•     Engage in enjoyable recreational activities and regularly have doses of fun

•     Read inspiring books and listen to your favourite music

•     Keep a thought journal and start to take more notice of the types of thoughts you have

•     Follow a healthy lifestyle

•     Exercise at least three times a week

•     Hang out with happy people

•     If you have been feeling sad or down for longer than a few weeks, see your GP or book in to see a psychologist who can give you some great skills to help you manage/challenge your thinking

What do you do to think more positively? Do you believe you can change the way you think?

(Sources: LifeMojo Team; Danielle Buckley, Go Beyond Psycholo-gical Solutions)


  • To be honest - I'm a frowner, I've noticed I tend to frown 95% of the time while driving and whilst at work sit at my desk frowning alot of the time as well, I try to think positively and have started trying to be a bit happier whilst driving which isn't easy with traffic but will put some of these to use and see if they help me.

    Date and time
    August 19, 2013, 2:46PM
    • Same here. And I have the permanent creases between my eyebrows to prove it. I don't think it's got anything to do with being happy or too serious at all. When I first noticed the frown lines I paid attention to when I frown, and it's when I think or listen [or maybe 'concentrate' is a better word? : } I like to believe that thinking doesn't tax me that much] Of course it could always be worse; I could be a mouth-breathing Neanderthal that never thinks, or a botoxed simpleton that is completely unable to express a facial movement that indicates whether I'm paying attention or not. I'll take the lines, thanks.

      Date and time
      August 19, 2013, 6:23PM
  • I would consider that I have a generally negative (or cynical) view of things and, to be honest, I think it makes me happier and less stressful generally. As weird as that sounds.

    The premise is that if I'm always expecting the worst, only two outcomes are possible:
    1. Things are as expected, meaning I rarely suffer disappointments and can work through the situation and manage it effectively. or
    2. Things are better than I expect and I'm pleasantly surprised, leading me to be happier and not take things for granted.

    In my line of work, I'm also much more valuable to my boss if I can think this way and plan for all (or most) eventualities. Because we're generally prepared for things to go worng, we can fix them promptly, making my boss happy. And a happy boss makes my life much better!

    Date and time
    August 19, 2013, 3:02PM
    • I plan for the worst case scenario but approach difficult things positively as problems to be solved and I expect a good outcome. The two versions are not mutually exclusive and I also feel more relaxed making decisions with a worst case scenario as my foundation. But when it comes to relationships with other people (i.e dating) you need to go with your gut feeling and be spontaneous - second guessing is a hindrance to happiness.

      Date and time
      August 19, 2013, 4:26PM
    • Completely agree with Garviel, I think exactly like this and I find it's better for me.

      Date and time
      August 19, 2013, 7:05PM
    • I wouldn't know a lot about dating recenty, I've been happily married for more than 10 years. :-)

      And I'm not against sponteneity at all - I just don't get depressed when things don't go my way. (I find most people with this 'always be happy/optimistic/postivie' mindset thing are actually very fragile.)

      Date and time
      August 19, 2013, 8:48PM
  • Although I agree it's good to have a generally positive outlook on things, I can't stand the people who put on the happy attitude 24/7 at work, (you know... those people who work in mainly marketing who do triathlons for fun on the weekend). They have most likely read too many self motivation books and sucking up to the boss all the time saying they are doing a good job. Sure enough these people may get further than you up the corporate ladder, but at least my fellow work mates don't think I'm a tool like he is.

    Date and time
    August 19, 2013, 3:19PM
    • Not only that, but they tend to be a bit full of b/s, won't call a spade a spade, live in denial and seem to be easily sent into fits of depression when a run of things go against them.

      Date and time
      August 19, 2013, 8:50PM
  • When you are at school you are constantly being told why you can't do things. Then you leave university with a huge student debt and then finally the day comes when you get a job, where the only feedback you get is usually bad. We don't breed people to be positive, original and brave - we breed people to be timid, compliant and afraid. Its the way of the world - its the system.

    Date and time
    August 19, 2013, 5:48PM
    • Couldn't disagree more.

      If anything, kids are told they can do anything, regardless of the false hope it builds up in them. Either that, or we deny telling them anything at all. Have a look at how many crash and burn in the wakes of year 11/12 - the first time they're actually given a proper rating against their peers.

      These kids have smoke blown up their yazoo so much they grow up with an entitlement complex and can't handle it when they realise (the truth) that they're not all geniuses, 'special', 'gifted', or whatever else you want to call it.

      A bit of hard, honest reality early will help kids with expectation management and learning to deal with life and reality. Toughen up!

      Little Horus
      Date and time
      August 20, 2013, 7:16AM

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