Happy 2017! What can we do to make 2017 our best year yet? We can start by bringing more positive thoughts into our lives. Researchers measured brain activity and discovered that negative thoughts trigger the areas of the brain linked to anxiety and depression. Positive thoughts activate the brain regions that create relaxation and happiness.
This has tremendous significance because happiness is associated with improved bone density, a healthier heart, improved immune function, reduced pain, and increased longevity.
Unfortunately for most people, 80% of their habitual thoughts are negative. Dr. Daniel Amen, a psychiatrist and brain imaging specialist, calls them ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). To increase your happiness, it is necessary to squash the ANTs. The good news is that you have the power to do this. You can actually rewire your brain and strengthen the areas that stimulate happiness and positive feelings. My favorite technique to do this has two steps. First you stop and notice the negative thought. Next shift your focus and replace it with a constructive positive thought.
Let’s look at an example of what I am talking about:
The negative thought…I will never be able to strengthen my bones. They are too weak.
The replacement thought…. I am exercising to strengthen my bones and improve my well-being.
As you start to consciously and deliberately interrupt your negative thoughts and reframe them in a positive way, you will notice the ANTs running away. It takes practice and time to master this seemingly simple technique. The results are worth it! I have seen remarkable changes in myself and my clients with this practice. So stomp out the ANTs in 2017 and see your happiness grow.