Being positive and having a mindset that sees “the glass half full” instead of “half empty” is linked to a part of the brain (Orbitofrontal Cortex, or OFC) that protects us from anxiety. And delightfully, the more we practice positive thinking, the larger this gray matter actually becomes, thus preventing anxiety and stress even more over time. If we can build resistance to anxiety by simply choosing to repeat positive thought patterns, why not intentionally do more of this, right? When going through my divorce years ago, I remember adopting a daily practice of walking down to a creek, sitting on a log and counting my blessings every day. Just to remind me of what I do have, and to prevent me from focusing on what I’d lost. I didn’t realize how much this contributed to my healing, but knew it simply made me feel good.
TILT 365 WEEKLY CHALLENGE: This week, I will practice positive thinking practices, instead of letting my mind wander to thoughts that cause me suffering.
Avoiding Gullibility (Overuse):
Everything about our human design is meant to serve our survival. Thus, the OFC part of our brain is designed to help us be positive when our environment is largely made up of positive interactions. But anxiety is also designed for our own good and without it we can become gullible and naive. The purpose of anxiety is to keep us alert to dangers and threats around us. The trouble is that after we experience a deeply stressful or traumatic event, our brain quickly begins to rewire itself to expect danger again. Excessive and persistent amounts of stress hormone “cortisol” can then create a domino effect that short-circuits the natural (OFC) buffer, leading instead straight to the emotional center of the brain and ending in chronic pessimism, anxiety and even depression. It’s simply trying to protect us from another impact. But can unwittingly re-wire for chronic pessimism if we don’t practice positive thinking to divert it back to old happy pathways.
Commendable Trait: Optimistic
Learn more about being Optimistic and Tilt 365
Catch up on the Tilt 365 Weekly Challenges