The Science of Positive Thinking

I think I usually have a pretty positive attitude toward life, including how I view the world, my body, my work, and my running. But we have all had those days filled with negative thoughts, and know how one negative thought seems to lead to another in a huge downward spiral.

Recently, I read this article about the science behind positive thinking.

Negative emotions narrow your mind and prevent you from seeing the other options around you. For example, if you feel bad about not exercising or not eating healthy, all you think about is how little willpower you have, how you’re lazy, and how you don’t have any motivation

Positive emotions (joy, contentment, love, happiness) allow you to see more possibilities in your life and open up your mind. In turn, these posibilities allow you to build useful skills and enhance your life.

The article goes on to say that it is important to find things that you enjoy doing and spark these positive emotions. But also to be careful not to put off happiness until you have reached some arbitrary goal. Happiness should be the precursor to success (building your skills), but is also often the result of it.

So, what makes you feel positive? Is it running or other exercise? Reading your favorite book? Talking to your best friend? Mediating? Cooking a delicious meal? Whatever it is… make time for it!

{from — another fav way to feel positive}

I think this is a good reminder that we need to schedule time and energy toward happiness.

For me, exercise is a key to feeling good every day. I feel stronger, it helps me work toward my goals, and eventually see results.

Ryan and I also really enjoy scheduling activities on the weekend, whether it is trying stand up paddle boarding, going wine tasting, or exploring a new place (going camping or hiking). Enjoying the outdoors and being active are things that make us happy.

So tell me, what makes you feel joy, contentment and love?
Let’s focus on those positives.

3 thoughts on “The Science of Positive Thinking

  1. Amy Z

    I love this! I cannot stand being around negative people who find a lot to complain about. That is one of my pet peeves. Yes for exploring, hiking and camping! And if I lived where you did, I would totally be up for wine tasting all the time! Generally a good, solid run gets me in a positive mood 🙂

  2. Leslie @ Triathlete Treats

    I am not sure why my phone will not let me comment on your posts! EVER! 😦 I just keep trying! 🙂
    Anyways!! This was awesome!! Loved it!! Thanks for sharing!

    I try and have a positive attitude but something work gets me down! I try and turn it around by thinking I do all the things that I love(triathlons, running, and traveling) because of my job!

    I am happy to be healthy and happy!!

  3. Ana E

    Kristen, thank you so much for writing this post and sharing this article!!! I really needed this reminder, especially as I'm starting this big move across the country! For me, I feel like when I start worrying about all the things I have to do, I get into this overwhelming spiral of negative thoughts, and it's true that it's so hard to motivate oneself to get out of it! I like the tips for meditating (or yoga!), writing, and playing. For me, sometimes it just takes looking at a beautiful landscape or up at the stars to feel happy, and remind myself to relax and enjoy each moment.

    Reading your blog always puts a smile on my face! 😀


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