The Science of Positivity: Gratitude and Kindness

I realize that life is not all cherries, sunny days, and apple pies. Life is a continuous cycle of highs and lows, times of joy and times of challenges, and then a whole lot of in-between. The emphasis here on positivity is not to suggest that we wear our rose-colored glasses and turn every moment into the most wonderful of events. Brene Brown has this beautiful phrase; “silver lining it.” Positivity is definitely not meant as a tool to silver line every dark cloud; it is not intended to replace our experience of yellow light or the more challenging emotions such as frustration, angst, loneliness, disappointment, hurt, distrust, anger, dissatisfaction, or fear. These emotions, although uncomfortable and not always easy to deal with, have a message

POSITIVITY = A + M + R

What positivity means to me is the ability for us to pause, to not react, to cultivate awareness. Positivity teaches us to look for the lesson and to choose where our attention is directed. We learn to notice who we are being with those around us, the choices we are making, and the actions we are taking. Are we building up or tearing down ourselves, our relations, and our communities? It is a lifestyle of self-awareness, a solution-oriented mindset, and self-responsibility.

There has been a ton of research on Gratitude and Kindness, and it is incredibly exciting to me how cultivating these two powerful choices in our lives support us to live more positively, more effectively, and to ignite our unique potential.

AND THE RESEARCH SAYS….

  • When you are kind, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up almost as if you were the recipient of the good deed. (Helpers high – research from Emory University.) 
  • Kindness produces endorphins – the brain’s natural pain killers.
  • Perpetually kind people age slower than the average population and have 23% less cortisol in their bodies.
  • Kindness lowers blood pressure by releasing oxytocin, which causes the release of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels.
  • Research has linked the practice of gratitude to better physical and psychological health, increased happiness and life satisfaction, lower levels of cellular inflammation, and greater resilience following traumatic events.

We can cultivate more positivity and the qualities of awareness, mindset, and responsibility with simple, accessible daily practices that support the above benefits and many others. We can actually rewire our brain for positivity! 

THE 30-DAY POSITIVITY CHALLENGE

Here are 5 simple daily practices. Pick one or two and make a commitment to practice for 30 days and see what happens. On Twitter, I will be sharing 3 gratitudes every day for 30 days, beginning on Monday, October 14th. Join me @DianeLaylin.

  1. WRITE (OR SAY) THREE NEW GRATITUDES DAILY
  2. WRITE (OR DISCUSS) ABOUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE EACH DAY
  3. 20 MINUTES OF EXERCISE EACH DAY
  4. 3-5 MINUTES OF MEDITATION EACH DAY (breathing, breath with movement, a meditation, or visualization)
  5. SHARE AN ACT OF KINDNESS DAILY (PRAISE, THANK OR APPRECIATE SOMEONE IN YOUR WORK OR PERSONAL NETWORK EACH DAY)