On those grey days, when you roll out of bed, perhaps groggy and in pain, and somehow you just know it will be a rough one, have you ever noticed you usually end up being right? What about those “good” days, when you wake up refreshed and pain-free or at least nearly so, convinced that no matter how things go, nothing and no one will steal your joy? Thinking back, doesn’t it usually turn out just as you expected? What do these miserable and fantastic days have in common? In both cases, you likely had much more control regarding how they would play out than you realized! Of course, any chronic pain sufferer will choose a pain-free day over one with pain, and all too often, we feel we have little choice in the matter. However, how we view our pain, blessings, and grievances can hugely influence our health, happiness, and healing. That's the power of positive thinking.
What Research Shows on the Power of Positive Thinking
Research has shown mindset plays a crucial role in pain management. Our beliefs and views about pain can actually help reduce how much it hurts. In one study, researcher Dr. Koyama found when participants expected a lesser degree of pain, they experienced less discomfort! In the study, subjects were told to expect either a low, medium or high level of burning. When subjects anticipated lower pain but received severe pain, the intensity was almost 30% less than when the subjects expected and even experienced the highest degree of burning.
Simply put, things turn out more positively when we have positive expectations! When we anticipate the best, it not only alters how we view our experience but it also influences our brain chemistry and processes, changing the experience itself. It goes without saying that chronic pain is very real, and by no means does this principle intend to suggest it is “all in our heads,” as those who may not understand sometimes assume. However, by choosing to shift our thoughts to a more optimistic outlook, we take back our control and autonomy and stop allowing pain to dictate our lives or diminish our happiness.
Of course, we may still end up sidelined from time to time, but while we are “down,” we are far from out! Even from the comfort of a bed, there remains much to be optimistic about and grateful for. Happiness is a choice you can make from anywhere at any time!
10 Practices for Positivity1. Believe in Yourself – By listing 5 things you love about yourself every morning upon rising and night before sleep, you can foster a more favorable view of yourself and a more hopeful outlook on life.
2. May the Quartz Be with You – Healing crystals are a fantastic way to clear negativity while amplifying and attracting positivity. Citrine and Golden Healer Quartz are excellent conductors of happiness and joy.
3. Nothing Happens Until Something Moves – Gentle movement like stretching, walking, or deep, full-body breathing, can build a greater appreciation for your body and your capabilities.
4. A Grateful Heart is a Magnet for Miracles – A gratitude practice, like a gratitude journal or positive affirmations for gratitude, can promote a greater appreciation for your blessings, big and small. Being grateful has also been proven to lower stress which supports pain management.
5. Craftiness is Happiness – Do you like to bake, knit, collage, color, or scrapbook? Any sort of craft or hobby can fill you with joy, shift your focus from your pain, and contribute to personal fulfillment.
6. Energy Goes Where Attention Flows – Meditation is a great way to shift your focus to a more positive point of view. Consider incorporating essential oils and crystals that foster peace, happiness, and optimism.7. Attitude is Everything – Positive affirmations can shift your perception, uplift your spirit, and manifest change. You can write some of your own or explore past Herbal Mana blog posts to find the right affirmations for you.
8. Always Better Together – While a trusted friend or loved one can be a great shoulder to cry on, remember to seek them out for light and levity too! Spend time chatting about fond memories, future plans, or share little gems of positivity from your day.
9. See the Good in All Things – Whether you are healing in bed or out and about, visualization is a great way to view things more encouragingly and generate more cheerful expectations. Consider incorporating essential oils or crystals for intuition, imagination, and serenity.
10. Peace Begins with a Smile – Even when you feel we are “forcing it,” smiling and laughing releases feel-good molecules in the brain that make you happier, meaning it will not feel forced for long. Remember, if you are searching for a reason to smile, look in the mirror because you are reason enough!
How we view our pain, blessings, and grievances can hugely influence our health, healing, and happiness.
Some days will be harder than others to keep a positive mindset, we may still end up sidelined from time to time, but while we are “down,” we are far from out! There remains much to be optimistic about and grateful for. Happiness is a choice you can make from anywhere at any time! Never give up!
"The secret of a better and more successful life is to cast out those old, dead, unhealthy thoughts. Substitute for them new vital, dynamic faith thoughts. You can depend upon it—an inflow of new thought will remake you and your life." - Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale