Many of Thrive Global’s staffers are fans of the sharp, funny, feel-good hit “Younger,” so we were excited to see that the show’s writers return our affection. The writing staff worked us into the script of last night’s episode to celebrate one of Thrive’s main missions — helping people amp up their positive thinking in order to thwart stress and boost well-being.
On the July 10th episode, titled Big Little Liza, the character Kelsey Peters, played by Hilary Duff, attended an event with a no #NegativeThinking theme hosted by Thrive Global CEO and Founder Arianna Huffington. It looked like a great party (Hilary’s character kissed a love interest — romantic!) But while the party was faked for the show, the theme behind it was real…and vital: fighting off that negative voice in our heads that holds us back.
Studies show that positive thinking and an optimistic outlook on life can help you avoid poor health outcomes. In a pilot study, these skills were found to reduce depression among women with breast cancer.
Huffington even coined a name for the that critical inner voice we all experience. “Even our worst enemies don’t talk about us the way we talk to ourselves. I call this voice the obnoxious roommate living in our head,” she writes in her book Thrive. “I have spent many years trying to evict my obnoxious roommate and have now managed to relegate her to only occasional guest appearances.”
In lieu of an eviction dinner party for those negative roommates, here are three key ways to cultivate a more positive attitude, followed by some of our favorite quotes:
Try noticing when you’re catastrophizing, calling out your negative thoughts, and replacing them with more optimistic statements. What would you tell a friend or loved one in your situation? Psychologist Mary Alvord wrote for NPR, “More realistic and balanced thinking leads to positive action, which, in turn, tends to bolster confidence, enhance self-esteem and result in greater happiness.”
“There were many terrible things in my life, but most of them never happened.”
Fake it ‘till you feel it
Studies show that the physical act of smiling can actually reduce the body’s response to stress. The smile, and any related positive benefits, might even be contagious. The evidence-based cognitive behavioral technique Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, even teaches something called a half-smile as a distress tolerance skill. If a full smile feels strained, particularly when you’re deep in negative thoughts, try this more relaxed version.
“Peace begins with a smile.” — Mother Teresa
Research suggests that keeping a gratitude journal can improve your mental health. If you want a more positive outlook on life, and multiple other health benefits, try writing down a few things that you are grateful for at the end of the day.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
Finally, here’s an inspiring Cherokee legend to leave you with. Feel free to bring it up at your next no #NegativeThinking party:
“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. ‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy. ‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.’
He continued, ‘The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’”