Positive Thinking = More Possibilities + More Skills

pinwheelsEveryone cringes when they see articles titled things like, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It seems cheesy and false to say that simply thinking good thoughts can actually change your life, and people who insist on always seeing the silver lining can be slightly annoying, especially when you’re feeling down in the dumps. But time and time again, research has proved that positive thinking can make you happier, and now it is starting to show that it not only allows you to see more possibilities in your life, but also builds skills that will help you attain more long term happiness. Negative feelings tend to shut you down. They close off your ability to see the other options and feelings in the world around you. Happy thoughts do just the opposite, they allow you to see more opportunities. They also enhance your ability to build skills that you can use later in life. Many times people equate happiness with achieving a certain goal. While goals do provide happiness, it is temporary, as once attained, you set a new goal to chase after. However, when you think positively, you are constantly seeing new opportunities that lead to you broadening and building your skill set. These skills will allow positive thinkers to more easily achieve their next goal, and the next, constantly pulling in more happiness.

So how do you do it? Researchers recommend engaging in activities that make you feel joy, contentment, and love. You can spend time doing things you like, with people you care about. Additionally, meditation, writing about positive experiences, and setting aside time to play, explore and experiment (just like you would schedule a dentist appointment) all lead to an increased ability to think positively.

The Benefits and Risks of Growing Close

loveSo I may be a little biased, since Dr. Jennifer Tomlinson is my sister, but I think this article and the accompanying podcast are pretty awesome. Basically, they summarize the work of the illustrious Dr. Tomlinson and her collaborator Dr. Arthur Aron in a fun and clever way. In their research, they found that when two people are in a close relationship, they tend to internalize interests or pieces of their partner’s self into their own. For example, you love eating out and trying new exotic foods. Your partner has a bland palate, and only eats a few things. Then! After dating for a while, you notice that your partner has begun to try new foods, and enjoy a wider variety of cuisines. This is simultaneously a signal that your partner feels close to, and cares about you, and an indication that your partner has begun to internalize pieces of your self with his/herown.

Dr. Tomlinson and Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College discuss the risks and benefits of being close with another, and talk about how this research can help people in new relationships gauge how satisfied their partner is in the relationship, and how close they feel. While you’re at it, you might as well download the whole paper (for free) here!

What helps you feel close to your partner when you’re in a relationship?