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Choosing to be Positive for Better Mental Health

Our thoughts have a lot to do with our health. They dictate our outcomes in many regards, but we often don’t spend much time thinking about the way we think. Do you believe that whether we will succeed or fail can be influenced by our attitudes? If so, why do we spend so much time being negative? I came across a great quote on the topic:

“The world is what we think it is. If we can change our thoughts we can change the world.” – H. L. Tomlinson

Why not change the world for the better and make it a more positive place? We can start with a 14-Day plan to improve our thinking patterns.

The Challenge:

  1. For two weeks decide to say nothing critical or negative about anything or any person, including yourself. (And that last one may be the hardest.)
  2. Not one critical word is to be spoken to others, even “constructive” criticism. This can be challenging too, specially for those who like to “help” people by critiquing them.
  3. Speak to others using positive or neutral words or speak nothing at all. Use the same principles for your thoughts: don’t allow negative thoughts to enter your consciousness.
  4. If you slip up on any day, you begin counting all over again for 14 more days.
  5. Don’t get discouraged if you have to start over – many times. It will get easier as you become more aware of your thoughts and your choice of words.
  6. After completing the 14-day challenge, constructive criticism is allowed. But you will probably be a far better judge of what constructive really means after going without criticizing.

Keeping a positive attitude will limit negative emotions like anger, pessimism and shame in our day. These feelings have been shown to have serious negative consequences on our health over the long-term. As an added bonus, being positive makes us more fun to be around, and improves our relationships. Try the challenge and see if it works for you!

About the Author

Christopher Burton, MD is a physician, speaker, coach and author, practicing in Pensacola, FL. He specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, which focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions - particularly those of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems - that may produce temporary or permanent impairment of function. Dr. Burton also provides one-on-one Health & Wellness Coaching for select clients who want to improve their life significantly. In addition to his practice and coaching, he actively lectures on health, nutrition and exercise for healthcare groups, colleges, and businesses, and travels internationally teaching on various topics including the treatment and rehabilitation of athletes.

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