We hear it over and over: Be joyous, be cheerful, don't little things bother you. In other words, be positive! And here's what the Bible has to say about being a positive person:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
It turns out the old cliché about being positive is completely true. Barbara Fredrickson, lead positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, published a landmark scientific document that reveals surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on our natural abilities. Dr. Fredrickson's work is among the most referenced in the newly developing field of positive thought.
This is what she discovered, and what it means for you...
Negative Thoughts Hurt Your Brain
Negative thoughts and emotions narrow your mind's focus to a singular thought or problem. Although you may have many options available during a time of stress you may not see with clarity all the possibilities around you. Negativity clamps down on your brain like a vice making a myriad of options seem irrelevant.
Fredrickson's extensive research showed that participants who were exposed to positive messages, had a significantly higher positive attitude toward life. This led to her discovery that when people experience positive emotions like joy, happiness, and love, they can see greater possibilities in life. Her findings were among the first ever to scientifically suggest that positive emotions and thinking can broaden our sense of possibility and open the mind to more options.
Although this was a landmark breakthrough, the really interesting observation of the positive thinking experiment happened later...
The biggest benefit of positive emotions is the enhancement of our ability to build cognitive skills that results in developing positive forward action thinking that can be used later in life.
Positive emotions like joy, associated to any activity can prompt a person to build further skills that are useful and valuable in everyday life.
These skills last much longer than short term emotions that initiated them and can associated to anything from sports, business, career, home, relationships, and school. This is especially important in the face of any adversity. When a mental pattern of success is deeply and associated with positive emotions there's a greater likelihood a person will persevere beyond difficulty.
Negative emotions do the opposite. They shirt-circuit the brain and diminish possibility thinking.
All of this research begs the most important question of all: If positive thinking is so useful for developing valuable skills and appreciating the big picture of life, how do you actually get yourself to be positive?
How to Increase Positive Thinking in 3 Weeks
Research shows that the secret to increasing positivity is to relish the many small moments that bring delight—some you may not even notice. When you start paying attention to them, your mind will naturally become more inclined toward joy. This technique is ridiculously easy which over time will make joy and happiness increasingly effortless.
Here's your 3 week list...
Week 1: Take note
Think of your favorite scripture and how it makes you feel. Observe how it applies in many situations during the day. In the first week make note of how God's word changes your mind and attitude.
Praise God! verbally praise God when you see the reality of His word work in your mind. Being vocal helps you revel in the moment with the Holy Spirit. A similar effect was noted by researcher Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.
Start a small journal about how God's word changes your mind and emotions. Every day, jot down a single happy thought about a new revelation. Your sentence can be about something beautiful, funny, or insightful.
Week 2: Find the joy
Now you’re ready to discover the rituals give you joy.
Watch and observe what makes you happy. Is it studying God's word early in the morning, is it praying, meditating, exercising, cooking, working, being creative? It could be something as simple as getting dressed in nice clothes.
If you encounter negative thoughts, or emotions, reframe the negative. If something comes along to sour your mood, try turning it around. The best remedy is scripture. Implant biblical thought for situations that your think may come up during the day, then change your attitude with your Bible verse.
Week 3: Joy on command
Although God provides us with joy, it's up to us to feel it and everyone has seriously fun triggers. What's yours? Find out what they are and your days will be filled with light and joy.
One of the quickest ways to boost your mood is music. Music can change your sense of power and motivate you to higher realms of joy.
A 2014 study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, demonstrated how music can almost instantly change a person's attitude (Hsu et al., 2014).
How about exercise? Quick explosive movements like 10 jumping jacks pumped you up and turn the lights on.
Feeling down? Start cheering people up. The best way to receive something from God to give it away. Give and it will be given. (Luke 6:38) Go out and just start spreading a good vibe. Be loving, kind, and cheerful around others. Your mood will lighten and you'll be happier in minutes.
A negative attitude can greatly hinder you journey with Christian meditation. Change your attitude and you will reap the most from your meditation practice.
God bless you. See you in the kingdom.