REVIVE YOUR VIBE
3 Simple Practices to Boost your Positivity
I have spent much of my adult life reaching for happiness, and wondering why it just kept evading me. Yoga was my first entry point into mindfulness. It wasn’t until my 40s that I learned about Positive Psychology and the Science of Wellbeing. I felt empowered after learning that 40% of our happiness is controlled by our actions and thoughts. I was so excited by the positive changes that I felt so I became certified as a positive psychology coach to could help others experience greater happiness and wellbeing!
We are constantly being inundated with information. Our brains can’t take in all of that information, so it focuses on and processes the things that we prime it to see. World-renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson developed this idea in what she calls the “Broaden and Build Theory.” According to Fredrickson, more than 20 years of research has proven that as we focus on the positive, and try to cultivate more positive emotions and experiences, our happiness and well-being grows exponentially. In short, the more positive emotion we feel, the more we are propelled into an upward spiral of positivity!
I LOVE this line from Fredrickson: “Positivity transforms us for the better. By opening our hearts and minds, positive emotions allow us to discover and build new skills, new ties, new knowledge, and new ways of being.”
Here is a sample of three research-proven practices that I recommend to my clients and friends. Try one for several days to a week to get an infusion of positivity. Experiment with them all to Revive Your Vibe!
1) Count your blessings.
At the end of each day, write down at least three good things that went well, and WHY they went well. This primes your brain to notice good things throughout your day, as well as helping you to appreciate the things that you may be currently taking for granted. If you aren’t able to think of 3 good things, then write about people, experiences other things for which you are grateful. Gratitude has the ability to instantly improve our mood and make us feel more connected to others and the world around us.
2) Exercise at least 30 minutes, 4 times a week.
Exercise makes us feel better by increasing our feel-good hormones like dopamine (the rewarding hormone) and endorphins and reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Aerobic exercise produces BDNF which is like Miracle Grow for our brains. It primes our brains to learn 20% faster for 45 minutes. It has been shown to increase our neuroplasticity (our brain’s ability to learn and adapt with experience), increase our ability to focus our attention, and reduces brain atrophy.
30 minutes of exercise can boost your mood for 12 hours! When people ask me which exercise is “best”, I usually tell them, “whichever exercise you enjoy... because you are more likely to do it.” Neuroscientist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., says “it’s as if nature flips a switch in the brain to transport you into a different state of mind.” Exercising in nature moves your brain out of its default negativity bias into a more observant and meditative state.
3) Discover and Explore your Super Powers
Instead of looking at what’s wrong, choose to focus on what is STRONG. We all have unique strengths and gifts that we use so often and so naturally that we don’t even notice that we are using them. The VIA Institute has developed a free, research-proven, character strengths assessment that measures and identifies your signature strengths (top strengths), middle, and lower strengths. Notice that there are no “weaknesses,” only strengths that you use to varying degrees. Visit their website to take the assessment and get familiar with the research behind character strengths.
When you receive your results and strength profile, take a moment and look at your top 5 - 7 strengths. These are the signature strengths that make you uniquely YOU. Our signature strengths are ESSENTIAL to who we are, are EFFORTLESS to use, and ENERGIZE us when we tap into them!
To close, just remember that this is a process of learning and exploration. Life will inevitably throw new and old frustrations our way, but these three practical tools—writing a few daily blessings each night, exercising thirty minutes a day, and refocusing your gaze on what’s strong about you—can support you in tough times and start an upward spiral in your life. From one yogi to another, we’re in this together.
I would love to hear how your experiments with these three tools go! Feel free to email me at Lisa@lisajohnstoncoaching.com to tell me your own strengths story in yoga and life.
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If you liked this blog, check out our other blogs like: "Defeat Fear with Kali-Inspired Breathwork," "Way Out of our Comfort Zone", " Taming Your Mind in the Face of Fear" and "Prayers for a Pandemic."