Living with stress, anxiety, and depression makes us miserable, and to make matters worse, it's also killing us.
According to a new study of nearly 160,000 women, higher levels of optimism are associated with a longer lifespan and a greater chance of living past 90!
A 2019 study found both men and women with the highest levels of optimism had an average 11% to 15% longer life span than people who practiced little positive thinking.
As a person who struggles with anxiety stress and depression on and off, I find as I get older, that my body just can't handle it anymore. As we age, the body has a harder time bouncing back.
Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression and anxiety.
If you're like me and want to stop this negativity that is destroying our emotional and physical health, then this article is for you.
Bottom line, we can't talk about health without addressing the mental health crisis affecting our society.
Overcoming negative emotions
Optimists have a much lower risk of developing anxiety and depression.
Do you know any optimists?
The people that look at everything with a cup half full mentality, who view every challenge, setback, and obstacle as all for the best and who always anticipate their next big opportunity. They see the bigger picture, they don't believe that setbacks are a testament to their being a failure.
Pessimists on the other hand, believe that every challenge or setback is personal, pervasive, and permanent.
For example, if a pessimist is rejected on a date, she will tell herself "this is just confirmation that I will never meet anyone", whereas an optimist will say, "I bet the right guy is right around the corner", or "my next date might be the one."
The more a pessimist gets used to looking at things negatively, the more he/she will see only negative. The brain will be conditioned to focus on the negative, and it will literally discard the positive things that happen, to the point where the pessimist will have an inaccurate view of their life.
So we have to Adopt a positive Mindset.
How is it that something that sounds so simple, manages to escape us?
It all comes down to conditioning. The brain is flexible like a muscle, it can change its patterns of thinking, it just requires training.
GRATITUDE: The first thing to do would be to search for the good things in our lives on a daily basis. Look for the silver lining. Write a journal and record at least 3 things you're thankful for every day.
BE IN THE MOMENT:
If you are enjoying a get together with a friend, a beautiful sunset, a walk in nature, a good meal, take the time to appreciate the flowers, the flavor of the food, the good times youre having. It's called Savoring.
Then say so. Express your emotions.
If your child, friend, or spouse does something nice for you, tell them what you appreciate about it. It will strengthen your connection with the other person and will lift your spirits as well.
We have to live in the moment.
POSITIVE RESPONSES Instead of Negative Responses:
Get used to giving hugs, compliments, and kisses to your loved ones, instead of criticism and harsh words. If your child is getting on your last nerve, say something like "I love you too much to argue about that", instead of "you're a selfish brat".
Or if there is a chore that needs to get done say something like "I know it sucks that there are so many chores to do around here but, Thank you for taking out the garbage." Its ok to thank people in advance for something you hope they will do.
At the very least, your loved ones will be surprised. And It will probably be more effective than a shouting match, especially if you continue using this positive approach.
So you can get your way and avoid anger and stress all at the same time.
Find an alternative route to pleasure
It may sound crazy, but people worry, get depressed, angry, and stressed as a coping mechanism to get out of pain and into pleasure.
When I read this, initially I was surprised because hey what's fun about being angry, stressed, or depressed? However, as I thought about it, I realized that sometimes we are faced with situations that make us feel that things are out of our control and the only way we know how to deal with them is through negative emotions, our emotions help us feel in control.
The problem is that although these emotions may give us temporary "relief", giving us the somewhat "pleasurable" feeling of control over our lives, they come with a hefty price, in the form of failed relationships, wasted time, and declining health.
In fact, sometimes these negative emotions are so debilitating that we ceased to function entirely.
Many people suffer from such extreme depression that they can't get out bed for days.
In a previous article, I discussed the first 2 basic steps to overcome any negative emotion.
We discussed how we have to develop a deep desire to change by finding compelling positive reasons to change.
The next step would be to associate major pain with remaining as we are. In this step we visualize failed relationships, lying in bed depressed, failure to achieve our life goals, and the price we will pay as a result of our depression, stress, anger worry, etc...
However, after we've done all this, we must replace our negative emotions with positive emotions or positive action.
Negative emotions are addicting and in a twisted way we enjoy them to an extent, but at the same time, we know its destructive.
DESTRUCTIVE NEURAL PATHWAYS
AND HOW TO RETRAIN THE BRAIN
The brain runs on neural pathways, and when we get used to going down certain paths like anger depression, stress, and worry we train our brain or hardwire it to continue thinking in this destructive way.
So. to change this, we must create new positive neural pathways.
For example, something happens that stresses you out. We tend to replay the situation again and again in our head, working ourselves up into an emotional frenzy.
When we find our brain going along these negative pathways, we have to immediately think about something positive. For example, a project we're excited about, a hobby we love, our beautiful children, a kind deed someone did for us.
Try to visualize this image in your mind. Our brains can't really tell the difference between something fake or real if we imagine it vividly. For this reason, we can get pleasure out of things that haven't even happened yet just by visualizing them.
As we get used to intellectually walking along these new neural-pathways every time we encounter a situation that would normally upset us, the old negative pathways will be forgotten.
And we will have trained our brain to think along the new positive pathways we have created.
But it doesn't end with retraining the brain, we also have to act. Oftentimes, we find ourselves becoming overly stressed depressed or angry and the situation doesn't even warrant it.
The reason is that we are unhappy with ourselves in general.
When we travel along negative paths in life we have to replace them with positive actions. If you've always dreamed of being an artist, but never got around to it, instead of getting depressed, pick up that brush and paint.
If you get angry often, replace that anger with a hug, with a kind word to your loved one, with affection. Or if you're angry at someone you're not close to, make fun of the situation, laugh, minimize the situation instead of working yourself up into a frenzy of anger, say to yourself, I'm a little annoyed, instead of "I'm furious".
Same with depression, instead of focusing on being depressed, take on a new project to help others, kindness and compassion does wonders for depression.
Negative emotions are a tool that help us realize that something might be missing in our lives, or that we need to change ourselves. These negative emotions give us the cue to fix the situation and pursue our life goals and dreams which will ultimately lead us to a happier life.
If we are numb and feel nothing, then we would just coast through life. Our negative emotions are a guide to us.
The digestive system is our second brain
When talking about negative emotions, we cant ignore the triggers that may be causing or intensifying our feelings and that is diet and lifestyle.
Diet has a big impact on our emotional state, just watch a kid act crazy and hyper after pigging out on sugar.
The cornerstone of a healthy diet for the brain is proper bread. The Talmud teaches that proper bread consumed in the morning cures 83 diseases, one of which is Depression.
Discover the healthiest bread in the world at Joseph's organic Bakery. Made with ancient grains and prepared like a thousand years ago, this bread cleanses and soothes the digestive tract. I eat 2 slices for breakfast and two slices for lunch every day. I honestly dont know what I would do without it.
Link down below for the bread
Adopt a healthy vegan diet plan that helps you eliminate toxins naturally, with detoxifying herbal teas and proper stone ground bread. Avoid all processed foods which high in sugars.
Fresh juicing is important with lots of green vegetables like kale, parsley cilantro and spinach. Beets, carrots and celery are also great for juicing and they detox the liver.
After doing this for 2 weeks the body will feel lighter and cleaner.