The Power Of Positive Thinking

Research Proves The Importance of Quiet Reflection First Thing in The Morning

Every morning, right when I wake up and before getting out of bed, I practice positive thinking. I keep my eyes closed and spend a few minutes in that space between being asleep and awake thinking about the many things I’m grateful for in life.  Call it a meditation, a gratitude exercise, an affirmation, or counting my blessings, this simple habit starts my day off on a very positive note.

It turns out this “positive thinking” habit is also validated by research.  Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk (and also a biotechnologist by training), suggests that two opposing thoughts cannot occupy our minds at the same time. As an example, we can’t shake hands and concurrently deliver a blow with those hands.  Thus, by replacing anger, jealousy, or spite, we can train our minds to consciously replace those thoughts with acceptance, generosity, or forgiveness. Here again, science from universities in Madison, Wisconsin, and Berkeley, California, has validated this opinion. Monks from Ricard’s order who had done thousands of hours of mind training and meditation tested four standard deviations higher than the average on a brain-scan measure of happiness when they meditated on “compassion.” This measurement is basically off the bell curve.

So, science shows us that engaging in positive thinking from the moment we wake up can have a measurable impact on our brain waves and on the quality of the rest of our day. I encourage you to try this exercise!

Over the years, I’ve had friends share some really helpful ideas about staying positive, like keeping a “gratitude journal” by their bedside, jotting down important thoughts or touch points that help them stay in a state of positive gratitude. What do you do to practice positive thinking?  Share your progress with us via the comments section below. I’m always looking for additional ways to appreciate and express gratitude. Aren’t we all?