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Seven Body Movements That Can Affect Your Positive Thinking

Written by: Anila Bashllari, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

If you are one among 30 million people that have read “The Secret “book, you might be curious on the reasons writing this article. Bear with me! I have read the book as well and I loved it! I was at my early years of exploration about personal development when this book came to life. It challenged me to focus on positive thinking but nevertheless, I was struggling a lot to see results! In fact, it took me years realizing that positive thinking is difficult. Our brain is design by default to focus mostly on “negative” thoughts as a protective mechanism for survival. We have been guided this way for millennia, being in survival mode rather than thriving.

Through philosophers and writers, we have heard the importance of a calm and peaceful mind but we were not able to understand the deep meaning of those verses, poems or speeches. We failed to read and know among words what they were trying to germ in our brain: the importance of positive thinking…

But not only.


Based of ancestor’s philosophies, for years self-help gurus were preaching a repetitive mantra: if you are looking to improve your living conditions and reach your dreams you need to change not only what you think but how you think as well. “Focus only on positive thoughts and your life will improve forever. Visualize often your dream life and you will touch it in reality. Think like a millionaire and you will become one”. Does it sound familiar to you?


I am not saying that visualizing yourself having what you want is bad. Or positive thinking is impossible. NO! On the contrary! I do them regularly. What I am trying to say that it is not enough and complete.


As I mentioned our brain is designed to focus on negative thoughts by default and the majority of people have difficulties to shift on positive thinking due to their life experiences, external circumstances, or mental processes.


Going back to the 19th century, William James was amazed discovering the relationship between emotion and behavior. The way we feel affects our behavior. Feel frustrated, angry, or stressful it would be reflected on the way you interact with others and your performance. But William James went deeper by assuming a two-way street impact. Not only that emotions affect our behavior but also the behavior affects our feelings and thinking as well.


In 1979, Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychology professor did an experiment with elderly men, 75 years + for a week. She was testing the impact of thinking “As If” they were living in the year 1959, so 20 years younger. Everything, the environment, furniture, clothes, music, food, talking to each other was As If they were living 20 years before.


They were not only thinking “As If” but acting “As If”, so their behavior was reflecting a 20 years younger man.


The team took photos of all elder participants before and after the experiment. In addition, they went through overall analyses. The results showed that they looked 3 years younger; behaved more independent and have improved on eyesight, hearing, strength, flexibility, and increased space between bones.


This experiment was followed by many others, showing the strong connection between body and mind, the two ways impact of thinking/feelings and behavior/actions.


So, it is important to think positively or dream on what you want to have but the most important is to act on that.


More than a century ago, William James suggested a different approach to change. Later on research, confirmed his theory that can be applied in almost every aspect of everyday life, and can be used to help people feel happier, stay healthy and fit, be in healthy relationships, increase self-confidence, etc.


Positive thinking is desirable, and it takes a lot of work to change the pattern established for years. Another mechanism that can help and affect positive thinking is acting “As If “ you have a positive thought. It might be difficult at the beginning but through practice, little by little you can change your thinking process towards positive thinking.


How can you do that? Taking little actions through your body movements can affect your brain and positive thinking.


Never forget that one of the wellbeing principles is understanding that mind and body are connected.

The following are seven body movements you can do that are proven to affect positively your thinking:


1. Smile for HAPPINESS


When you wake up every morning smile for 1 minute, as wide as you can keeping your eyebrow slightly upward. I do this exercise every morning and helps me towards an inspiring day. The face muscles send signals to the brain that things are ok, I feel happy and neurons in the brain connect through new synapses that reflect the state you are projecting through your smile. Don’t trust me, GIVE IT A TRY at least for two weeks.


2. Tense up for increase of WILLPOWER


We know that we have a high will power in the morning and as the day goes by, it goes down. So, any time you want to do something and you feel like you don’t have the power to do it, make a fist, contract your biceps, press your thumb and indicating finger together. Simply these movements will change the motivation state you are in through signals to the brain neurons. Or pick up a pen in your hand and start writing. When we write we tense up the same way as I was describing above.


3. Use your non-dominant hand for better DIETING


Do you feel difficulties to keep with your diet? Any moment you feel as breaking your diet make this trick for your brain: use non-dominant hand to eat the food. Because you are focused on using well that hand, you are eating less, your appetite goes down and you put into synchro the brain and stomach neurons to coordinate together. Our stomach doesn’t need as much food as our brain indicate us. It takes about 20 minutes to bring into synchroneity our needs for food.


4. Take the first step to reduce PROCRASTINATION


All of us procrastinate in a way or another. There are many things we can do to reduce till eliminate procrastination but taking the first step “As If” we are interested in what we have to do or just say yourself “Only for few minutes”. You will notice that as soon as you start, you are inclined to complete that task.

I do it frequently when I am not in the mood to exercise. I say to myself:” I will exercise for only five minutes” and I end up doing the whole daily exercise minute. This is an important trick to use to overcome procrastination.


5. Arm crossing on PERSISTENCE and PERFORMANCE


It is interesting but body posture imposes our attitude. A study from University of Rochester shows that who sat up straight and folded their arms endure on for almost twice as long as others. That helps a lot to persevere and most people are not aware of the effect of arm crossing on their behavior.

You might have noticed from photos taken of leaders with cross-armed. You now understand why!


6. Power pose for building up SELF – ESTEEM & CONFIDENCE


There are different ways to increase self–esteem and confidence but let me share a body posture that helps you increase your confidence. This posture can be applied sitting or standing. Interlock your hand behind your head and if you are sitting, lean back. If you are standing keep your feel flat on the floor, push your shoulders back and chest forward. Sure, don’t try this posture during an interview for a job or promotion. You can do it before on your own pace, charge with some level of self-confidence and then go ahead with your daily engagements.


7. Nod, smile and use a soft chair for NEGOTIATION


In negotiation it is important to resonate energetically with the other person. We make deals with people we like. So, if you are selling, making a deal or negotiating you can use two things to make it happen: first, make the eye contact and nod your head, expressing that you understand the conversation. When people feel understood they tend to open and be easy to communicate. While true smiling increases the trust to the other person, to conclude the deal it would be good to use soft chairs instead of hard ones. When you sit in a soft chair, you are more flexible and open to come into a deal. Our early matured somatic communication channels with the outside world influence our impressions and as result decision-making. Choose well the place you are having a negotiation, deal or selling!


Don’t trust me, just give them a try! For at least a week. I would guarantee, you will see results.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Anila Bashllari, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Anila Bashllari is an Executive and Business Coach on mindset enhancement, mental fitness and high performance. She coaches business leaders worldwide on Conscious Leader Framework, supporting them to live a holistic life, grows their business, become real manifestos of their dreams and vision, reconciles the conditioning patterns with true deep inside values through Inner and Outer Game. She has developed strategies how to enhance the mindset for creative thinking and achievement, feel resourceful, manage the inner energy to achieve a meaningful life and purposeful business and thrive during adversity times. Her mission is to create future leaders.

 

References:

[1] Maslow was almost the first psychologists that was talking about happiness and how people feel about the future, not only for the past. [2] Govindji, R., & Linley, P. A. (2007). Strengths use, self-concordance and well-being: Implications for strengths coaching and coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2 (2), 143-153.

Seligman, M.E.P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York, NY: Free Press.

Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press.

Burke, D., & Linley, P. A. (2007). Enhancing goal self-concordance through coaching. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2 (1), 62-69.

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