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Five Friends You Should Keep In Your Life

Five Friends You Should Keep In Your Life

Growing up, your parents always asked if you made any new friends at school and anywhere you went, they usually encouraged you to form new friendships. As expected, over the years many of these relationships have fizzled but for some of us, these relationships have stood through many years and even decades. In some cases, you no longer even consider these people as friends, but they have rather become members of your family. They are a constant presence in your life and are on your emergency contact list. While the word friend can be used lightly at times, as you become an adult, you quickly realize that it is not the amount of friends you have in your life that matters, but rather the quality of friends you keep around. There are five friends that you should definitely strive to have in your life:

1. The Fun One

This is your typical “life of the party” friend. It does not necessarily mean that this friend is always at the club but it simply means that this person is the one that will always be sure to lighten your mood when you are having a hard time and always ensure that you are able to relax and enjoy life. They have a positive outlook on life and will always be able to pick up your mood when you’re going through a tough time.

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2. The Wise One

This friend is the keeper of all of your secrets and all of your troubles, insecurities, and mistakes. They are non-judgmental and are able to provide you with sound advice and also give you reassurance when you are uncertain and are in the middle of making hard decisions.

3. The Cheerleader

This one is the friend that will help you dream and will never make you feel like you are living on another planet, no matter what your goals are in life! You are going through medical school? She will be the one to stop by and check on you in the library or stop by your home and bring you a warm meal. And even if your dream is to make it into professional sports, he will willingly spend countless hours with you on the court or in the gym to help you sharpen your skills and will continue to be your loudest cheerleader through the ups and downs.

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4. The Driven One

While that friend may intimidate those who are not used to them, to you, they are a life saver on many occasions! They are the one who will help you get better grades by voluntarily staying in the library to help you study for the final. When you seem to want to settle, they are the one who will continually push you to be and do better. They will not use their intelligence to belittle you, but rather to help you and always will reach out a hand to  pull you up right alongside them.

5. The Reliable One

This friend is there through it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether it has been a couple of days since you’ve last spoken or a few months since you’ve last seen each other: this friend will drop everything to be by your side in your time of need. They are your first call in an emergency and you know that no matter how impossible the task, they will be there and if they are unable to be there, they will find you the necessary help.

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Sometimes you may have one friend who luckily has a combination of those traits, and that is equivalent to winning the lottery especially since true friendships are becoming a thing of the past. However, if you are fortunate enough to even have one of these types of friends, hold on to them dearly and be sure to be as great of a friend to them as they have been to you. Friendships come and go, but when you have found the right ones, they simply make going through life much easier.

Featured photo credit: Lourika Reinders via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Let’s be honest. When you’re going through a difficult time in life, doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone says, “just be optimistic”?

Everyone has that one overly-optimistic “Positive Pam” friend who sees the good in everything. Trying to find anything to be happy about when you’re struggling feels unrealistic.

The question remains: “Why is it difficult to pull upon happy thoughts when everything in life feels like it’s falling apart?”

Well, the root of the problem lies in the brain. Your brain isn’t designed for happiness because its focus has always been on promoting survival, it saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.[1]

While all of this is true, it is still possible to train your brain to be optimistic so that you can find the silver lining amidst life’s greatest adversities.

You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Before I talk about how you can do this, you must realize that you aren’t expected to be positive 100% of the time. You’re human and life happens.

Have you ever had a solid plan in place, and then life comes along and says, “Let’s explore rock bottom for a while instead?!” You’re allowed to feel sad, angry, or negative sometimes.

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However, the trick is making sure that you don’t live in this place for too long. Disempowering emotions serve their purpose in the short-term but can become destructive to your overall quality of life in the long-term.

When it comes to thinking positively, I think a lot of people have a skewed understanding of what positivity should look like. You don’t have to sing in the rain or smile 24/7 to be deemed a positive person.

Appreciating the smallest of things can work wonders for your mindset, such that, over time, you start wiring your brain to seek out and expect more positives. This speaks to the power of having an attitude of gratitude.

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.[2]

The more grateful you are, the happier you are.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, happiness won’t always be your automatic response. Rather, it’s a choice that you have to make every single day.

3 Ways You Can Train Your Brain to Be Positive

Similar to any habit, your brain conditions itself to think and behave in certain ways through repetition. Thus, if you engage in daily rituals that enhance your positive thinking, over time you will rewire and train your brain to become more positive.

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Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can train your brain to be positive:

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Your mind is a powerful tool – you can either fill it with positive thoughts or negative ones. The average person has thousands of thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% of which are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.[3]

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. This is where your inner critic loves to hang out and try to convince you of all the reasons why you’re not good enough or why things won’t work out.

Not surprisingly, if you play this disempowering record over and over again in your head, eventually you will start believing it.

People get into trouble when they define who they are based on how they think. You are not your thoughts, so don’t believe everything that you think. This is why it’s so important to practice challenging your negative thoughts.

The next time that you have a thought that doesn’t serve you, stop and reflect upon whether or not that thought is accurate. Once you determine where the fallacy is in your thinking lies, step back and ask yourself, “Is this thought building me up or tearing me down?” If it’s the latter, reframe the negative thought to a more empowering one.

The fastest way to change your life is to change your narrative. Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a massive shift in how you perceive yourself, others, and the world.

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2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Your success in life is determined, in large part, by your environment. If you want to be an optimistic person, you have to surround yourself with optimistic people. End of story.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment and think about your close circle of friends. Are they inspiring and driven people who uplift and empower you? Or are they lazy, negative, and toxic?

If it’s the latter, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.[4]

Decide who you want to be and find people who embody those traits. When you raise your standards, your circle will change and so, too, will your life.

3. Make Your Mental Health and Well-Being a Priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a drastic increase in mental health issues. The isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turmoil that people are facing around the world is a breeding ground for psychological distress.[5]

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Given the current state of our world, there has never been a more important time for us to make our mental health and well-being a priority.

The question remains, “How do you stay positive when everything sucks?”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We know that the mind and body are connected. If you ignore one, the other one suffers equally as much. Research has found that taking care of ourselves physically and mentally can influence our happiness and train our brains over time to be more positive.[6]

Looking after your mind and body means creating a daily self-care ritual, consisting of eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, staying connected with friends, journaling, reading, and practicing affirmations, to name a few.

Anything that helps you manage your stress and connect with the present moment is key. Even in the most challenging of times, it is always possible to find something to be grateful for. By choosing to focus on what is good in your life and what makes you happy, you will grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Now Is the Time to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Your mindset is everything. Thinking positively is as important as your skills or talents. We cannot always control our outer world, which is why it’s imperative to cultivate a strong inner world.

How you respond to adversity will determine your success in life. Have faith, trust in yourself, and believe in what is possible. When you think positively, positive things will happen.

More Tips on How to Be Optimistic

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

Reference

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