Dan Lippmann LCSW. Practical, Sustainable Happiness

Positive thinking: Do this in bed and feel better all day

Positive thinking is a useful habit to practice anytime.

But did you know that when applied first thing in the morning, positive thinking can help you manage your stress for the entire day?

There’s nothing worse than waking up filled with dread as you anticipate your stress-filled day. Before your feet even touch the ground, you can feel your heart race, your stomach clench and your muscles tense.

What if you could turn that around and start your day feeling good? You can, and it will take less than five minutes.

So before reaching for your first cup of coffee, lie in bed for a few minutes and try one of my favorite positive thinking practices.

Every day, as soon as I wake up, I challenge myself to think of one positive thing I’m looking forward to that day. This always gives me a boost – even if the thing I’m looking forward to is relatively small, like listening to a radio program or starting a new book.

I spend a few moments anticipating the pleasure of the experience – how it will feel, taste, look, smell and sound. Then I imagine the positive feelings I’ll have during the experience – happy, relaxed, excited or loved.

Pulling my attention away from stressful, negative thoughts and refocusing on something positive takes effort, sometimes a lot of effort. But, each time I turn my thoughts around, I’m reminded that I’m in control of my moods and my life.

I may not be able to eliminate stress from my life (nor would I want to live a completely stress-free life), but it feels good to know that I can control my response to stress.

Change your negative thoughts, change your experience

William James, the “father” of psychology once wrote, “My experience is what I agree to attend to.” By refocusing our attention on the things that brighten our day, we can insulate ourselves from stress and boost our feelings of calm and contentment. What we pay attention to literally becomes our experience.

Choosing to think about something you’re looking forward to each day may sound simple – and it is. And if you do it consistently, you’ll notice your mood improving and your stress decreasing.

So before getting out of bed tomorrow morning, focus on one positive thing the day holds, and let me know how the rest of your day goes.

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