Business Today

Pause for Positivity

Set aside some time every day TO build better thinking habits.
Team BT   New Delhi     Print Edition: December 31, 2017
Pause for Positivity

There's even an app for that. Or rather, several. In our headless-chicken routines, most of us don't stop to take a breath, let alone stop to notice what's going right in our lives. Of late, the sheer value of looking back at each day, if only just for a moment, and thinking of what went right and what one is grateful for, is beginning to emerge as important to one's overall mental well-being.

People are actually scheduling time for gratitude; some, like Oprah Winfrey, are even writing regular gratitude journals. She says if you can't think of anything, start with your breath and think of being grateful for being alive to begin with. The idea is to focus on what you have versus on what you don't. "Focusing on the $3 you have in your wallet will get you $5 sooner than focusing on the $50 you don't have," she says. It is well known that positive thinking sets in place a cycle of positive events.

A collection of apps help structure your time for gratitude - and it's not as soppy or forced as one would imagine. A popular app called Mojo, on iOS, promises to give users a method to 'rewire the brain in just five minutes, if used for a minimum of three weeks'. Mojo encourages capturing the seemingly minor things in a day that make a person feel good - with a photo to back it up, if wanted. It is mindfulness repackaged. The app's colourful and bright interface makes it a pleasure to use.

Bliss, an app on Android, iOS and Chrome, has a much simpler interface as it presents the user with a choice of several positive psychology exercises to cue thinking. Predictably, it pops up sometime during the evening to prompt the user to do something. For instance, think of three good things for that day. The promise is that the brain will get into a habit of looking for those positive things, almost become reflexive, bringing immense benefits to the person, such as enhancing one's creative problem solving ability. It is also believed that positive thinkers live longer. Other exercises on Bliss include transforming problems into something beneficial, focusing on what could be worse and working with what isn't, and finding new meaningin work.

Tired? You Have Done Only 40%

How do 99 per cent of runners finish up a marathon long after they are ready to give up? The US' Navy SEAL's '40 per cent rule' may explain this. It states that when you think you've done enough, you've actually only done 40 per cent of what you're capable of. There's a lot more energy, ability and strength where that 40 per cent came from. The rule comes from the legendary endurance athlete David Goggins who transformed his own body for military grade fitness.

David Goggins

Living for a month with millionaire Jesse Itzler, Goggins taught him how to use the 40 per cent rule to develop an unprecedented level of mental toughness. When your brain signals to you that you're tired, stop a moment and then go on. In a short while, the contours of your comfort zone will be redefined and you will be able to do much more. The rule used by the SEALs doesn't just apply to running or physical activity, but to many other things that one does in life, including work. There are several videos online on the 40 per cent rule for you to watch and get inspired.

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