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Tips & tricks (niet goed)

This is how you create a positive mindset

Woman expressing happiness and gratitude

Simple, but extremely effective. The way to create a positive mindset is to write down your personal highlights each day. Make this part of your evening routine – preferably writing on paper, for example a Gratitude Journal, and not a phone screen – or do it early in the morning, so you start the day on a positive note.

If you pause to think about positive things, you become calmer, happier and more sociable. In addition, people who write regularly in a gratitude journal have a stronger immune system, less high blood pressure, and fewer health issues. In itself, something to be grateful for.

This is how you create a positive mindset

Write down three things that you see as the highlights of your day. Be as detailed as possible, so don’t say: ”I had a good training session”, but instead: ”I was proud of the fact that I ran ten kilometers in an hour for the first time”. Robert Emmons, professor at the University of California, offers the following tips. Focus on people you are grateful for, not things. Research by his colleague Sonja Lyobomirsky has shown that gratitude for (acquiring) things does not really increase a positive mindset. Try to do a bit more, and spend a moment on what it would have meant to you if you had not experienced these highlights. And: focus on the surprising highlights. They stay with you for longer.

Woman sitting in bed writing in a gratitude journal to work on a positive mindset

Focus on positivity

If you train yourself to do this, you will benefit at many levels. You learn to focus on the positive aspects of your life, which makes us, says Emmons, more present in it. Negative emotions are neutralized. And there’s more: expressing gratitude helps to counter feelings of depression, British research has shown. The University of Manchester established that gratitude is an important predictor of general well-being. Grateful people have more self-confidence, and can handle stress better. Emmons did his research on over a thousand people who kept a gratitude journal, and found that they had fewer health issues, less high blood pressure and took better care of themselves. They exercised more frequently and slept better. How exactly you write down your gratitude does not make much difference. You can opt for a diary, a digital journal – Day One is nice and user friendly – or a special Gratitude Book, like the one from Ernst-Jan Pfauth 34 , a ”journal for a satisfied life”.

Woman expressing happiness and gratitude

The benefits of exercising

Fitness Chick

Nothing beats the benefits of exercising. Running, walking, cycling, even gardening – it’s good for your body, your heart and your head. Exercise helps protect you against cardiovascular diseases, and can generate a huge feeling of happiness. The runner’s high is not a fairy tale.

Less stress and a better memory

When you exercise, endorphins are released, the neurotransmitters whose first job is to protect you against pain, but which can also give you a feeling of euphoria.

Woman feeling energised and happy

Exercising reduces stress and improves your memory, although the effects are temporary: research on the long-term effects of exercise on your brain showed that the most positive effects were seen in people who had exercised the day of the test, and not just some time in the previous four weeks.

And also: losing weight!

American research involving more than 2,000 men aged between 22 and 55 demonstrated the link between exercise and weight loss. The results only supported one logical interpretation: the men who exercised a lot, lost weight, the men who only exercised a little, gained weight.

Black and white measuring tape

Good advice, based on this research: middle-aged men need to be actively exercising for forty-five minutes to one hour per day in order to lose weight.

Other American research also took a look at women. In this case, men and women aged between 18 and 30 were tracked, and checked again after 2, 5, 7, 10 and 15 years. Here again, the result was clear, that half an hour’s walking each day had a positive effect on your weight. The researchers also noted something else: the heaviest participants in the research benefited more from the walking than the lighter ones.

Many participants gained weight over the course of the fifteen years, but those who continued actively to walk gained less then the less active people.

Cardiovascular diseases

It has been proven many times that exercise is good for your heart.

An important American research study involving 12,516 male alumni of Harvard University 9 shows that if you burn roughly an extra 1,000 calories per week doing exercise this demonstrably reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Anyone who burns off 2,000 calories a week in training, also reduces their risk of high blood pressure and a heart attack.