"Pinterest Positivity" doesn't work

Do you know what I mean when I say "Pinterest positivity"?

It is the term I use to describe the advice that says envisioning yourself living your dreams will increase your motivation.

Yes, imagery and visualization are very powerful uses of your mind. Setting high, hard goals and having a clear vision for your life are critical to optimizing performance and life. But when it comes to motivation (actually mobilizing energy toward a goal), seeing yourself living your dreams (already having accomplished them) can actually backfire and reduce motivation.

Extensive research by Gabriele Oettingen and others has shown that only envisioning the goals you want to achieve can trick your body in to a state of relaxation. Seeing yourself having completed the task makes your body think you've already done it. (Yes, your mind is that powerful).

According to the applied research, the best way to use your vision as motivation is to pair the image or goal with the obstacles that stand in your way....

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Stress & meaning

People who experienced the highest number of stressful events in the last year were most likely to consider their lives meaningful.

So how can stress be good for you?

 

Well it has to do with how you think about stress. When we believe stress is bad for us, the normal and expected parts of life can start to feel like an imposition, keeping our lives from how they really should be.

 

When we step back and examine the things in life that cause us the most stress, we may find that in fact they are also the things that bring us the most meaning or are deeply important to us.

 

Try this for yourself. Make a list of the things that cause you the most stress. Then make a list of your most meaningful roles, relationships, activities, goals, or causes.

 

How much overlap is there between the two lists? Why are those things important to you? How would you feel if some of those areas of meaning were no longer in your life?

 

 The same experiences that give rise to...

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The stress paradox

High levels of stress are associated with both distress and well-being

Have you heard that stress is bad for you? Bad for your health? And should be avoided or reduced? Most people have - it's a common belief.

 

Unfortunately, that is neither the complete nor the most accurate picture. More recent research is showing that stress can actually be good for you. Every time I teach about stress I am reminded how few people know this critical new information.

 

 

Even though most people view stress as harmful, higher levels of stress seem to go along with things we want: love, health, and satisfaction with life.

 

People: "I just wish I was less stressed."

Me: "Are you sure?"

 

Here's a glimpse of some of the new(ish) science that's not getting enough attention:

 

Researchers asked more than 125,000 people ages 15+ from 121 countries one question: "did you feel a great deal of stress yesterday?" Then computed an index of national stress.

 

The...

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