Self / 20.03.2015

The New Health Rules for Happiness: Switch the lens

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Becoming a positive person starts with listing the little things that make you happy

159_Switch the Lens

Do you get a pang of dread every time your boss emails you? Or spend the car ride to every family function filled with dread? It might be time to face facts: you’re part of the glass-half-empty crowd.

‘Many of us are conditioned to worry and complain. Fretting sometimes feels like a tax we have to pay to remain relatively safe and sound,’ says Dr. Frank Lipman, author of The New Health Rules (£14.99, Artisan). ‘And our bodies play along, converting stress into pain.’

Read more: Why it’s time to address your stress

The good news is that becoming a more positive person is actually pretty simple. To start, just cultivate a gratitude attitude. ”Think positive’ may sound hollow, but the health benefits of looking on the bright side are massive,’ says Lipman.

To start, go back to basics. ‘If you’re reading this post, you probably have all the basics: shelter, food, water, a community of people who care about you. So next time you find yourself indulging in the habit of negative thinking (“I hate this traffic,” “I’ll never get out of this job,” “Why can’t I meet someone already?”), re-frame your thinking—find a silver lining or focus on something you’re grateful for,’ Lipman advises.

Read more: 5 apps to make your smartphone healthier

In a real fug and struggling to find your sparkly bit of cloud? ‘Sometimes there are problems we need to address and can’t just gloss over with gratitude. But as a general rule, we in the West do take for granted so many things we should be grateful for, like our health,’ he continues.

And, according to Lipman, counting your blessings is one easy way to improve both physical and mental wellness: ‘When you switch the lens and heal your mind of negativity, it actually helps heal your body of exhaustion, aches, and pains.’

Sold! On our gratitude list this weekend is Saturday brunch, a long walk in the park with friends and a Sunday lie-in. What’s on yours?

Tweet and share what you’re grateful for with us on Twitter @healthymag

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The New Health Rules for Happiness: Switch the lens
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The New Health Rules for Happiness: Switch the lens
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Becoming a positive person starts with listing the little things that make you happy says author of The New Health Rules, Dr. Frank Lipman
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Healthy
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