Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reduce stress- Change the way you think

I believe in positive thinking. I believe that positive thinking helps with stresses in my life. Actually I believe in Buddha's quote: "We are what we think."

Yesterday I was searching for effective stress relievers. I found a very important study that was published in 2007, with an unexpected discovery: playing video games can reduce production of the stress-related hormone cortisol. What I found interesting in this study was that a significant part of daily stress comes from our social perceptions of the world. Where do you pay your attention in your social life? Do you play attention to positive things or negative, rejecting, attacking things?

If your attention is drawn during the day towards social threats like rejections and criticisms, you’re filtering the world such that you’re going to see it as more stressful, more threatening. Actually stressed people, who tended to pay more attention to frowning faces rather than smiling faces were more likely to have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their systems. On the other hand people who paid more attention to the smiling faces were more likely to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their systems.

The scientists ( Prof. Baldwin and his team) were looking for a way to help people train automatic habitual patterns of thought. They decided to design a game to use repetitive thought processes, to help people train positive, helpful thought processes. They created the game and tested it to groups of students and groups of telemarketers.

Their results were interesting. The group of students who played the game felt less stressed about their exam and less anxious during the exam. The group of telemarketers who played the game had 17 percent less of the stress hormone after just one week--and a 68 percent increase in sales. They also reported they had less stress and higher self-esteem.

Their conclusions were very interesting. The game trained people to pay attention to positive things rather than negative things. So do you pay attention to negative, rejecting, attacking things? The more important of their finding was that it is possible to change that fairly simply by practicing over and over again a certain pattern of thought at a very specific level.

So do you want to change your life? Change the way you think.

In our next post we'll discuss how you can change your thoughts to positive ones and how that will help you with your stress.

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