HAVE you been following The Paradise on TV? Maybe you went to see the second movie in the Hunger Games trilogy or The Book Thief during the holiday season?
Some of us identify more intensely with the characters on the big screen, but it seems that we all love following an intelligent, positive hero as he or she conquers fear, stays cool and becomes a change-agent in the world.
Their success begs the question: Is it good luck, good genes, 'right place, right time' or positive thinking that makes the difference?
And how about in real life?
Research is beginning to reveal that our mental state has the major impact on outcomes for us.
Far from being a flimsy, feel-good emotion or upbeat attitude, positive thoughts can create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.
They can also boost your health and wellbeing.
A landmark paper provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills.
Results reveal that when you experience positive emotions like joy, contentment and love, you will see more possibilities in your life, enabling you to be open to opportunities to broaden and build on your skills.
Sounds just like the heroines in The Paradise and The Hunger Games, really.
Coming at it from another angle, the spiritually positive expression of joy, contentment, forgiveness and love you feel in your life open the door to happiness and success.
Paul, a super achiever in the early Christian movement shared an equally important insight more than 2000 years ago, "…The Spirit … brings a harvest of love, joy, peace; patience towards others, kindness, benevolence;" and if today's research is to be believed, wellbeing and success in whatever endeavour we pursue.
What sort of God or 'Spirit' was Paul referring to? It's worth persisting in asking that question.
Mick Horowitz, author of the just-released One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, gives examples of thought-leaders in this field who have taken the ideas expressed in ancient literature and run with them.
Amongst many luminaries like Norman Vincent Peale, he notes the contribution of "the brilliant young Mary Baker Eddy," who founded the Christian Science Church in the late 1870s.
Unlike many others of this movement, Eddy had a decidedly Christian approach. "Are thoughts divine or human?" she wrote in Science and Health. "That is the important question". She made the mind/body/spirit connection which brought and still brings physical and mental healing.
Where an analytical human perspective might get bogged down in a limited or negative view or want to rely on willpower, a willingness to yield thinking to divine inspiration, or 'the Spirit', brings practical results.
While this may sound easier said than done, there are some steps you can take to increase your positivity and "broaden and build" your life.
Here are four ideas for you to consider:
- You don't need to sit cross-legged to stop, listen and meditate regularly throughout the day on positive, inspiring ideas
- Regularly write a 'gratitude list' about all the positive things in your life and in the world today
- Play! Make time in your schedule to have fun, be happy and content
- Forgive yourself and others. Believe it or not, we're all doing the best we know how!
Kay Stroud is a health writer focussing on the leading edge of thought, consciousness, spirituality and health. She is also the liaison to media and government for Christian Science in northern and eastern Australia. Find her at www.qldhealthblog.com