Mental Health and Happiness through the Power of Positivity & Good News

Mental Health and Happiness through the Power of Positivity & Good News

Friday, 01 May 2020 14:08

Positive psychology says we need more good news in our world. We've all heard how important it is to be in a positive frame of mind. Of course, this same sentiment has been around for thousands of years in the ancient cultures.

Good in theory, not always so easy in practice. So what can we do to help our mental health and hopefully reduce things like anxiety and depression?

Ancient Wisdom

The ancient wisdom has always been that we put our attention where we can on what is positive, what's uplifting, what is sweet, what is beautiful in our world. Why? Because as the ancient Vedic aphorism suggests, "What we see, we become."

As the ancient Hawaiians also said, "Where attention goes, energy flows."

Simply put, what we put our attention on grows stronger in our lives. In the ancient Ayurvedic understanding and current day Maharishi Ayurveda for example, the understanding is that we metabolize not just the food we eat, but everything we experience.

Digestion … of experience

The term metabolize is often used in connection with food. We eat food. We need to process that food. We need to digest it, and then metabolize it so that we get the benefits of its nutrients, but as mentioned, it's not just food that we have to metabolize.

The ancients understood that all our sensory perceptions, what we see, what we taste, what we smell, what we touch also must be metabolized or processed on a deep level.

Most important today is what we hear. Do we hear good news or stories about war, crime and all the bad things that abound in our western media?

We have to process those things and it has a physiological effect. It can dampen our immune system, raise our stress hormones and negatively impact our mental health.

Shawn Actor – The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Achor, an international happiness researcher, has does a lot of the research internationally on positive psychology.

He’s shown that if we are more grateful for things in our life, we journal about positive things that are happening in our day (things like just writing down one positive experience that's happened to us in the last 24 hours of our lives), and we make someone else's day (do conscious or random acts of kindness) we can transform our health and even business success.

Sales – Positive Mind

The research shows significant
30% plus increases in our productivity levels at work
19% faster and more accurate
37% increase in sales
. You might not think you're in sales, but we're all in sales. Sales is about rapport and influence. People like to deal with other people that are in a happier, more positive state of mind.

We're also more resistant to burnout. We're more resilient generally. Our sleep improves, we have less mental health issues (anxiety, depression, insomnia).

Good News Power - Seeing the World in a Better Light

If you listen to the media today, you read newspapers, you watch the evening news, you will think that the world is in a precarious place. There's murder, there's terrorism, there's war, there's rape, there's all sorts of nasty things going on, and of course these things do happen. But appreciate that the media basically likes bad news. "If it bleeds, it reads."

There certainly are some really unpleasant things happening in our world, but if we consume this sensory diet on a daily basis without balancing it out, then that can have a damaging physiological effect on our mind, body and emotions.

This is what we want to reframe. We want to change the dialogue we have so that we can actually improve our health, become more robust and more resilient. One way to do that is by imbibing or consuming good news … and there’s lots happening in our world.

I heard recently that in Scotland today, doctors can now prescribe to their patients to spend more time in nature - forest bathing, nature immersion - instead of prescribing pharmaceutical pills. Isn't that fantastic?

In Japan today, a nonprofit organization has bought up 62 forests that they now called therapeutic woods. They've designated those woods for people to go into for the healing benefits of connecting with nature.

Smoking rates in most countries, in particular younger people are reducing. Alcohol consumption is decreasing in many parts of the world.

So we often will hear isolated stories, the doom and gloom, but overall there's tremendous changes happening in our world.

I’ve written else and discussed at length on my ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health’ Podcast how there has been a huge transformation in collective consciousness in the world over the last few years. Healthier diets, people exercising more, the absolute transformation in meditation and yoga, and many other things.

Connection - Share Good News with Others

Another great way to nourish our mental health is get into the habit of sharing good news with our loved ones and the people around us.

At dinner, try starting with gratitude.

Before the meal starts, mention the best thing that's happened to you that day. I.e. rather than diving straight into the doom and gloom or what went wrong (that may be important to discuss but can often be done later), you just ask, "What was the best thing that happened to you today?" (Then you can talk about politics!)

Even if it was a bad day and everything went wrong, maybe the answer could be about how you we're more resilient than you were previously. Maybe someone said some kind words to you. Whatever it is, reframing in this way can really help to shift our psychology.

For couples or partners, when one person comes home, first question, "Hey darling (if they’re in the good books!), what was the best thing about your day?"

Karma - The Law of Reciprocity

How can you make someone else's day?

The last decade or so of research has not just focused on what we can do for ourselves in terms of our mental health and positive psychology, but how the ultimate feel good tip is where we can help someone else feel better.

Traditionally and anciently of course this was known as the law of karma. As we do to others comes back to us many fold. The law of reciprocity, the law of karma, depending on what tradition we are from, is so, so powerful.

What can you do to help someone else, even in a small way, each day? Put it on your to-do list.

Traditional Culture Wisdom

For more inspiration or motivation around getting back to life essentially being about happiness, connection and community, is to visit a traditional culture.

Whether it's individuals or families, we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of western life, and all the stress and the busyness of city living. However, if we are lucky enough to go and have a holiday in a place like Bali, or India, or Fiji, or Cambodia, we often get a beautiful reality check.

These people live simple lives, often with hardly any money, would give you their shirt off their back, but often seem far happier and more contented than those with great material possessions. Spending time in or remembering the ways of traditional cultures can remind us of the simple wisdom that connection with others, good relationships and a slower pace of life, are often the best things for our emotional and mental health.

Take-away Tips

1. Surround yourself with good things, positive things

Realize that we have a choice in our lives. Most of the time we can choose the people that we spend the most time with.

2, Spend time with people that are on your wavelength

Deliberately hang out with people that are happier, more positive, and make you feel good. Favour one’s that talk well of other people are not backbiting, bitchy or negative and always looking at the doom and gloom.

3. Start to begin to actively choose the people and groups that you like to be with and spend more time with those people.

4. Be more in Nature

5. Watch kids playing

Anytime where you can interact with young kids or watch young kids playing. Young kids really bring us back to what life is about with that innocent, fun, laughter and not a care in the world mentality.

6. Digest more good, uplifting news

For a regular dose of positivity, good news & mental health stimulation,

  • Podcasts related to this topic =

Future Crunch - Intelligent Optimism, Fundamental Happiness & The Power of Good News (#37)

The Coming Golden Age: Miracles, Higher Consciousness & World Transformation (#26)

The Good News Episode – Take a Shot of Positive for Mental Health & Happiness (#8)

Find them here under All of Mark's Podcasts


Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers.  Mark is also CEO of David Lynch Foundation Australia.