The Main Phrases That Won’t Make You Happy

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There is a lot of advice on how to become richer and more successful, but not all of it works. Sometimes you can believe in pretty words and miss really important opportunities. Let’s take apart popular attitudes scientifically and examine whether they really help in life.

“Always Think Positively”

Positive thinking is a concept whose supporters try to perceive the world in the most favorable light for themselves, always notice the pluses of what is happening and completely remove themselves from negative thoughts. There is an opinion that this way of thinking helps to attract positive events, to live in harmony and tranquility. Among the benefits of this approach, the staff at the Mayo Clinic attribute, in particular, improved well-being, easy overcoming of difficulties and stress, lower rates of depression, and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, simply put it worked like playing scratch card games online.

But positive thinking doesn’t always work, and in some cases it can be detrimental. Julie Norem explains that positive thinking is an ineffective strategy. It takes some amount of anxiety for a person in an unpleasant situation to take action. With positive thinking, you become less likely to deal with problems because your brain thinks they are already solved.

In some cases, when reality is completely inconsistent with a positive statement, the mind emphasizes the gap between the desired and the real and only worsens one’s psycho-emotional state. A realistic view of things helps to assess life situations more objectively and correct mistakes in time.

Stories of people with cancer who were able to overcome the disease thanks to their fighting spirit are often used as a positive example. But a study by scientists at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine found that positive thinking alone doesn’t actually help beat cancer. 

And it turns out that even just telling others that you now always think positively isn’t helpful. A study on how our mood is influenced by social expectations showed the following. If your environment expects you not to be sad and to charge everyone around you with positivity, you can experience far more negative emotions than if no one pressured you.

“Visualize to Get Wealthy”

Its is said that you should stick pictures of an expensive car, a house by the sea and a suitcase with hundred-dollar bills on the wall and it will all come true. This is explained by the fact that, first, visualization increases motivation, and second, the subconscious mind simply begins to attract the right people and situations like a magnet.

In reality, positive fantasies do not help generate the energy to achieve what is desired. A study by scientists at New York University School of Psychology proves that wish boards don’t work: people wait for a gift from the Universe instead of moving toward the goal. The brain perceives the visualization of success as an accomplished success and stops looking for ways to achieve the result.

In another study at UCLA, two groups of students visualized different things: some visualized the process of preparing for an exam, and others visualized a successful exam. The students in the first group thought about preparation, spent more time studying, and ended up getting better grades than those who visualized the result. It turns out that visualization prevents you from focusing on the specific steps that lead to the goal. And sometimes it removes responsibility from the person: why try to do it yourself if the Universe itself will attract what you want?

“Use Positive Affirmations to Succeed”

An affirmation is a short, positive statement that is used for self-infusion, such as “I can do anything”. In popular psychology, there is an opinion that if you often say affirmations, the subconscious mind will fix the desired image or attitude. This supposedly improves the psycho-emotional background and leads to the desired changes in life.

In fact, positive affirmations – not a panacea. They will not help improve self-esteem, change negative thoughts, or escape from hard feelings. Research proves that positive affirmations only support people who already feel positive or highly effective. That is, if affirmations are uttered by people with high self-esteem, they feel a little better. But such phrases cannot create new attitudes, and may even make them worse.

Steven Hayes, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Nevada, writes, “A recent study showed that positive affirmations such as ‘I’m a good person!’ work fine until they are really needed. When we really need support, such as when we start to feel bad, affirmations make us feel worse and act ineffectively! It’s a cruel joke.” In the study cited by the psychologist, scientists from the Universities of Waterloo and New Brunswick explain this pattern: “if people who think they cannot be loved repeat, ‘I am an attractive person,’ they can disprove that statement and perhaps even reinforce their belief that they cannot be loved.”

In another study, authors from Linann University suggest using affirmations with an emphasis on positive affirmations with caution because people with low satisfaction levels have worsening moods after reading such texts. The mind pays attention not to the affirmation itself, but to the gap between reality and the phrase being uttered.

“Get up at 5 a.m. and You Will Conquer the World”

A number of motivational speakers advise getting up every day at 5 or 6 a.m. or even earlier to discipline yourself and become more energetic, healthier and efficient. Examples often include Benjamin Franklin, who started doing things at 5 a.m., or Tim Cook, who gets out of bed at 4:30 a.m.

Some people will benefit from such a regimen, but others will feel unwell, have less ability to work and overeat. After studying data from more than 700,000 people, a team of researchers from universities and medical centers in America, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries found more than 350 genetic factors that influence how energetic people feel in the morning or evening. They determine the periods of the day when a person feels most alert. The advice to “just get up earlier” oversimplifies how the human body works.

Many studies, including work by scientists from Harvard University School of Public Health, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich and other institutions have proven that sleep patterns are determined by individual biological clocks, which are mainly influenced by genes. The authors of the study offer to adjust the work regime to your feelings, go to bed and get up at a comfortable time. It helps to feel better, be more efficient and not to feel unhealthy hunger.

Oxford University biologist Katharina Wolf, who studies chronobiology and sleep, said that if people stick to its natural rhythm, they feel much better and more productive, but if they re-customize the schedule, they break physiological processes. For example, when “owls” wake up early, they still produce melatonin while awake and feel crushed. Besides, when people try to rearrange their internal clock, insulin and glucose production processes can be disrupted, leading to weight gain.

It’s the time of rise that we are talking about, not the number of hours of sleep. A person can get enough sleep, but feel wrecked if they get up too early or too late.

“The More You Spend, the More You Get” 

This principle has its origins supposedly in an esoteric law of the universe, which suggests that the more you give, the more you get. Sometimes business coaches apply this attitude to money.

If you spend all your money on others, you won’t get rich, but rather you won’t be able to cover your basic needs and use your money to multiply it. American entrepreneur Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, advises investing in yourself: “The best investment you can make is an investment in your abilities. Anything you do to develop your own skills or business is more likely to be productive.

However, spending absolutely all of your money on anything, even yourself, is not wise either. If you save up and don’t keep track of your expenses, it won’t help to multiply your money. Achieving your financial goals is helped by simple tools: making a personal financial plan, analyzing your budget, and tracking your income and expenses. Nothing about spending all your money down so you can get it back one day.

You shouldn’t completely abandon generosity, though: it can be useful, but not financially. Scientists from German, American and Swiss universities proved that generous behavior increases happiness. Participants in the experiment who spent money on other people noted that they felt happy. The researchers studied brain activity and found a correlation between the areas that are responsible for generous behavior and those that are responsible for happiness. 

The idea of spending more doesn’t help you become richer. The only upside is the pleasurable feeling of generous behavior.

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