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We’re all familiar with the concept of exercising regularly to stay physically fit.  Did you know that the same concept works for your attitude?

When you exercise, you improve your physical fitness, and you are building up your muscles, endurance and stamina.  When you are physically fit, you reap several well-known benefits. You feel better (once you’re done with the exercise!), you are more alert, you perform better, and you are healthier.

Practicing positivity will do the same thing for your attitude.  When you practice positivity, you are exercising the positivity ‘circuits’ in your brain and by using them regularly, you are building them up and making them stronger.

These physical changes of the brain happen through a process that doctors call neuroplasticity.  Through neuroplasticity, your brain is physically rewiring itself based on the tasks you are repeatedly asking it to do.  When you are practicing your golf swing at the driving range, you aren’t building muscle memory, you are changing your physical brain structure so that it fires the muscles in the same pattern with less conscious thought.  By practicing it repeatedly, you don’t have to think about it anymore, it just naturally happens.

With MRI’s, scientists have been able to measure this.  Scientists have shown that violin players have a larger portion of their brain dedicated to their left hand than their right hand.  Another MRI study proved that London cab drivers have a larger portion of their brain dedicated to spatial maps than the general population in London.

Okay, so neuroplasticity works for tasks, but can it work for your attitude?  Yes!  There are several scientific studies on the topic.  In one study, “The effects of gratitude expression on Neural Activity”, scientists showed with MRI scans that expressing gratitude made an advantageous difference to the positivity circuits in brain.  The best news from that study to me was that the effects on the brain were still evident three months later; once you train your brain to be more positive, your brain will stay that way for a while!

This is what attitude fitness is all about.  If you practice positivity regularly, through neuroplasticity, you will build up the positivity circuits in your brain and you attitude will become more naturally optimistic.  Your attitude fitness will be strengthened for the times when you experience a challenge or in the unfortunate event of a health crisis.

I was fortunate that I had strong attitude fitness when I suffered my skiing accident and the doctors said that “I was as sick as I could be and still be alive…and I would get worse before I got better.”  The attitude I brought to that situation was naturally positive and it saved my life.  I didn’t have to convince myself to be positive in that terrible situation, I just was.  Because I had been practicing positivity my whole life, through neuroplasticity, I had built up my attitude fitness, and I had a naturally positive attitude.

The good news for everyone is that you aren’t stuck with the attitude you were born with or how you are today, you can improve it.  By practicing positivity, you will improve your attitude in the moment and you will build your attitude fitness and improve your attitude for months to come.

Join me and take up a positivity exercise routine.  If you want to know what positivity exercises will work best for you, take the positivity quiz on stevehlawton.com and get the three positivity exercises that can help you improve your attitude fitness right now.

Once you do one of the exercises, connect with me and let me know what you did how it’s going for you!

Twitter @stevehlawton, Facebook/stevehlawton or Linked In/steve-h-lawton.

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