Day 23 - A Positive Mindset
Robin Boudette, Ph.D.
Robin is a psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services at Princeton University, and has worked 14 years with students. She is the former Director of the University Medical Center at Princeton Eating Disorders Program, and founder of the Mind-Body Health Services Team.
Our right prefrontal cortex activates when we’re anxious or depressed - and our left cortex lights up when we’re happy and energetic. The activity ratio between the hemispheres across the day establishes a positivity set-point. One simple way to think about it is that mindfulness increases left-hemisphere activities - and so raises the set-point to create a more positive mindset.
Establishing a positive mindset through mindfulness, is an iterative process of imprinting “states”, that then evolve over time into default “traits”. Repeatedly experiencing the emotion and sensation of calm awareness, non-judgment, kindness, acceptance, gratitude and self-compassion, strengthen circuits of positivity and establish them as mental habits.
Positivity is also the fundamental characteristic of a “growth mindset” - one that thrives on challenge, and regards failure as a natural, temporary and valuable learning experience. The view we adopt of ourselves can be the most profound determinant of our success - and a growth mindset assumes that we will work through setbacks, to learn, grow and thrive.