The power of positivity and its connection to weight loss
Los Angeles- January 25, 2011- Spending many years working with clients who are seeking happiness through various forms of success, Professor Tim Sharp (of the somewhat unconventional The Happiness Institute) has discovered that one of the main obstacles is what he’s come to term as the “tyranny of when”. This is the phenomenon where we say to ourselves, “I’ll be happy when… I have more money, a bigger house, a better job;” or the biggest one in this era of western world- Obesity… “I’ll be happy when I lose weight.”
The problem for many people (for a variety of reasons), is that they never get there; and even if they do, they then think of something else that they “need” before they can truly feel happy: A snazzier car, a bigger pay check, a more beautiful or handsome spouse, even a new pair of breasts. Psychologists refer to this as the “hedonic treadmill,” conjuring up the perfect metaphor of chasing the proverbial carrot on a stick. As a result, we don’t ever get to experience the joy and satisfaction we desire and need as human beings. We’re left feeling frustrated, disappointed and downright miserable.
Of course there is no other aspect of our lives where the hedonic treadmill is more evident than in our modern day eating behaviours. We can supersize our meals for just 50 cents more at the drive-thru. At restaurants we’re served mounds of pasta on gigantic plates– inspiring not only huge grins, but also double chins. To combat the growing problem, most popular diets include a lot of pill popping, restrictive eating, and punishing exercise routines; negative, often punitive and insulting approaches to weight loss. Naturally, many people feel depressed, hopeless and helpless when they’re blamed for being overweight and labelled as lazy, ill-disciplined failures.
How is the Happiness Institute’s approach different? Whereas most diets propose that if you lose weight, then you’ll be happy; Professor Sharp proposes that if you get happy first then you’ll lose weight! The good news is this isn’t something “Dr Happy” (as his clients affectionately call him) just made up; it’s based on an ever-increasing groundswell of scientific literature, which supports the “positivity” approach to weight loss.
Traditionally, psychologists have focused on negative emotions. When we experience negative emotions such as fear or anxiety, we close up; we tend to withdraw physically and psychologically. As a result, we do not to cope as well. In contrast, the more modern psychological science of positivity shows that positive emotions lead to improved performance, coping and resilience via the broadening of our minds, and the increased capacity to build on previous experiences. It also has been shown that positive thoughts can aid the body being in an alkaline state, which aids in weight loss and minimizes chronic and acute illness and disease.
The good news for weight loss is that positive emotions are not just nice, they can reprogram the automatic negative food messages your brain gives your body about food. The findings on positivity are profound- Not just for weight loss, but for all areas of life. Positivity means that rather than succumbing to the tyranny of when, we can utilise the power of “then.” Professor Sharp believes we can leverage off the idea that if we create happiness first, then we can achieve more of our goals. We get to enjoy the wonders of positive emotions both before and after succeeding in our efforts!
No wonder his clients call him Dr. Happy.
For information on Proffesor Tim Sharps book, click here.
Sri Keshava is a holistic entrepreneur who has made her passions, her business. She is the author of Gurus, Rock Stars & the Men In Between (a memoir from monk to punk diva in two seminal spiritual rock bands), co-director of Taal Dance Company, licensed real estate agent with a penchant for green, host of Gorgeous Green Homes and contributor to wellness and investment journals.
Adam is a Reiki Master, certified Health and Lifestyle counselor, Intrinsic Coach, Licensed Massage Therapist, 20 year practicing bramana initiated Bhakti Yogi, Spiritual advisor, visionary, jock and veteran of the “hardcore punk scene” all rolled into one. His clients have included celebrities, politicians, professional atheletes, and professional sport team owners.
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