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5 Exercises That Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success


You have an estimated 70,000 thoughts per day. That's 70,000 chances to build yourself up or tear yourself down.

If you call yourself names, doubt your abilities, or second-guess your decisions, you'll harm your performance (and most likely put your physical and psychological health at risk). But the good news is that you can change the way you think.

Here are five exercises to train your brain for happiness and success:

1. Differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving.

Thinking about strategies that would help you overcome an obstacle is helpful, but imagining yourself unable to tolerate pain isn't productive. Whenever you find yourself thinking about something for an extended time, take a minute to think whether you're ruminating or problem-solving.

If you're actively solving or preventing problems, keep processing. But if you're simply rehashing things that already happened or making catastrophic predictions about things you can't control, change the channel. Get up and do something to get your mind off the issue and keep your brain focused on more productive activities.

2. Give yourself the same advice you'd give to a trusted friend.

If you're like most people, there's a good chance you're overly critical of yourself. But beating yourself up and magnifying your mistakes will only drag you down. Studies have linked self-compassion to everything from improved psychological well-being and better body image to enhanced self-worth and increased motivation. So make it a habit to speak to yourself the same way you'd speak to a trusted friend.