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"I think, therefore I am," mind over matter, the little engine that thought it could: Our philosophers, language and literature all point to the power of perspective.
Psychologists say this common wisdom is correct: What you expect of yourself and the world has a huge impact on the results of your efforts.
"From a neuroscience perspective, the brain will believe anything you tell it, right or wrong," said Roseann Capanna-Hodge, a Connecticut psychologist.
Research has shown that this phenomenon can have huge benefits when tackling an important or difficult task, said David Robson, science writer and author of "The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World."
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"We know that there is a connection between the mind and the body, which is neither mysterious nor magical, it's just how it has to work and that this in itself is changing our physiology," Robson told CNN's chief medical correspondent, the Dr. Sanjay Gupta on his podcast, Chasing Life.
Think that you could catch up on a career or that your public speaking anxiety could help you perform better, in many cases, Robson said.
Psychologists agree, saying that redirecting your expectations to make them work better for you requires self-awareness, self-compassion, and resilience.
Here are six expert ways to develop a mindset that propels you toward success.
Curb negative bias
Expectations, even negative ones, are meant to help our brains navigate a complicated world by simplifying our predictions of the wide range of outcomes for any given situation, said Emiliana Simon-Thomas, chief science officer at the University's Greater Good Science Center. of Calif., Berkeley.
Those negative expectations can help anticipate and avoid danger, but they aren't always up to date with the context around us, he added.
The sense of danger bias sometimes incorrectly distorts the way we view the situation ahead.
And inaccurate information in the face of a challenge can create its own obstacles.
"Pessimistic thoughts really put you in a position where you're more vulnerable to experiencing that unpleasant or negative outcome," he added.
Communicate better with yourself
Setting more positive expectations — and hopefully reaping the rewards — starts with how you talk to yourself, Capanna-Hodge said.
When baseball players walk up to home plate, they tell themselves they're going to knock it out of the park, he said, and the rest of the world should do the same, whether it's diet changes, dating, career development or challenges. physical.
Sometimes, though, those negative thoughts feel pretty automatic.
If that's the case, Capanna-Hodge recommends activities like prayer, meditation, journaling, and visualization to get better in touch with your goals and have more control over how you think about them.
Focus on the challenge
We tend to see ourselves and our obstacles in two ways, Simon-Thomas said.
Our abilities are fixed or can grow, and our obstacles are a threat or a challenge.
Shifting the focus to believe we can develop skills and seeing difficulties as a challenge to be faced rather than a threat to be avoided has proven more successful, he said.
"Is this a challenge that I can get excited about trying to muster the resources to accomplish? Or is it a threat to my worth as a person?"
"If you could relate to that situation or interpret it as a challenge, your physiological response will empower you and set you up to be more creative and effective."
Stretch the mentality
An optimistic expectation doesn't always mean being tied to a specific outcome, said Joan Rosenberg, a California psychologist and author of "90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity."
Instead, he recommends setting expectations that anticipate a positive outcome, without being too hard on yourself.
To try something new and challenging, Rosenberg said your ideal mindset is "I'll do my best and see how far I can go."
Prepare to face the emotional results
The disappointing truth is that those looking to achieve something new will often have to fail at least a few times.
Part of meeting those challenges with an optimal mindset means preparing to deal with any emotional fallout — win or lose.
Typically, it's not the loss that people avoid, but the feelings that go along with it, such as fear, anger, vulnerability, sadness and shame, Rosenberg said.
For most, the worst part is the physical feelings that come with a setback, like a flush in the cheeks or a racing heart.
Fortunately, data shows those feelings tend to last no longer than 90 seconds, he added.
Preparing yourself to endure any unpleasant emotions and feelings that may arise can make you more prepared to meet the challenge, as well as more resilient if it doesn't go your way, he said.
Turn disappointment into information gathering
Resting on those uncomfortable feelings of loss can actually turn into a gain, Rosenberg added.
She recommends that people find the opportunity to find information in disappointment.
Maybe you learn that you need to eat something more substantial before your 5K or triathlon, that your feelings of sadness mean that you really care about the kind of job you were interviewing for, or that the new friends you've been spending time with They don't make you feel so good.
"Why would you want to be present to those feelings? Because it is a source of information that, along with thought and reason, will help me make better decisions in my life," Rosenberg said.
Having realistic and optimistic expectations isn't a panacea for life's disappointments and losses, but it does better prepare each of us to meet a challenge to the best of our ability, experts said.