The power of positive thinking, and the keys to achieving it
We’ve all been there. You’re on your Monday morning commute to work, still recovering from the weekend and mentally reviewing your workload for the week. You can’t help but feel overwhelmed, stressed or maybe a little anxious.
Negative thoughts and emotions can deeply affect your mood, and can have a huge impact on your work performance. This would be a great time to train your brain to think “I can do this.”
When you adopt an “I can do this” mindset, you’re displaying confidence that aligns with others who are explorative. You tend to take more risks and initiative, and, in return, positive occurrences tend to follow. This is just one of many benefits of being optimistic.
The benefits of optimism:
- Optimists, compared to pessimists, are known to experience less stress. When you believe in yourself enough, negative occurrences become nothing more than minor setbacks within the bigger picture.
- Marcial Losada, founder of Losada Line Consulting, performed a study in 1999 on the effects of positive emotions within the workplace. He took a closer look at business teams for insight and found that those considered “high-functioning” were also more positive. In fact, teams that are considered “high-functioning” have a 6–to-1 ratio of positive to negative statements. These same performers were also seen as having higher profitability, customer satisfaction ratings and evaluation scores.
- Optimism can bring great benefits to your health. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, researchers took a look at over 80 studies to find a common link between optimism and physical health. With heart health, immunity, overall longevity and other health topics being the focus, it was found that optimists had better results compared to pessimists. Who needs fruits and vegetables when you can just think positively?
It’s clear that a little optimism can go a long way. It can make a long day seem bearable, and can positively impact your life. For some, this state of mind is easier said than done, but with a few tweaks, you’ll be able to approach life’s bumpy road with ease. Here are a few tips to train your brain and get yourself on the right track:
- Show off your smile – Charles Darwin and William James found that one’s facial expressions have an influence on experience. Think of the last time you were dragged to a social event that you didn’t want to attend. You probably had a neutral facial expression, or even worse, looked annoyed the whole time. It’s suggested that if you would’ve forced a few smiles, you would have had a better experience. This is an example of the facial feedback theory, or using facial expressions to adjust emotional experiences.
- Make it a game – You’ve been working hard on your to-do list, realizing you just made it to the halfway mark, you suddenly feel exhausted. This is an example of perceived exertion, which occurs when your brain tells you that you should be tired. Perceived exertion is subjective, and your body cues and surroundings are the driving force behind your brain making such assumptions. Next time, turn your to-do list into a game. Set goals, evaluate your work and challenge yourself to do better.
- Think happy thoughts – When you’re feeling stressed and negative thoughts start rolling in, be mindful about taking a positive approach to your feelings. This is positive reframing, or looking at a situation differently to evoke positive feelings instead of negative. When you have a case of the Mondays, for example, don’t focus on the long work week ahead. Instead, ask yourself, “What experiences can I gain during this week?” Or, “What can I learn today?”
What are your thoughts on optimism? How do you stay positive? Let us know in the comments below.
Richie is an avid movie goer with an addiction to sour patch kids. If he isn’t at the movies, he is at the gym or on a hike trying to make up for his bad eating habits.