To help us live longer, happier lives, here are five ways to help us think more positively
- Keep things in perspective and recognize them for what they are. A cup of spilt coffee in the morning doesn’t mean the rest of the day is going to be awful – it just means you’ve been a little clumsy.
- Frame it – optimistic people remind themselves that bad or disappointing things that happen are only temporary (they won’t last) and are specific (to the event in question not the whole of your life).
- Choose your attitude. Easier said than done I know – especially when you’re already feeling a little down. It’s important to try though because our attitude shapes our behaviour which in turn leads to consequences.
- Think a happy thought. Find a cue that will prompt you to smile or laugh and use it. Call or text that friend who always makes you laugh, listen to a particular song or look at a picture that makes you smile
- Choose what you’re looking for. When you expect to have a bad day, you automatically only notice the negative things that happen, and ignore the positive. Yes, your train may have been several minutes late, but you may have got a seat on the tube. Challenge yourself to think of three good things that have happened today.
And if you’d like to read a little more…..
It’s easy to think positively when everything is going your way. It’s much tougher however when the chips are down and you feel as if you’re slap bang in the middle of a run of ‘bad luck’. But with a little bit of training and a good measure of will-power, we can change the way we think.
The key difference between optimistic and pessimistic thinkers lies in how we choose to think. Optimists don’t blame themselves when bad things happen. They believe that they are responsible for their own actions and happiness, and trust that more good stuff will happen in the future. Pessimists on the other hand think that when bad stuff happens more will follow and that they probably were to blame anyway. Good stuff that happens is written off as a fluke.
The way we think also sets off a chain of events – affecting how we behave and the consequences that follow:
Let’s bring this to life with an example. Let’s just say you’re invited to an event or meeting that you really don’t want to go to:
You Think: “I’m tired, fed up and really don’t want to be here”
You Behave: Tired, dis-interested, stand-offish
The Consequence: People avoid you or mirror your behaviour so you leave thinking “I knew I shouldn’t have come”
But all that has actually happened is that you’ve found what you’re looking for – the negatives. We can reverse this by changing how we think:
|You think:||“I’m tired, fed up and really don’t want to be here”||I’m going to this event/ meeting so I may as well make the most of my time. I might meet someone interesting or learn something new|
|You Behave||Tired, dis-interested, stand-offish||Interested, open, friendly|
|The Consequence||People avoid you or mirror your behaviour so you leave thinking “I knew I shouldn’t have come”||You meet a couple of people that interest you, or at the very least the time passes more quickly. You leave thinking at worst ‘well that wasn’t as bad as I thought’ or at best ‘that was actually really good’.|
Not only does this colour our view of ourselves and the world around us, research shows that thinking positively has a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Optimists have stronger immune systems and as a result are sick less and live longer than pessimists.
So – let’s get that glass half full! Follow the five tips at the top to help you do that.
If you’d like some personal advice or would like to run a workshop at work contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Or you can follow me using the links below.