You may have heard of the power of positive thinking, but perhaps you are skeptical about how it actually works. Maybe you don’t believe in your ability to influence your environment, or you might be doubtful of your ability to stay positive. Yet taking a step as simple as paying more attention to the small positive things that happen throughout the day can have a massive impact on your outlook and ultimately on your career. Here’s what you should know.
Benefits of Positive Thinking at Work
- Lower stress
- Higher productivity
- Better problem solving
- Improved skill acquisition
- Clearer decision making
- Better conflict resolution
- Enhanced confidence
How Mentally Noting the Positives Can Help
Have you ever had one of those days? Someone cuts you off on the way to work, your favorite coffee stop messes up your order, and your 8 a.m. meeting is highly contentious. Before you know it, you’ve given up on the day. You’re primed to see work as depressing and anxiety-inducing. Every little setback feels insurmountable. By lunchtime, you’re over it. By the time you finally go home, your head and back are throbbing, and you want to have a couple of drinks and try to salvage the evening.
But what about the really good days? The person in front of you in line pays for your coffee. There’s less traffic than usual. Your supervisor loves your ideas. You’re having a fantastic day, and you feel on top of the world. You treat a coworker to lunch, and you’re so productive, you can’t believe it when your shift is over.
Would it surprise you to learn that, on average, just as many bad things happen on those really good days? And just as many good things happen on those really bad days. The difference is where you put your focus. It’s easier to set your mind to having a good day when something unexpectedly good happens, like a stranger buying your coffee. But with a bit of practice, you can learn to recognize the small bits of good in everyday life. It’s something that experts call cognitive reframing.
You will need to work at it at first. Whenever you find your thoughts fixating on something bad that happened, actively shift your thinking to something good. Maybe a coworker held the door open for you, or you got a work assignment you really wanted. Perhaps you found a close parking spot. Pull out any small piece of good news, and focus on it for a moment. A few hours later, do it again with something new. Over time, your brain will learn to tune into the positives and let the negatives roll-off, setting the stage for a happier and more successful you.
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