The Power of Positive Thinking

TSP • @myTSPnet


Whether you’re stuck in a creative rut or your personal life is casting a negative shadow over your work, the power of positivity is a robust psychological tool that can change the way you see things. Although negativity is at times unavoidable, it can be extremely harmful to your professional self-esteem and can strip away future opportunities for progress. Positivity in the workplace can increase productivity, creativity, and generate more camaraderie among colleagues, not to mention its powerful medical benefits.

Many people think that they cannot control the way they feel or the way external circumstances affect their outlook. The truth is that, regardless of those things that you cannot control, you are in control of your attitude. Maintaining and exerting this control, however, takes practice. For your career, enhancing these skills can translate to upward mobility and overall job satisfaction. Even though most people know the powerful benefits of positivity, few know how to actually implement effective practices that apply to their daily lives. So, where can you start?

When good things happen, when your boss gives you little praise, when you complete an assignment on time, or even if you have a pleasant interaction with someone in the office, stop and take a few seconds to practice a little gratitude. By shortly reflecting on this moment, you engage in an effective way to boost your confidence. If you have trouble reminding yourself to do this in the present moment, set aside ten minutes a day to write in a gratitude journal. By doing so, you're forced to reflect and seek out these instances. Keeping a journal is also a great way to track your progress in your journey towards a more positive outlook. As you increase the frequency of the decisively positive moments, the negative moments lose their influence.

When your mind retreats to negativity, and you are having trouble reframing to a more positive state of mind, consider changing your body language. Studies show that smiling more can reduce stress, increase your mood, and make you seem more successful. Even if this sounds cheesy, the biological process that takes place when we smile release the vital chemicals necessary to trick our minds into shifting to a more positive mindset.

In addition to showing your pearly whites more, put forth an effort to make more eye contact. Locking eyes conveys legitimacy, engagement, and respect. Studies find that those who make more eye contact generally have more self-esteem than those who avoid eye contact. Plus, by visual acknowledging someone you are engaged in a conversation with, you're conveying a high level of listening apprehension.

It’s true; the happiest people do the most for others. No matter how full your plate gets, try to do one small thing for someone else every day. Offer a little help to co-workers, send a complimentary note/text to a friend, or even grab an extra coffee in the morning and surprise your co-worker. Not only does helping others feel good, but it also breeds reciprocating positive attitudes.

It’s no surprise to find that when you're helpful to others, others will reciprocate and return the favor — the golden rule never fails. Everyone knows that joyful coworkers are much easier to work with than grumpy coworkers, so make your office a breeding ground for positivity by being that catalyst that starts the trend. In doing so, you'll also gain the reputation of being a trustworthy and approachable colleague.

Self-criticism can be helpful in cases when it allows constructive acceptance of mistakes and disappointments, and it can even cultivate humility, and spur positive change. Along with the positive change. However, these gains are outweighed by the costs to mental well-being when this self-criticism hinders one’s ability to thrive. So how do you discern its place in your career?

When you're reflecting on your failures, ask yourself, “is this helping myself to be better in the future?” Whenever you see that your thought patterns are harming your confidence, alter the narrative. Ignore the voices that say you’re not good enough and amplify the ones that say you can do better. Refining yourself and being better prepared for the future is different than beating yourself up over the small things. Acknowledge how you can do better but then get proactive! Develop an action plan that focuses on the benefits associated with addressing the particular area of need, and view your inadequacies as ways to grow and develop professionally and personally.

Positivity is contagious, whether you implement it into your personal or professional life, you're likely to reap the benefits associated with positive thinking. Although it might be hard at times to pick apart the good from the bad, training your mind to focus on the positive rather than the negative will allow you to be happier in the long run.

Still not convinced of the power of a positive attitude? Check out this TED talk for the full low-down on happiness in the workplace.