Do you strive to have a positive mindset?
When we face adversity, we have two choices. We can focus on the negative and wonder why we’re always dealt such a rotten hand in life. Or we can focus on the positive and search for the lesson in every situation. Life is truly about the choices we make and choosing a positive or negative outlook is very much in our control.
Why is a Positive Mindset so important?
Barbara Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina and her research has proven that positive and negative thoughts each influence our brains. Those with a positive outlook on life are open to more possibilities, look for opportunities to succeed, and are better problem solvers. Those with a negative outlook, however, focus strictly on the negative feelings or thoughts, which can lead to self-doubt, self-esteem issues, or depression. They also see fewer opportunities to escape their negativity.
Build Your Skillset with Positivity
Positive emotions also lead us toward activities that will broaden our skills, which can benefit us for years into the future. Take the example of a young basketball player. In elementary school, she loved to run and play with friends. These joyful and carefree activities drove her to join a team at a young age, where she developed her athleticism, her listening ability, and her team spirit.
Even though the work on the basketball court increased as she grew older, she developed a sense of accomplishment after practice or big games. She respected her teammates and coaches and learned about teamwork. This basketball player will carry all these traits with her throughout her life. They all stemmed from those positive emotions of having fun with her friends.
A negative outlook at a young age can have quite the opposite effect, with the child doubting her abilities and feeling jealous of her friends who are playing while she sits on the bench. As this child grows up, there’s a strong possibility that she’ll become insecure and struggle with anxiety. This can lead to difficulties finding a job or a relationship.
How to find the Silver Lining in Every Situation
Let’s be real: everyday life is not filled with unicorns and rainbows. Life throws you curve balls, which are not always easy to recover from. Unexpected occurrences can throw your day off kilter. Anger and frustration are natural emotions which should be acknowledged. The key is to put those negative emotions aside and focus on digging yourself out of the hole you fell into.
Step One is to find gratitude in the situation as being grateful naturally pushes you into a positive mindset. If you’re involved in a fender bender car accident, for example, be grateful you can walk away without injury. Or be grateful your car damage is limited to just the bumper. Be grateful the kids weren’t in the car with you. No matter how big the situation, find a glimmer of hope in your gratitude.
Step Two is to look for the lesson that being taught. In the car example above, the lesson may be to keep more distance between cars or to be less distracted while driving. Maybe you’ve sent out 10 proposals to new prospects and all 10 have rejected your proposals. Your lesson is to look more closely at your offers and your pricing and make tweaks to attract more people.
Step Three is to practice self-care every day. Five minutes of meditation or a 10-minute walk at lunchtime can do wonders. It helps to clear your mind, improve your focus, and invite positive vibes into your mind.
Have no fear: You CAN learn how to become an optimist, even if you’ve spent years stuck in pessimism. Just treat yourself well. Allow yourself time to train your brain to be grateful and to find the lesson in each event.