Do you call yourself the voice of reason when everyone else is getting excited about a new opportunity or project? Get filled with pride at playing devil’s advocate or brag on your social feeds about always keeping it real, even if that often means being the “Debbie Downer” in the crowd? Being honest and engaging in open debate is important. But if you always tilt negative in your actions and thoughts, that behavior can limit your well-being, professional success and happiness. According to the Mayo Clinic, the health benefits of positive thinking can include an increased life span, decreased rates of depression, better coping skills and improved psychological and physical well-being. So, how do you become more upbeat when your glass is naturally half-empty, cracked and filled with tepid water? Here are four ways to infuse your life with more authentic positivity:
1. Practice self-awareness.
Dr. Jennifer Nash, CEO of Nash Consulting and Associates, was raised in a conservative family that focused on avoiding risk and preparing for worst-case scenarios. Positivity didn’t feel like an option. Her evolution began when she left home for college and began encountering different kinds of people and perspectives. “It took me a long time to figure out that I can choose to see the positive instead of just focusing on the negative,” she explained. “Being exposed to different ways of thinking and
2. Join a positive community.
Search for a like-minded group to help you celebrate successes, get encouragement when challenges arise, and reinforce the positivity in your life. For example, I belong to a private Facebook group of about 40 professionals around the world, most in their forties and fifties, who are focused on exercise and well-being. We cheer each other on, set weekly goals, vent when life goes sideways, and generally keep the positive motivation going non-stop. I haven’t met many of these great people in real life yet, but it doesn’t matter. The daily check-ins always make me feel more upbeat.
3. Get support.
Monique Russell, an Executive Communications Coach specializing in Emotional Intelligence, says choosing to have a positive attitude is going to allow you to have a better relationship with yourself. If happiness seems unattainable, she recommends turning to a good therapist or counselor to determine if you unresolved trauma, grief or conflict. The right resources can help you heal, make sense of past events and choose a different path and attitude moving forward. Russell practices what she preaches. “I got unstuck by getting involved with a positive women’s group and learning how to create a vision board, which gave me a more hopeful view of the future. Then I used the tools of therapy and coaching to maximize my individual human potential.”
4. Seek the positive.
Gratitude has been proven to decrease stress hormones and improve your physical and mental well-being. Start focusing on your blessings in life and thanking others, and you’ll feel a surge of positivity in return. If you’d like to start each day with a dose of positivity, check out my Gratitude Rocket Fuel exercise and make gratitude a regular habit.
“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them,” said Jack Canfield, bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. “They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.”
We can all benefit from becoming more positive. How has doing so impacted your professional and personal life?