How easy it is to get bogged down by life.
It happens to all of us at some point. Because our brains tend to default to fixating on what’s wrong in our lives, instead of what’s right.
But the next time things get mucky, what if you make the effort to focus on the up side of your situation, instead of the down side?
Making the effort to be positive can actually change your life for the better.
Recurring negative thoughts can create a host of detrimental physical and emotional symptoms. Not only does positive thinking have huge health benefits, it can also boost your skills and improve your work.
Research has found that looking on the bright side also broadens our mindset and makes us more resilient. Barbara L. Fredrickson’s theory of positive emotions explains how…
“…these positive emotions broaden an individual’s momentary thought–action repertoire: joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savour and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships.
The broadened mindsets arising from these positive emotions are contrasted to the narrowed mindsets sparked by many negative emotions…”
Barbara L. Fredrickson
Barbara also proposes that the broadened mindset created by positive emotions promotes creativity and innovation, strengthens social bonds and improves our coping and survival skills.
That’s pretty cool!
But how do we get ourselves to be more positive?
- We can nurture a positive state through play, writing or meditation.
- We can also find happiness in doing focused activities, such as what Cal Newport calls “Deep Work” which enables us to achieve what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi described as a “Flow” state .
- We can think about our problems differently – here are 9 ways to think more positively about problematic situations.
So, what to do next time life is raining on your parade?
A: Purposefully look for the bright side.
- Play, explore, be curious. Maybe you’ll find the silver lining in that dark cloud, or at least have fun trying.
- Practice being present in the moment. Savour the experience and integrate the teachings you’ll gain from it into your mindset going forward (use more of the good, learn from the bad).
- Devote time to focused work. Make space for learning activities that help you achieve more meaningful business and personal outcomes.
In other words, put on your wellie boots and go find some puddles to jump around in! :)