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How to use positive thinking to make work more satisfying

By 17/01/2017June 22nd, 2021Employee Wellbeing

How positive are you?

No, really – ask yourself that question and provide only the most honest of answers. Is your working day filled with concern and negativity, or are you relentlessly positive?

If truth be told, relentlessly positive people can be rather irritating. If you’re the exact opposite of a morning person, the sight of the chattiest team member putting the kettle on during your morning venture into the staff kitchen may fill you with dread.

Don’t worry – this post isn’t designed to turn you into someone everyone else deeply wishes they could ‘turn off’; we’d much rather explore the benefits of a positive mental attitude.

Working for a living was never meant to be easy, and every day throws up new challenges that often make one question the reason for getting out of bed in the morning. But it’s how you approach such challenges that can make or break a career and, ultimately, ensure your happiness both in and outside of work.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at how to overcome negativity within your own mind and replace it with positive thinking. In doing so, you’ll become far more productive and achieve that thing we all strive for: job satisfaction.

Although there are numerous ways to encourage positive thinking, we’ve compiled a list of ten which should be printed out and placed by your bedside as a constant reminder about how to transform your mindset:

1. Read something positive every day

“It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years,” said one Abraham Lincoln. You need not look far for an inspirational quote – they’re all around us, and the web is absolutely full of them.

Take some time out to research and list your favourite motivational quotes that inspire you to think positively. Print them out, add them to your desktop wallpaper or do whatever you need to do with them in order to give you the chance to read at least one positive quote every day.

The words of others really can instil a positive mindset, so lean on the best.

2. Have big goals, but approach them methodically

There’s nothing wrong with having huge goals. Think of the current space race that features people from all walks of life striving to build spacecraft that will one day transport regular, non-astronaut human beings beyond the plant we’ve inhabited for centuries. Few of them will succeed, but one or two most certainly will.

Set yourself lofty goals, but don’t attempt to reach them in double-quick time. If you do, you’ll fail – simple. Approach your goals methodically and in bite-sized chunks.

You don’t have to do everything at once. You’ll need to start embracing failure. But you can do your utmost every day to take one step (no matter how minor) towards that big goal.

3. Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing has long been regarded by experts as a fabulous way to centre one’s gravity, calm nerves and inject crucial oxygen into the brain.

Try it. Throughout the day, take a minute or so to sit back, relax your arms and breath slowly and deeply. It’ll feel a bit daft at first, but the more you do it, the more you’ll feel its benefits wash over your day.

4. Ditch the negative people in your life

Negativity breeds negativity, which is why you should ditch those around you who do nothing more than bringing you down.

This isn’t always an easy task, as the people in question may be long-term friends or – even more tricky – colleagues. Whoever they are, they need to be kept at arm’s length. If you have to deal with such people, do so politely and for the benefit of whatever goal you’re both working towards, but avoid getting emotionally involved.

Surround yourself instead with positive, happy people.

5. Say “yes” more often

Saying “no” is easy. If something comes up that looks too scary, difficult or way outside of your comfort zone, avoid immediately dismissing your capabilities; you’re absolutely capable of doing it.

Try and say “yes” as often as possible (within reason, obviously – there’s no point putting yourself in unnecessary danger!).

Why? Because once you’ve said yes, you’ll find out that you can do the thing you had feared. And that will inspire positivity in your outlook on life.

6. Take responsibility – don’t feel like a ‘victim’

The coward’s way out of positive thinking is to assume that you’re the victim. It’s always someone else’s fault that you feel this way, so why should you do anything about it?

You can always do something about the way you feel. You’re responsible for your own actions, thoughts and desires, so tune them all to be positive in nature.

You’re not the victim – you’re the master of your own happiness.

7. Dump the junk in your brain

Our brains are full of stuff that simply doesn’t need to be there. And that wouldn’t be a problem if it was stored away in a cupboard somewhere, but such thoughts, half-finished projects and regrets are rather more prominent than that.

If you constantly struggle to get to sleep at night, or find yourself procrastinating throughout the working day due to lingering thoughts of what might have been, it’s time to dump the junk out of your brain.

List all of the things that are bothering you, along with the regrets you have. Make note of the stuff you can fix and, after a read and acceptance of the regrets, tear up the piece of paper and throw it in the bin. The process of doing so should help banish those thoughts permanently from your brain, leaving more room for the positive stuff.

8. Write

Try writing. You don’t need to have any literary skill – providing you can get words down either on paper or within a word processor, you’ve got all the skills you need to express yourself in any way you see fit.

Write about anything – your life, daily experiences or wishes. Journaling is a solitary affair, but for good reason – the words you write are only ever likely to be seen by you and the process of getting them out of your brain is incredibly cathartic. It fosters a healthy, positive mindset.

9. Replace “can” with “will”

The word “can” is rather weak. Replace “I can do that” with “I will do that” and your mindset will change, instantly.

Use strong words throughout your daily life. You’re capable of anything – remember that.

10. List everything you’re grateful for – now

Time for some homework. Once you’ve finished reading this post, grab a piece of paper or your trusty digital writing device and list everything for which you’re grateful.

Fill the page; you’ll be surprised by just how much stuff you’re thankful for.

Life is incredibly hectic, which is why it pays to occasionally sit down and remind oneself of why it’s worth getting up in the morning. Even if you feel at your lowest ebb, there will be numerous things for which you feel deeply grateful. A positive mindset will help draw them out just when you need them, therefore the list you’re about to write will one day be replaced by instantaneous, positive thought whenever the chips are down.

Final thoughts

We’re under no illusion – it’s impossible to be positive all of the time. In fact, the occasional negative thought isn’t always a bad thing, because it helps to unload one’s frustrations once in a while. However, keep such thoughts to a minimum and invest in the tips above, and you’ll develop a healthy mindset that leaves you happier and more productive than ever.