It is human nature for us to think the worst in challenging situations. The thought of 'staying positive' can sometimes seem unrealistic as our mind is hard-wired to focus on threats in moments of struggle. This concept of threat- the likelihood that things are going to end poorly- is a cyclical feeling but why do we allow our brain to automatically focus on negativity rather than positivity?
The fact of the matter is that the real world today is unpredictable and you can bet your bottom dollar that it will throw you a curveball or two, just to keep things interesting. We've all had those days where we think there is no hope, whether it is stress at work, drama with friends or a family crisis, but the ability to master the art of positivity and shifting your negative views can add real value to your health, life and work.
Positivity sounds simple, however it is a daily challenge where you must be motivated to intentionally stay positive in order to overcome our brain's annoying habit to focus on negativity. I've never come across a person who has not benefited from an optimistic attitude, especially in the workplace. Optimistic people tend to be healthier and higher performers but don't be fooled, they are by no means perfect. They too face the same hardships, but the difference is they choose to adopt a glass-half-full approach which leads to a competitive edge and benefits in the workplace.
Here are four ways where you can benefit from being positive in the workplace;
1. Â Â You effectively solve problems
Positive people have the ability to evaluate problems holistically and develop a rational solution, whereas pessimistic people narrow their ability to view a problem from a variety of different points and usually feel that there is only one option. Studies show that having a positive mindset can broaden your thinking and open your eyes to opportunity. Therefore by maintaining a positive attitude, you can clearly see choices and different outcomes instead of limitations.
2. Â You are more likely to perform well under pressure
Positive people have a can-do and no limits mindset where they have a drive to persevere and come out on top. When you have a negative mindset in high-pressure situations, our brain switches to defence mode which causes our blood pressure and anxiety to rise. This makes it more difficult to perform at our best. By mentally changing to a positive outlook, you feel challenged by the pressure of an important project or task and build confidence in your ability to rise to the occasion (and you usually kick goals at the same time).
3. Â Â You get results and are more productive
When you're optimistic, you believe the sky's the limit and any goal is achievable. Healthy and well-rested employees are more productive and their overall attitude is heightened. A study that measured the performance of optimistic and pessimistic salespeople found that optimistic salespeople sold 37% more than pessimists, who were twice as likely to leave their company during the first year of employment. So make sure you adopt healthy habits, both mentally and physically, as it can play a massive impact to your performance and ability to achieve results.
4. Â Â You're likeable
It sounds so simple, but people who are positive are more likeable in the workplace by colleagues, managers and customers. Likeable people usually perform better in performance reviews and are regarded highly within the business. Negative people are often disliked or shunned as they have an unfavourable mindset that others do not want to be around- except other negative people. No-one likes a Debbie Downer hanging around!
Fact: You spend more time with colleagues at work than you do with your family and friends at home, so it's important to embrace a good attitude and portray a friendly demeanour to build genuine relationships and create a happier work environment.
There is no one or right way to stay positive, but it starts with a good attitude and the realisation that it is okay to have a bad day or two, no-one's a superhero. By separating the fact from fiction, focusing on a positive moment or thought and taking a moment of gratitude, you will be able to conquer negative thoughts and maintain a positive mindset. Break the old habits and re-train your brain to be more positive and you too can reap the associated benefits now!