Positive Thinking -The Way to Resilience 

If you thought positive thinking was all about reading motivational quotes and ignoring the negative, think again. Positive thinking is the way to resilience. If you want to learn to think more positively and feel hopeful about the future, you need to hear this! 

Hello and welcome to my podcast. I’m Nicola from The People Mentor and in this podcast, I want to talk about how positive thinking can make you more resilient. 

If you rolled your eyes when I said ‘positive thinking,’ this might be because on social media and other channels, thinking positively is often reduced to a ‘motivational’ quote that seems to suggest that it’s wrong to think in any other way, and if you do have negative thoughts, there’s something wrong with you. 

Real positive thinking is not about denying that there’s a problem or that we are experiencing adversity, but it’s about being able to approach the problem positively and ask yourself ‘what can I learn from this situation?’ 

This is what makes people who think more positively more resilient. They don’t come up against a problem or hardship and immediately think that the sky is falling in. They see setbacks or failures as being changeable and temporary. This is a far more empowering way to think, and you’ll feel so much more able to deal with challenges that come your way, not to mention less stressed. 

Though negative emotions and thinking does have its purpose. You’ve probably heard that the human brain has a ‘negativity bias.’ This has evolved to protect us from danger or harm. We are designed to feel fear when we are faced with a threat and that’s essential for our survival; depending on what the threat is. 

The problem with negative thinking and emotions is that our thinking is narrowed to deal only with the threat- you can imagine in a work situation how this ‘tunnel vision’ could shut down the ability to think clearly, make good decisions, and be creative.  

The good news is that it’s possible to train your brain to think more positively-and no, this doesn’t mean you need to sit and read motivational quotes all day!

Thinking more positively is a matter of intentionally working on changing some of your thoughts and beliefs, and while you won’t become more positive overnight, you’ll see the benefits over time, especially during times of adversity. 

Research has shown that positive thinking can actually rewire the brain and prime it to see the world in a more positive light. 

Not only that, there are some very tangible benefits to embracing positive thinking. 

During periods of change or when things feel very uncertain, thinking positively can make you feel less helpless and motivate you to take positive action. 

It can also motivate you to make changes for the better because you believe that difficult situations are temporary and you do have some control over how things might pan out. 

You’ll also find that your relationships with others are better and more supportive if you’re an optimist. It can be very draining to be around negative energy for long periods of time, and if you happen to be the person in charge when there’s a crisis, people will be looking to you for guidance and hope. They don’t want to see you falling apart. 

And don’t forget about the impact that your emotional state can have on your wellbeing and resilience. Studies have shown that pessimistic people tend to suffer from more health problems, get ill more often, and have weaker immune systems than optimists.

But as I mentioned, don’t worry if you put yourself in the negative camp at the moment; it is possible to train yourself to be more optimistic and resilient intentionally. 

Start by challenging your negative thoughts. Often, negativity can become such an engrained habit you don’t even notice you’re being negative, so noticing your negative thoughts and being able to challenge them is a huge first step!

Challenge your negative thoughts by:

Finding evidence against them. Often, negative thoughts are driven by negative emotions and reactions that aren’t based in reality. The next time you find yourself thinking negatively and ruminating, take a step back and ask yourself ‘is this true and is it useful to think in this way?’

Then, you can think about what is actually true and start brainstorming constructive ways to address your problem. 

Thinking more positively is about taking small steps every day to reframe the way you think and view situations. The way you look at a situation and the language you use when you talk about it can have a huge effect on how well you cope with it (or not). 

Instead of thinking ‘I just can’t cope with this’ when you’re facing a difficult situation, tell yourself ‘this is a really tough situation but I’ve dealt with tough situations before. I’ll be okay.’ 

You can’t eliminate difficulties from life, but you can change how you perceive and react to them. You can be positive and look at what you can control, and take steps to improve the situation and reduce your stress. 

It also really helps to think about what’s going well. It can be hard to lose sight of this when everything seems like doom and gloom. How things are right now is a perfect example. 

With the gloomy news headlines, arguments on social media, and the general pessimism about the future that seems to be very pervasive, it’s easy to forget what we have to be grateful for. So spend a few minutes each day thinking about the good things in your life and what’s going well; it can turn what seems like the worst day into something that feels much brighter. 

And finally, don’t forget to take the time to do something that brings you a little bit of joy each day. This helps build positivity and resilience. Whether it’s a 10-minute walk in the sun or a chat on the phone with a friend, it all brings a little bit of light to life, no matter how dark it seems. 

Thinking positively is not about ignoring the bad things, it means believing that you can deal with anything that comes your way and that there’s a lesson to be learned, even if something doesn’t work out in the way that you had hoped. 

Difficulties and failures are not fatal, and it’s always possible to be hopeful that the future will be brighter. 

Are you feeling hopeful about the future?    

2020 and beyond has brought change, uncertainty, and upheaval on a scale we’ve never seen before, and it’s been a real test of our resilience. 

Now is a time for reflecting on where we are now, where we want to be, and what we can take with us on the next stage of our journey. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast and you got some good tips on how to think more positively and become more resilient.  See you next time! 

This is The People Mentor signing off.

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