“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
– Alvin Toffler

A Positive Mindset Strengthens Your Work and Your Health

When you embrace a positive mindset, you are embracing good health and strong work performance. Positive thinking helps both while negative thinking that can be impractical and harmful to our everyday lives. We’ll detail why and how to be positive even on the most difficult of days.

Positivity is good for work

Positive thinking can boost your performance. Everyone makes mistakes, but when one focuses on those mistakes, and attributes them to personal shortcomings or factors beyond their control, they can hinder their performance. One study conducted by the Mayo Clinic shows that the more positive salespeople sold 37% more policies than those who were more negative. Negative thinking can be a drain on mental energy.

Positive thinking, on the other hand, can keep energy and creativity high. An emphasis on the good feelings and unending potential positivity can yield helps with problem solving and decision making. Positivity can be interpreted as internal encouragement. One’s one positive reinforcement, and the good emotions that come with it, can be the foundation of inspiration upon which we build our skills. University of North Carolina researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, referred to this as the “broaden and build theory.”

Those who think positively and perform better are more likely to remain in their positions longer. Martin Seligman of the Mayo Clinic, in reference to the salespeople study, stated that pessimists were more likely to leave the company within the first year.

Positivity is good for your health

While being positive and productive on the job is important, it’s just as important to be positive in your everyday life as it can have a major effect on your health, both mental and physical. Physically, pessimists were more prone to common illnesses such as the cold. According to researchers at Yale and the University of Colorado, higher rates of stress can hinder the body’s immune response. The Mayo Clinic lists health benefits to positive thinking, some of which include: Increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, better coping skills, among others.

How to focus on the good when you can only see the bad

It would be disingenuous to tell someone to “just be positive!” as it is easier said than done. Sure, some people can have a natural inclination towards positivity, but the brain processes positive and negative things very differently, and negative information is processed with much more detail. Bad feelings and memories have a stronger impact and more lasting impression that positive ones do. Fortunately, there are ways to make a conscious effort to embrace positivity and accept negativity in a healthier way.

One way is to identify negativity as such. If you find yourself in a train of negative thought conducted by your inner voice, stop what you are doing and isolate that negativity. Make list of what you are thinking and read them carefully. Are the roots of these negative thoughts grounded in fact or fiction? More often than not, those negative thoughts are exaggerated interpretations of events. Getting into the habit of identifying them as such can help mitigate negativity clouding your entire state of mind.

While you are isolating the negativity, take time to focus on good things about your day or week. We know how insidious the smallest negative thought can be, so combatting that with good thoughts, exciting future plans, and memories that yield positive emotions can do a lot. Overwhelming negativity can be difficult to shake, so small moments of positivity can be strong anchors.

Maintaining an ongoing stream of positive self-talk, take it easy on yourself, and surround yourself with positive people. These determined moves toward positivity will plant the seed for a positive environment. Positive environments are a powerful weapon for the inevitable bad day or embarrassing mishap. Knowing that the brain muses over negative memories and emotions more than positive ones lets you know that positivity will require more effort, but the benefits of doing so are significant.