If you're like me, you're always looking for that positive edge to cope with a packed schedule, uncertain times, and whatever unsuspected curveballs that life throws your way.
I found five personal strategies that have worked for me and I know they'll make a difference in you. Also, I'd love to learn from the wisdom of my readers. What would you add to this list?
1. Remove yourself from gossip.
As I've written in the past, gossip is one of the most toxic things that can happen to destroy workplace morale. If you really want to stop being around gossip, turn down lunch invitations from toxic peers, and walk away from parking lot conversations that go south. Then seek work relationships with positive people. They are the co-workers who are thinking ahead about how to improve a bad situation, taking accountability for their actions, and moving toward contributing to solutions to organizational problems.
2. Choose to live in a state of mindfulness.
Positive people make the daily choice of surrendering their thoughts and feelings to the moment. By being mindful and focusing your awareness in the here and now, by calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings and thoughts, you attain great peace and free yourself from worry. The great thing about mindfulness is that it blocks distractions that try to derail you from your dreams and goals.
3. Consciously choose to replace your negative emotions.
Brain research by Dr. Wataru Sato of Kyoto University reveals that when you choose positive behaviors (like meditation or forgiveness), you hold the key to rewiring a region of the brain called the precuneus. Basically, by simply changing your daily habits, you'll be able to control your sense of well-being, purpose, and happiness. So if you're caught in a vicious circle of nasty emotions like doubt, fear, and uncertainty, replace those emotions by consciously and intentionally choosing happiness, joy, and hope. Use the tools of meditation, prayer, journaling, and mindfulness to aid you in the process.
Even if you hate exercise, research has found that even a short burst of fun cardio activity (think hula hoops, working in the garden, dancing, or a brisk walk with the dog) works wonders, especially in the morning (15 minutes is all it takes). This is because exercise releases endorphins, serotonin, and other happy chemicals in your brain. According to renowned psychologist Shawn Achor, the reason why exercise is so key to your morning routine is that it literally trains your brain to believe "my behavior matters," which then carries (positively) into other activities throughout the day. And for procrastinators, exercising when you least feel like it is when it does the most good.
5. Focus on what matters most.
Let me ask you: What's most important to you? Think about it for a minute. You'll probably narrow the answer down to people and relationships. Whatever it is for you, focus all your energy on those things. Take billionaire Warren Buffett, for example. With all the demands on him every day, Buffett learned a long time ago that the greatest commodity of all is time. He simply mastered the art and practice of setting boundaries for himself. The mega-mogul once said, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."