How To Stay Positive In Negative Times

 

As I write, we're in a second Covid-19 induced lock-down and many people I've been working with and speaking to are reporting some challenges staying positive.  

I'll be honest, I've experienced it too from time to time, and I think most of us do at some time in our life. As an upshot of those conversations I thought it would be useful to share some things that will help you shift your mood.

These work on the basis of several of the key mindsets and attitudes for career success:

  • That we look at our emotions as data that tell us if things are to our liking or not.
  • That we have a choice either to stay with that feeling or change it: We notice what we are getting and if is not to our liking we do something different.
  • That you are in charge of your mind and therefore our choice of action and    reaction in any situation.

The summary is that you have a choice: either stick with it, or do something about it.

Many people end up taking the first option of putting up, because they think it's just the way things are, or they know they want to change but don't know where to start.

Sometimes the first step is to do something to start feeling less stressed and more positive about the situation.

Here are five simple practical strategies to help you shift your mood if you find yourself stressed or feeling down about things. 

1. Get In The Moment

When you get right in the present moment, you feel calm, even happy.

  • Sit or stand still and focus only on what you can sense right now.
  • Notice what you can feel: for example, clothes against your skin, a breeze on your face, feet in your shoes.
  • Notice what you can hear: perhaps the sound of that breeze, the air conditioning whirring, a distant bird.
  • Notice what you can see: an object on your desk, a distant tree, someone walking by.

Notice the detail. Pay attention to it. You could pick all three senses, or just focus on one. Even doing this for 20 seconds can calm you down and start to shift your mood.

2. Take A Different Perspective In Time

Imagine its 20 years in the future and everything is really good in your life. 

As you look back at this time, how significant was this thing really? Will you even remember it? What advice would you send back to yourself in the here and now?

3. Take A Walk (New Physical Perspective)

Think about your physiology when you are feeling stressed. 

You'll often see people in this state hunched over their desk, maybe head in hands. 

But stand up straight, take a walk, and the physical distance and new posture gives you a different perspective, sometimes even a solution to the thing you're thinking about. If you can get outside, all the better, but even a walk around the building will help.

You don't even have to leave your desk if you don't want to, even just changing your physiology can help change your mood. Check out Amy Cuddy's TED talk which shows you how you can use body posture to feel more confident.

 

4. Meet Someone Else

Arrange to meet up with a friend for a walk or a coffee.

Pick someone who you can tell about what you're feeling.

There are a lot of seemingly throw-away sayings that actually have basis in truth. One is "a problem shared is a problem halved".

Just talking through something out loud can help you take a different view, sometimes even come up with a solution.

5. Do A Mini Meditation

The easiest way to start is to focus on your breath.

Find somewhere quiet where you won't be disturbed.

5 or 10 minutes will do at the start. Sit comfortably, close your eyes if you wish.

Start to notice the feeling of the air entering and leaving your body as you breathe.

Pay attention to the feeling of it passing through your mouth or nose and follow it down into your lungs.

Notice the feeling of your chest or stomach rising and falling. 

If thoughts pop into your mind and you notice your attention drifting, just acknowledge the thought positively, send it on its way, and bring your attention gently back to your breath. 

Many people find that making time to do this first thing in the morning helps them set their day off to a positive start and with a calmness that lasts through the day.

Once you are practiced, you'll find that you can do a mini meditation anywhere for as little as 10 seconds and experience the benefit - as long as it safe of course - you wouldn't do it while you're driving, but you might whilst you're waiting at a red light (don't worry about getting carried away, there will always be someone behind you to remind you when the lights go green. Toot Toot!). 

Have a play with the different strategies and find the ones that work best for you, or use your own if you have other things that work.

Just remember to use them. 

You may find that particular strategies work well for you in different situations. 

Wishing you happiness and success in your work. 

Dave

P.S. The Career Base Camp membership site has loads more on this and everything else you need to go to work with a smile on your face. Click here to find out more.

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