Harness the Power of Positive Thinking at Work

Published Friday, November 12, 2010 4:15 PM

Want to succeed at work? Start by seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. That's right, a positive outlook fuels success and enhances performance in all areas of life including work. Studies show that when we feel positive, we act productively, energetically and creatively. Too often people believe that once they become successful, they'll be happy, failing to understand they have it backwards: happiness, and its attendant energy and vitality, helps fuel success.

Have trouble seeing the silver lining in the clouds? You can train yourself to think positively and by doing so, gain a competetive edge at work. Longtime Harvard lecturer and author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Archor, suggests four simple exercises to boost both your immediate level of happiness and rewire your brain's neural networks to make one happier, more optimistic and more resilient over the long term. That's powerful thinking!

Train Your Brain to Think Positive

1) Express Gratitude

Before you go to bed each night, write down three things for which you are grateful. The more specific, the better. For instance, if you are grateful for your spouse, write down something specific they did that day that made you smile. Research shows that people, who take time to focus on gratitude experience more positive emotions, feel less stress and have better health than their counterparts

2) Be the Best You

Focus on what makes you special. What are your strengths? Are you a great listener, a storyteller, a creative thinker, a doer, a mover and a shaker? Try to use your particular strength(s) in a new and different way every day for a week. Take a boring task and approach it in a new way, using your core strength. Doing what we do well and doing it even better boosts confidence. Studies show that employees who maximize their top strengths at work every day report greater job satisfaction and productivity levels.

3) Try Journaling

Buy a beautiful notebook and take 20 minutes a few times a week to write about a recent positive experience. Try to be as specific as you can about the experience and why it made you happy. Taking the time to focus on positive experiences enhances energy and efficiency; qualities that will help you shine at work.

4) Meditation

Take 5 to 20 minutes at your desk or on your commute to breathe deep. Clear your mind and focus on the in-and-out of your breath. People who meditate on a regular basis experience less stress, enjoy more energy, and bounce back from illness faster. They also report higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression.

Training your brain to think more positively, and in turn, acting more positively, can produce a wonderful ripple effect in the sphere in which you work and operate. Just watch, positive thinking can be contagious. Spread it through your office culture and watch productivity and efficiency soar.

by Candie Harris


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