Positive thinking pays off
We’ve long been champions of the power of positive thinking and it’s scientifically proven. The sense that one is living a worthwhile and meaningful life is fundamental to human flourishing and subjective wellbeing. The more meaningful you believe your life to be, the faster you will walk, the stronger your grip will be and the less chronic pain you will suffer, says a study by professor Andrew Steptoe of University College, London.
The health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
When Harvard researchers studied 70,000 women over an eight-year period, the most optimistic quartile had an almost 30% lower risk of dying from several major causes of death compared with women in the least optimistic quartile.
10Eighty’s top tip for positive thinking: look for the positives in your situation. Make a practice of looking for good things and expecting good things to happen; it will have significant impact on how you approach life – difficult decisions become learning opportunities as you find some good in every situation. The key is to try to relish the opportunity instead of fearing the challenge!
Positive and productive
Positive thinking doesn't mean that you bury your head in the sand and ignore challenges or difficult situations. Positive thinking is about approaching life in a more positive and productive way as positive thinkers have more energy. Whether you see things positively or negatively, a personality trait called "dispositional affect", scientists have concluded that those of a positive dispositional affect have more energy and enthusiasm than those who have more negative affectivity.
I pays to encourage and coach staff to adopt a positive approach to work and problem-solving. Think about how you think, chart your thought processes, and ask yourself an important question: is the way I’m thinking beneficial or likely to bring about a positive outcome? Henry Ford said that: "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right".
Choosing a positive approach is a lifestyle choice you make, and if you’re happy then that will make you successful, at work and in life. Happiness drives success and performance. Happy people are more positive, more engaged, creative, resilient to stress and productive. Also, happy people tend to feel more confident and optimistic.
Making it work
Shawn Achor in his bestseller The Happiness Advantage provides this tip: Create a two minute daily habit of thinking of three new things you are grateful for each day; share these thoughts with your partner or a journal. You can raise your happiness level by connecting with those around you and by finding meaning at work and these are also things that lead to improved employee engagement.
For organisations, we know that investing in employee well-being can lead to increased resilience, greater innovation and higher productivity, simples – it makes good business sense!
Make a practice of looking for good things and expecting good things to happen; it will have significant impact on how you approach life