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Turn to the Bright Side: 10 Ways to Encourage Post-Incident Positive Thinking

Turn to the Bright Side: 10 Ways to Encourage Post-Incident Positive Thinking

Face it, “Negative Ned and Nancy,” you’ve been bitten by the negativity bug and you’re infected. Maybe an incident at work has knocked you down or things have been brewing for a while. No matter the circumstance, your negative thoughts have taken a turn for the worse and now it’s developed into a habit that you just can’t break.

Don’t worry, the cure is out there! Like negative thoughts, a positive outlook can be just as contagious, but contains even more power when it comes to channeling your happiness. Start harnessing your positivity today by following 10 easy ways to kick the negativity bug.

1. Start Your Day on the Right Foot

Literally, begin by waking up on the ‘right’ side of the bed. You can leave a note on your bedside with encouraging words that say, “You will do great things today.” Also, customize your wake-up alarm to an uplifting or upbeat song. This will instantly change your attitude about waking up. Then, make sure you eat a good breakfast to jump-start your metabolism and give you energy to face the day.

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2. Whistle While You Work

Snow White and her seven dwarfs had something right when they whistled while they worked. Humming and singing a happy tune can help you expel negative energy and calm your nerves and anxiety. Think of this as a small escape from what’s bothering you, and travel to your ‘happy place.’ Releasing your negative energy through humming can reinforce positive thinking.

3. Smile More, Whine Less

The common cliché about it taking fewer muscles to smile than frown is not necessarily true; however, smiling is more effortless. A simple grin can break your cycle of negativity. So, whining may get you instant gratification, but that can be short-lived. Consider changing your outlook for the better and try to see the silver lining in things.

4. Keep Things in Line with Checks and Balances

Stop becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy and think positive. Continue to build your own self-talk by exercising what you think and say about yourself. Instead of saying, “I can’t do anything right,” try, “I will do the best that I can in this moment.” A little positive spin or words of empowerment can build your confidence and help you face your challenges.

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5. Catch the Positivity Bug

Let loose and laugh by surrounding yourself with positive people. Venting is okay in some respects, but too much complaining and gossip will leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied. Break the pattern and find optimistic people to seek advice or to get your mind off things for a while.

6. Exercise Philanthropy

Ebenezer Scrooge found one of his greatest rewards in giving on Christmas Day in A Christmas Carol. In giving to others, you’ll find intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that will leave you with a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Know the impact of helping others and make a difference in someone’s life. You can demonstrate a small act of kindness, like making copies for a co-worker, or pay it forward and buy someone’s lunch. Great or small, kindness counts.

7. Know Your Assets

Putting your thoughts on paper can be great medicine for fighting your negativity. Write down things in your life that are going well or make a list of your strengths. Showing yourself all the positives will put you in a lighter mood.

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8. Inspire Action

Simply stated, set goals for you to think about your life and happiness. Start small with something you can achieve in a day and smile when you accomplish your goal. Then, make larger goals to continually strive to achieve. Keep yourself focused on bettering your life.

9. Rekindle Your Passion

Work is not just about monetary gain. Often times it is a calling, a passion that drives us to work and help others. Remind yourself why you are working and how you can positively impact others. Channel your passion and find something about your job that you love. This will help you boost your self-confidence in your abilities.

10. Above All, Love Yourself

When you are under pressure and life is stressful, always take care of yourself and be responsible for your own personal happiness and well-being. Consider your basic needs, such as healthy eating and sleep. Be kind to yourself and practice daily self-care routines to keep positive and productive.

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No matter what tough situation you face, don’t forget to practice these techniques to induce positive thinking. Remember to love yourself and all that you have going for you. You’ll break the habit of negative thinking and feel more refreshed and confident, ready to face whatever challenges may arise next.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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