With only a few days left in the year, our thoughts turn to what can we can do differently in the next year to improve. However irritating you may find the phrase ‘attitude is everything’, it is SO important to remember if you’re determined to cultivate more positive emotions and experiences in your life.
The way we perceive a situation or set of challenges, whether at work or at home, is ultimately the way things will manifest for us in our realities. That being said, gratitude helps us focus on the positive elements, forcing our minds out of the negative spirals of questioning and uncertainty that might accompany challenge. It allows us to focus on the positive – the opportunity for growth; the experience to try new things; the capability we’ve shown to reach this point – all of these are relevant reasons to show gratitude in the face of adverse challenge.
As Shawn Anchor discusses in his hilarious TED talk, the more we practice this mental shift from problem-finder to grateful experiencer, the easier it becomes. This is linked to the neurological processes which occur in the brain when a new idea or practice is formed. The neurotransmitters are redirected from their habitual path and are helped along a new path (the path of gratitude). The more we do this, the more familiar they become with the new path, and the easier it becomes to instinctually go that way, instead of returning down the damaging paths practiced before.
In terms of productivity, this ability to re-pattern our thought processes is so important to concentration and productivity levels as it allows us to ensure we are in the right frame of mind in which to carry out tasks. This is also linked to emotional intelligence – as to redirect the thoughts and emotions, we must first be aware of them and acknowledge their impact on our work. It’s only then that positive changes can be implemented and carried out!
I really do encourage you to watch the TED talk linked above. Shawn Anchor, a Harvard graduate who now manages Feel Good Inc., often speaks publicly on positive psychology and shares his thoughts about rewiring our brains. Let me know what you think!