Friday, 29 April 2022

Practising the Three Principles of Positivity at work

There may be times when you struggle to focus your attention on the positive aspects of your life, especially when everything around you appears to be falling apart. And it can be even more frustrating when other people are telling you to think positively but you just can’t look on the bright side. The good news is, there are certain principles that you can put into practice that will, over time, help you to maintain a positive outlook.

The human brain is extremely complex and pretty amazing at managing our moods. Known as the 'happy hormones', endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin can all help us to feel good, and by practising the Three Principles of Positivity, we can improve our mood and mental wellbeing. Research available in the National Library of Medicine suggests that cortisol, oxytocin and adrenaline have a fundamental role in happiness and mood regulation.

What are the Three Principles of Positivity?

1. Positive thought

Each of our thoughts generates activity in our brain, and this can also impact our physical state and response. For example, if you are worrying about a situation, you might start to feel the effects of anxiety in your body with symptoms such as butterflies in the stomach, a racing heart, shakiness or nausea. These symptoms are created as the negative thoughts in your brain tell your body how to react. Similarly, if we consciously change our thoughts to something more positive, our brain releases serotonin and we will feel happier and more confident.

It can take time and practise to train your brain but once you start to master the art of positive thought, you will begin to notice your change in mood.

Ways to practise positive thinking at work:
  • Make a list of all the positive tasks you have achieved each day.
  • Remind yourself of your value at work and how you contribute to the company.
  • When you don’t achieve your goals at work, make a note of everything that you learned from your experience and embrace the lessons so you can improve next time.

2. Positive action

Just as positive thinking can produce happy hormones in the brain, so can taking positive action. By doing things that get positive results, our body produces dopamine which can make us feel good and increase our levels of motivation.

Ways to practice positive action at work:
  • Listen to music that makes you feel good, especially when you’re undertaking a challenging task as this can motivate you and help you achieve your goals. 
  • Go for a walk outside during breaks as this will release serotonin and endorphins to make you feel good.
  • Ensure you have good sleeping patterns by going to bed and waking at similar times each day. By receiving the correct amount of sleep, you’re enabling your brain to recuperate and your serotonin levels to regulate. 

3. Positive interaction

Our relationships with people both inside and outside of work are really important to our mental wellbeing. In order to feel self-confident and mentally strong enough to cope with stressful situations, we need a good support network around us. Positive interaction can also prevent us from feeling loneliness, which can have a negative effect on our mental health.

Ways to practice positive interaction at work:
  • Take part in work-related social activities to strengthen relationships with colleagues.
  • Being kind to people and helping others will release oxytocin and serotonin and make you feel good, as well as making others feel happy too.
  • If you work from home or don’t spend much time around your work colleagues, try to stay connected by email, social media, or telephone. As humans, we often crave interaction and by positively interacting with our work colleagues, we produce oxytocin which helps us cope with stressful situations.

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