#11 How to shift to a positive mindset and increase your happiness

The 360 Leadhership Podcast, Episode 11, 09 March 2022 by Lucy Gernon

When you’re thinking negatively it’s no fun. You are coming from a place of scarcity and lack. Everything is wrong and these negative feelings manifest in your body e.g. stomach pains, muscle tightness, butterflies, headaches etc. You get sucked into a vortex of negative thinking and can’t see the wood from the trees. You might not be sleeping as you’re overthinking, worrying about work problems or what you said in that meeting.

Your body is your best tool… it will tell you when you are not in alignment with your flow. If you are feeling physical symptoms in your body, it’s a sign something needs to change. But it’s easier said than done. You can experience positive shifts when you are open to learning how to do it.

You can become more positive and motivated.

What does it mean to have a positive mindset? 

Firstly, it does not mean that you live in a dreamland where everything is perfect all the time. Life is supposed to be hard, it’s not supposed to be easy. We are all here on this journey to learn lessons, to give, to love and to experience the joy of life.

To think positively is to veer to the side of hope and optimism instead of hopelessness and pessimism. 

Thinking positively raises your vibration and attracts more positive things. This is a basic scientific law called the law of vibration. You’ve heard lots about the law of attraction, the law of attraction is the pre-cursor to the law of vibration.

It’s crucial if you want to change your life, that you change the way you think. 

When problems occur, whether they are at work or at home you have 2 ways of looking at them.

  1. This is crap, I can’t believe this is happening to me. I don’t want it to be this way. This is so hard.

    How do you feel when you are like this? If you can’t change the situation you‘ve got to change how you think about it if you want to stay sane.

  2. Look for the opportunity or learning in every apparent failure or negative circumstance. I love what Tony Robbins says “ Life is happening for you, not to you”. When this clicks with you, the game changes.

E.g. when your team member calls in sick and you don’t have enough resources, look for the opportunities that are all around you to streamline your business processes and make things leaner. See this as a game. Make it fun.  Look at it as an opportunity for your other team members who want experience in this area to step up and grow.

My sister and I had a chat about positive thinking and she was like there’s no way you can turn every situation into a positive. There is!

For example, when my father-in-law passed away, although I was sad and devasted and gave myself the time to grieve, I also saw that I had a second chance to spend more time with the rest of my family.

It made me realise how short life really is and had that not happened, I may not have seen that. It made me quit my career to follow my passion.

So do you see, in every single situation, there is a gift or opportunity. 

If you’re not getting what you’re asking for right now, it’s because it’s not your time. If you find yourself in the same situations over and over again, its because you haven’t learned the lesson yet. Life will keep throwing you the same problem over and over again until you learn what you’re supposed to.

So if you see apparently negative situations as an opportunity to grow and learn, they don’t seem so scary. I’m not saying block the negative emotions, you need to express them. But then dust yourself off, and flip to a mindset of positivity. Who suffers when you don’t?

Time for change

I didn’t always think this way. I was in victim mode a lot of the time. If something went wrong, I dwelled on it and blamed myself. I thought everything was my fault. I got stressed when things weren’t going according to my perfect plan. I  was looking at what went wrong rather than right e.g. Pharma deviation, world-ending… what is the gift or opportunity in this event?

How can I use this event to improve our processes? Why are there problems? It’s my job to solve problems.

Another example is when I started my business I found it hard to get clients. I was putting out content on Instagram and getting nothing back.  It made me slow down and look at my messaging and my target audience. Look at the problem I was solving. And that’s when I decided to really focus on women in leadership.

I took the time to hone in on my messaging and create more resources to make my program Powerhouse Revolution even more valuable for my clients. I believe I didn’t get the clients at the time I wanted them as I wasn’t ready for them. I didn’t have SOPs for my business, I didn’t have systems to support the growth that came.

And as soon as I hired a VA, got my systems, improved my service, everything changed.  My program Powerhouse Revolution was good, but now it’s bloody great! It’s packed full of resources, tools and training videos that may not ever have been created had I been so busy with clients. And because of this, I’m serving a higher purpose in the world and delivering more value.

There are many scientific studies that support the benefits of a positive mindset. Take this article for example, 3 Scientific Studies That Prove the Power of Positive Thinking.

  1. People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.

  2. A University of Kansas study found that smiling—even fake smiling—reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations. This is not going to cure you if you have chronic stress or a major life event,” Dr. Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the study, said. “But, it’s almost impossible to be really angry or really stressed with this big smile on your face…. You can’t help but reduce that negative effect.”

  3. Another studyfrom Harvard found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death — including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection — over an eight-year period, compared with women who were less optimistic.

How can you change your thinking?

5 tips to shift to a more positive and happy life

1. Let it be easy. Life doesn’t have to be as hard as you are making it. Sure, you have deadlines, responsibilities, financial worries, work pressure. Your team are coming to you with their problems. You are under savage pressure to deliver and its all go go go, pressure pressure pressure.

But here’s some tough love: subconsciously maybe you like it to be hard. Maybe your whole life has been hard and your way of dealing with that was by work work work. Maybe this way of living is all you’ve ever known. Have you ever thought that there is another way?

You can let that way of living go when you are ready. Open your mind to the fact that there is another way. The world is not going to end just because the metric is red. Don’t let anyone make you feel you are not enough just because you chose happiness. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for wanting to switch off from work to live your life. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. Don’t give them that consent.

2. Reframing: Instead of saying “I have to do this” change to “I get to do this”. For example, I can’t believe I have to start recruiting again. Reframe to “ Isn’t it great I get to connect with new people and give others an opportunity that will change their life”.

3. Gratitude: Every morning when you wake up, think of 3 things you are grateful for. It might be the bed you are in, something that happened, the dream you had. Just pick 3 things and allow yourself to feel into those positive feelings. By regularly practising gratitude, you will train your mind to look for the positives.

4. Look for a gift or opportunity in every failure: Instead of seeing all the problems, look for the solutions. Make it fun! Work doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. The events of the day will occur regardless, so you may as well navigate the day in a positive mindset rather than the profit of doom! Now you may think, I don’t know our industry. Let me just say.

I worked in sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing in the quality department for 12 years. The site was 24/7 and there were problems all the time. The pace was fast, there were new issues every single day. I used to allow them to stress me, but in my latter years, I flipped my mindset. I tried to encourage my team to do the same. I started every morning meeting with.

5. Celebrate success daily. Take the time every day to celebrate your wins and good things. Even the small things. Smile more, even fake smile and you can trick your body into believing you are happy! When you change your physical state, you change your biochemistry.