Sponsor banner

5 ways to stay positive in a sometimes negative world

10 Ways to Treat Yourself

It might seem difficult to find a silver lining among the dark clouds gathered by the coronavirus pandemic, but there are ways to clear the skies.

“In nurses, a negative tendency may be intensified because we’re trained to look for the negative: crackles in a patient’s lungs, ST elevation on an electrocardiogram, an elevated potassium level, a high white blood cell count,” My American Nurse once wrote.

There is evidence, however, that positive psychology techniques can boost your resilience and help you handle difficult situations more easily and “bounce back more rapidly after traumatic or unpleasant events.”

Here are five ways to become more positive:

Document three good things

If you try, you can find something good about each day. Studies have shown that writing down three good things a day for 21 days can increase a sense of gratitude within.

“To adapt this practice to a clinical environment and a focus on teamwork, we developed a ‘three good things’ sheet that gets passed around at the end of the shift,” My American Nurse wrote. “Every staff member writes down a good thing that happened that day, and the charge nurse presents three of these things to the oncoming-shift nurses to help them start their shift in a positive light. ‘Three good things’ was an encouraged practice for 2 weeks, but staff continued to practice it consistently throughout the next year—and beyond.”

This exercise can also have nothing to do with work. Document three good things that happened in your personal life, for example, instead of at work.

Minimize effects of negative people

Negative people will feed your negative energy, and positive people will boost your positive energy.

Although you can’t always avoid negative people, you can control the effect their attitude has on you. If you find yourself in a situation with a negative person, whether at work or elsewhere, try to steer the conversation to something more positive. If that’s not possible, exit the area as soon as possible.

Show kindness to others

“The act of helping others actually activates the part of your brain that makes you feel pleasure,” the Mayo Clinic wrote. “It also releases a hormone called oxytocin that helps modulate social interactions and emotion — the higher your oxytocin levels, the more generous you may be.”

There is another benefit of being kind: It might help you live longer.

“(Being kind) helps the immune system, blood pressure, it helps people to live longer and better,” Kelli Harding of Columbia University in New York, who penned the book “The Rabbit Effect,” told the BBC in 2019. “It’s pretty amazing because there’s an ample supply and you can’t overdose on it.”

Show kindness to yourself

Even though you must perform super human feats most days, you need to remind yourself that you’re a mere mortal.

“A wealth of research has shown the positive consequences of self-compassion on numerous aspects of our well-being, including a greater life satisfaction, emotional intelligence, interconnectedness with others, wisdom, curiosity, happiness, and optimism. Self-compassion is also associated with less self-criticism, depression, anxiety, fear of failure, and perfectionism,” Marianna Pogosyan wrote in Psychology Today.

Mindfulness and meditation

It’s easy to zone out at the end of a shift and put yourself on autopilot, but that only postpones the stress and feelings of negativity.

Mindfulness and meditation can be used to reduce stress, pain and suffering, and help move toward greater levels of health and well-being.

There are numerous apps you can download to your phone, or you can take a class that can teach you best practices.

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.

About the Author