Humanity is going through a stressful time. It is not always easy to be positive, it takes work, it takes effort, and the question is ‘Why should I spend time and effort being positive right now?”
Here is why:
1. Stress drains energy — it is like having a cup with a hole at the bottom of it. You can never be at full capacity.
2. When Stress goes up, Intelligence comes down. Under stress, we tend to make mistakes and do things that we would never do otherwise. I am sure you can think of examples from your own life where this is true.
3. Finally, Stress means that our cup of energy is empty — and you cannot pour from an empty cup. When we are stressed, then we cannot be of service to others — we cannot support them in the best way.
In order to have energy, be intelligent, and be of service — we need to bring the stress down and increase our positivity.
In addition, Harvard researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, found being positive had many benefits to us. It increases our immunity, our longevity, and overall happiness and joy. More interestingly, he also found that positivity affects business results. Positive people:
This is something that we have found even in Asia. A business partner working with an insurance company in Malaysia, to help their staff become more positive, found that their sales increased by about 30% over a six month period. Positivity can bring us business results—something we need as we navigate our current business world.
It is important to note that we are not defining positivity as the ability to always be smiling and happy or even pretending that issues do not exist. It is okay to feel negative emotions, to feel stressed, or sad. We have faced some tough times over the last few months – some of you missed important family occasions, or maybe key projects were cancelled or reserves dried up, that is tough. Being positive doesn’t mean that we cannot be sad.
Positivity is about seeing the reality, the uncertainty, and at the same time believing that we can make things better—for others and ourselves. You do not get to choose the situation or the circumstances, but you do get to choose your response.
Positivity is a choice. It is a response. Sometimes, we need to make this choice daily ….sometimes hourly.
I am going to share with you three practices that can help you be more positive:
1) Share a Cup
Please take out your smartphone, go to the app where you store your photos and scroll through them. Choose your favourite photo. Come on—do it now.
Are you smiling? That is instant positivity!
In 70-80 per cent of our participants, that favourite photo is of the people in our lives that we are sharing things or experiences with.
In order to increase your positivity, connect with people that make you feel positive and energised—not the other kind! WhatsApp them, call them, or virtually meet them—have a virtual party with them. I am not talking only about friends and family here—it could be colleagues or even your clients.
2) Appreciate Your Cup
Take a few seconds to look around you. What is in your life and environment right now that makes you happy?
Make a list of three things that make you happy that you have right now. Now do this daily, add just three things to that list. You may be surprised by how long it is getting! There is a lot to appreciate in life on a daily basis.
3) Fill Your Own Cup First
Remember self-care. Without taking care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of others—whether they are your colleagues or your loved ones. You do not want to burnout.
I recommend that you choose an activity that energises you and add it to your day.
Maybe it is something you love but have not done in a long time. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, a client in China came out of the two-month long lockdown period and said that the time at home was a gift. She found that she could play the piano again after many years. She reconnected with something that she loved—and not only that—she was able to teach her young daughter and share her passion with her daughter. Since then we’ve heard many stories – of hobbies and interests that have been re-found.
Alternatively, it could be something completely new—like learning to cook if you have not before. As long as doing it is something that energises you and makes you feel positive.
The choice to stay positive in these stressful times is yours.