Updated: May 31, 2020
The power of positive thinking really can change your life! I’ve been in contact with a number of teachers and school leaders over the past few weeks. All have shared varying degrees of concern. Concern for their own wellbeing, their families and their students. So many teachers are missing their pupils, are concerned for their welfare and feel uncertain as to whether they will even see the students again this academic year. Many education staff are struggling with anxiety and depression. At a time where everything is so uncertain, it is so important to focus on what we can control. Therefore, the power of positive thinking is absolutely imperative to our wellbeing to help us get through Covid and beyond. The quality of life and experiences of someone who is in control of their thoughts as opposed to someone who is not, is simply put, remarkable! Your mind can change your world.
"The power of positive thinking is truly incredible"
Do you know what happy and mentally healthy people think about all day? When you think and talk about what you want and how to get it, you feel happier and in greater control of your life. When you think about something that makes you happy, your brain actually releases endorphins, which give you an overall feeling of well-being. As a result, you develop a positive attitude.
Healthy, happy people think about what they want, and focus on that for the majority of the time. This in turn, develops a positive attitude and forms habitual thought patterns. Research suggests that happy people seem to have a special quality that enables them to live a better life than the average. Can you guess what it is? It’s the quality of being and feeling optimistic. This is a quality that can be learned and neuroplasticity suggests that we can adapt and evolve our minds to adopt an optimistic mindset.
By the law of cause and effect, if you do and say what other healthy, happy people with positive attitudes do and say, you will soon feel the same way, get the same results, and enjoy the same experiences that they do. Optimistic people appear to have different ways of dealing with life and experiences, this is what sets them apart. It doesn't mean they don't suffer or feel the effects of adversity, it's not that they are numb to the experience of COVID-19 and the consequences it brings. It does mean however, that they have acquired skills and a mindset that empowers them to thrive regardless of the circumstances.
So what can you do?
Keep your mind fixed on what you want, and keep looking for ways to get it. Be clear about goals (even daily goals) and stay confident that you will accomplish them, sooner or later (have unwavering faith that you will!)
Practice finding the good in every situation, no matter how difficult the problem may be. If you are looking for something good or beneficial in a person or situation, you will always find it. Optimistic people seek the valuable lesson in every setback or reversal
Rather than getting upset and blaming someone else for what has happened, take control over your emotions by asking, “What can I learn from this experience?”
"It's about the comeback not the setback"
How can you think positive?
The simple answer is… through training your mind! Your mind can be trained to only focus on one thought at a time, which ultimately gives you the feeling of control. All you have to do, is keep it focused on uplifting thoughts until you form the same types of neural pathways. This is what we do when we form and establish a new habit. If you are struggling with social distancing, self-isolating or being a key worker right now, recall past happy memories to uplift you and keep focusing on that memory over and over again
Think about what is in your control right now? Don’t think too far into the future. Bring your attention to the day. If the day feels too overwhelming, chunk your day into parts and take it in an hour at a time. Keep the thoughts uplifting and positive. Positive affirmations (I have a downloadable pack of positive affirmations for teachers & school leaders – email me for a copy) these can be extremely helpful and supportive to reprogram your unconscious mind. These positive phrases can be repeated over and over to teach you how to get rid of negative thoughts and encourage a positive attitude
You can find motivation from inspirational quotes and messages. Decide to be happy and practice gratitude. Give thanks for everything that is well and all that you have. This can be as simple and easy as feeling blessed to have a full night’s sleep in your bed
Assume the best of intentions on the part of everyone around you. Most people are good, honest and are trying to do the very best they know how to. When you look for something good in their words and actions, you will almost always find something. If you find this difficult, then make sure you have the right people in your life! Finally, resolve to be cheerful, no matter what happens
Looking on the bright side is most important when things are difficult (like now!) It is easy to be cheerful when everything is going according to plan. But, it is when you encounter unexpected setbacks (like now!) and difficulties that you demonstrate to yourself, and the world around you, what kind of an attitude you really have. Make sure that it is a positive one!
"Be the master of your mind, do not let your mind be the master of you"
How can positive thinking help you?
Developing a positive attitude can help you in more ways than you might realise. When you think positive thoughts, you don’t allow your mind (conscious or unconscious) to entertain any negative thoughts or doubts
When you consistently and continuously think positive, you will notice amazing changes all around you
Your brain will actually begin to operate in a state of free-flowing energy and this will release feel-good hormones called endorphins, which will make you feel lighter and happier. You’ll also notice a major boost in confidence and will feel more capable of taking on new challenges that might have felt previously outside your comfort zone
By releasing your self-limiting beliefs, you will effectively release yourself and experience personal growth like you never imagined. Essentially, you can change your entire life simply by harnessing the power of positive thinking
I hope that you can take time during this period to exercise the power of positive thinking.
Health & Wellbeing Champion in Schools | Founder of the Every Teacher Matters Project
Master Coach/Consultant & CEO of Cultivate Coaching | Interim Head Teacher/School Improvement Partner