You have probably noticed that when you’re in a negative mood, it hinders your ability to focus and makes it painfully difficult to be helpful to others. Fortunately, there is a productive way to counter those effects. It’s called thriving — the psychological state in which people experience a sense of both vitality and learning.
Thriving individuals are growing, developing, and energized, rather than feeling stagnated or depleted. In studies conducted across a range of industries, Georgetown University Professor Christine Porath found that people who experience a state of thriving tend to have a buffer against distractions, stress, and negativity. In addition, a state of thriving was associated with better health and resilience.
At a time where negativity seems rife, what are some things you can do to enter a state of thriving? Here’s are some tips Porath’s research can offer us.
Avoid negativity: Negativity can seep into your pores from a number of sources, whether it be the media or negative-minded friends. Try to recognize what brings negativity into your life and make simple choices towards more positivity.
Watch out for what you say out loud: While the people around you influence you and your mood, we must recognize that we have more control over our thoughts and feelings than anyone else. And what we say out loud also carries significant weight. That’s why you should think twice about how you’re framing and speaking of a situation. Instead of saying, ‘This is terrible,” tweak your language to be more neutral. For instance, you might say, “This situation is challenging,” which recognizes the opportunity for growth or learning.
Adopt a neutral mindset: In any situation, it’s all too easy to play the blame game or focus on problems. Instead, try adopting a neutral mindset. This is a nonjudgmental, nonreactive way of assessing problems and analyzing crises. It includes staying in the moment, reacting to each moment as it unfolds, and keeping your focus on how you can influence your next action. By focusing on what you can control, you can avoid getting sucked into thinking negatively.
Practice gratitude consistently: When practiced along with a neutral mindset, gratitude can be a powerful way to increase your thriving. Seattle Seahawk quarterback and Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson has talked about how he has used this combination to navigate the death of his father, a gut-wrenching Super Bowl loss, the impact of Covid on his life and profession, and other challenges. Wilson says that with an “attitude of gratitude” you can be thankful for a challenge and get through it.
Take care by managing your energy: When we exercise, our muscles pump “hope molecules” into our bodily systems that are good for our mental and physical health. Exercising outside or with music can amplify those effects. And don’t forget to get adequate sleep!
Seek out positive relationships—inside and outside of work: Porath’s research shows being around people who possess an enduring set of negative judgments or feelings towards another person can really diminish your mindset. To offset these negative effects, surround yourself and spend more time with energizers—the people in your life who make you smile and laugh.