Relieve Stress by Being More Positive

In my counselling room last week, I was talking to my client, Mary, and asked her if she had anything positive to say, i.e. something that wasn’t negative and she answered ‘No!’.  Mary was going through a difficult time finding a stable relationship, her job was unfulfilling and she was firmly under the impression that no-one liked her.  Her negativity and lack of energy was quite difficult for me to hear.  However, in my role as a counsellor, this is exactly why she came to see me and so we spent our time working together to try to bring some positive thinking and purpose into her life.

Everybody feels ‘down’ sometimes, but those negative feelings usually don’t last long. Life is not a straight line for anyone. Life is like a sine wave, it goes up and down and there are peaks and troughs. To be reasonably happy with our life is usually the default position, but if things go wrong over a period of time, then that position can change.

Of course, unhappiness is not contagious but most of us want to be with positive people, not negative ones. There are those who have to work with people who have a negative outlook: nurses and carers have to deal all day with those who are sick and in pain, or maybe even dying, yet they remain positive themselves.  However, they need the strength and inner resources to pass onto others and not to allow other people’s negativity to have an effect upon them.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

I do have some clients who seem to ‘enjoy’ their negativity and continually see the glass to be half empty rather than half full.  Which are you?

Do people want to be with you at home?  Do you bring sunshine, life and energy into the room as you enter it?  Do people at work want to be with you and ask if you are free for lunch or for a coffee, after work?  Or do your colleagues actually have as little contact with you as possible?

In our private lives, of course, we can choose with whom we spend our time but we cannot do the same at work.  We have colleagues, managers, directors and executives, and we have to learn to integrate with the organisation and everyone in it.  In most organisations, everyone is part of a team. Maybe a large team or a small one but either way, everyone has to contribute. Of course, team dynamics will ensure that those with a dominant personality will try to overrule the other members and the majority have to make sure that their voice and opinion is also heard.  The point here is that you cannot afford not to have an opinion, for then you contribute nothing and are of no value to the team. And if we have a negative outlook, then we will be less inclined to contribute and our position in the team might well become redundant.  So our outlook and state of mind, is really important.

Out of the office, things are different. We have choices about who we see and what we do.

Now focus your mind on these 6 points:

1. Write down the names of people who are positive and negative influences in your life.

2. Describe them in ten words.  Are these words positive or negative?

3. How much time do you spend with these people?

4. Do they bring out the best in you, or the worst?

5. What do they give you and what do you give them?

6. Do you feel that you are being yourself in their company?

It’s not possible to remove all the negative people we come into contact with but try to ensure that you surround yourself with enough positive people to keep your batteries charged to enable you to be a positive influence with your family and friends.

Many years ago, a young man at the start of his career, would often stop at my desk for a chat. I always remember what he said to me once. He said, ‘I come by a lot because I like to be with successful people’.  That warmed me then as it still does today.

Key Points

• Everyone wants to be with successful people

• Negativity doesn’t bring friends, popularity or jobs!

[Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News].

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