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Positive (And Not So Positive) Mindset

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

It's okay not to be okay! Learn what you can do when you experience your emotions (both pleasant and unpleasant) to get the best out of the experience.

At the core of positive mindset lies the awareness of one’s thought and how that awareness triggers a shift in thought from negative to positive. Simply put, if your thoughts are mostly positive, you're likely an optimist and have a positive mindset. The opposite is true if your thoughts are mostly negative.

I am generally a rational optimist and I like to think I’ve a calm and positive mindset. Although I can be careful or sceptical at times (I’m only human), I’m mostly aware of my emotions and thoughts and I’m able to shift them accordingly so that I can achieve my intended outcome.

According to researchers, health benefits of positive mindset include better physical and mental well-being, increased immunity and resistance to illness, better resilience to cope with stress, etc. All this will lead to increased life span. This makes a lot of sense as you’ll likely live longer when you’re happy!

We know the importance of cultivating a positive mindset. It functions as a powerful coping mechanism in our daily lives especially in our professional careers when we’ve to deal with many challenging situations and people. It’s already stressful dealing with these challenges and it’ll be even more stressful when you overvalue the need to feel better.

The idea that the best or only way to cope with a bad situation is to put a positive spin on it and not dwell on the negative is called ‘toxic positivity’. Toxic positivity results from our tendency to undervalue negative emotional experiences and overvalue positive ones. In the long-run, toxic positivity may end up harming us.

It is okay not to be okay!

Research has shown that accepting negative emotions, rather than avoiding or dismissing them, may actually be more beneficial for a person’s mental health in the long run. One 2018 study tested the link between emotional acceptance and psychological health in more than 1,300 adults and found that people who habitually avoid acknowledging challenging emotions can end up feeling worse.

What can you do?

Step #1

Start by acknowledging and labelling your emotions (both pleasant and unpleasant) whenever you become aware of your emotions.

Step #2

Then, consciously remove any expectations and goals that you should feel better (no FOMO!).

Step #3

Next, accept that the emotions you feel, whether positive or negative, are neither good nor bad. View them objectively as just another emotion and you’re entitled to feel that particular way.

I’m a believer that everything (even the good things) should be in moderation. While it’s generally good to be optimistic, researchers have found that in some instances, optimism might not serve us well. If we are excessively optimistic, we will tend to overestimate our own abilities and take on more than we can handle, ultimately leading to more stress and anxiety. Sometimes, we end up appearing as annoyingly overconfident and boastful to others! (I’ve a story to share on this matter and will save it for another time!)

Let’s face it, we’re emotional beings and sometimes we will be disappointed or hurt by the actions and words of others. When that happens, be realistic when we look at the situation. Explore and look for (new) ways to improve the situation. Perhaps, we might even be able to learn a thing or two from our experiences.


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