Posted by Colin Ransom on 11 Mar 2013

Sometimes, the pressures of modern life can be tiring and sap our strength.

Is it really possible to feel great, even when facing challenging times and situations?

Can we really discover how to feel good, no matter what we’re up against?

How can we transform the way we think, feel and experience life?

Is it possible to truly let go of the fears and worries that hold us back?

Can we understand the power of our true, original identity, and reclaim our dignity?

I’ve been thinking lately about personal qualities, and how these impact on our working lives and how people respond to us at work.

Ever noticed how we seem to naturally gravitate towards happy, positive people?

Aren’t these people SO much nicer to work alongside?

Don’t you think people like this get LOADS more done, and annoyingly seem to have loads of energy left to go and do stuff AFTER work, rather than collapsing at home on the sofa?

So how is it that two people doing the same or similar jobs can be affected so differently by the work they’re doing?

The answer, without any doubt, lies in the personal qualities and attitude of the individual, rather than the external circumstances that are being “imposed” on them. So, then, is this why some people ALWAYS seem to be in a good mood, regardless of what’s going on? Yes, of COURSE it is.

I attended a Positive Thinking course in Leeds in 2009. It really made me think about how much of my own “struggling” WAS actually due to external events, and how much of this was as a direct result of the attitude or mind-set that I’d CHOSEN to adopt. Actually the answer is: it was ALL the latter.

It could be argued that our life circumstances have an impact on our happiness and wellbeing. And to a point, that’s very true. But what if I could make a decision to be happy and positive and feel great, no matter what?

There is a core of goodness in us all, and when I draw on this power, positive feelings emerge naturally. This is what it is to feel great.

OK so this probably sounds pretty “out there” and at first, that’s what I thought too.

I began to realize though over time that I have the power to choose what type of thoughts I have. These thoughts determine the feelings I have and then in turn, the way I feel and react to the people I encounter and the situations I find myself in.

Another way of putting it:

All this negativity and self-pity I’m harbouring: Do I have a choice in whether or not I do this? Am I in control of my thoughts and feelings, or am I happy to allow them to control ME? If I’m carrying an unhealthy resentment towards this person (boss, staff member, supplier, customer, contractor) will this cause them to change their behaviour/attitude/opinion to suit me, or will it just be the root cause of me feeling heavy, tired and angry? Carrying resentments isn’t the way to solve a dispute. The only thing that happens is they eat away at the bearer. Chances are the person to whom the resentment is directed won’t even know a lot of the time that anything’s wrong. How many of these situations are mostly invented or at least exaggerated in our heads?

We can PRACTICE “throwing away”waste thoughts. Try it. Make a conscious decision to give no attention to whatever it is. But don’t get rid of it and leave a big mental space: Instead, think of something else. Give your thought energy to those subjects that bring happiness and positivity. Externalise this process if you must. Write down on a piece of paper whatever it is, screw or tear it up, burn it (safely!!) if you have to.

We can also practice invoking positivity in terms of the thoughts we have, the actions we take and even the company we keep. Nobody wants to be around people who are miserable, and there’s no reason why we have to be. Surround yourself with those who’re like the person you want to be.

You’ll find, after a while, that this starts to rub off on those around you.

Cognitive Reframing is an excellent tool for turning seemingly desperate situations in to positive learning experiences. Here are the steps, in a nutshell:

1. Identify what needs to change (BEHAVIOUR)

2. Establish communication with the part of the mind that generates this BEHAVIOUR

3. Separate the INTENTION from the BEHAVIOUR

4. Create alternative BEHAVIOUR to satisfy the positive INTENTION

5. Ask if part X (old BEHAVIOUR) can accept the new choices and the responsibility for generating them

6. Ask that part (old BEHAVIOUR) that has been responding to NOT respond anymore

7. Go and DO IT (new BEHAVIOUR)

OK this is Cognitive Reframing in a tiny nutshell – there’s LOADS of really brilliant published literature on this, for those interested in finding out more.

And furthermore, I’m a massive fan of lists. I have lists of everything. And I even have lists of lists!

Why not start making your list right now? Make a list of all the things that’re bothering you and what you’re going to do to sort them out. Make a list of the things you’re powerless to do anything about, and decide how you’ll destroy this list – both physically and mentally. Go on – you’ll feel GREAT afterwards.

Of course self-coaching can be very effective. But if you’d like to talk to someone about professional business coaching, get in touch.

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