It’s true – I’ve pretty much always been on the “glass-is-half-empty” team. But I vowed this year to work on taking on a more optimistic perspective. I’ll let you know how that goes. Talk to me when we get through this winter first; no positive thoughts are going to be associated with this mess.
CBT – Stop the Self-Talk
There is a whole counseling theoretical approach that ascribes to talking yourself out of negative thinking. It’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and you learn to recognize and replace a non-productive thought with a more positive, realistic statement. (“5 Steps to End Negative Internal Dialogue“) Instead of thinking, “I’m totally stupid!” you might say, “This is difficult material to understand.” That shows a shift from negative thinking to a more balanced, potentially positive view.
So work on stopping what I call “lizard brain” thinking. It’s an emotional, reactive and mostly crappy place we all retreat to at times. But the lizard is canny and will sneak back into your thoughts if you aren’t really paying attention. It’s okay to be reptilian for awhile, but don’t let it consume you – move on.
What About Colleagues?
We all work with a “Debbie Downer” or “Nihilistic Nick.” These folks wouldn’t recognize a positive thought if it bopped them on the head. But not everyone who is being whiny or complaining fits that profile. We all have really bad days, professionally and personally, and we’re allowed to be grumpy or in self-pity mode. But the key is to move on and make an overall shift to a more optimistic and open frame of mind.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more selective about with whom I spend my time. I’ve started to jettison really toxic people. They are the “black holes” who suck you in and are almost always in crisis mode. One good indicator that you’ve got them in your life is that you constantly feel drained and exhausted after spending time with them. Work on distancing yourself and find people who enhance your life.
This is a career advice post from Nancy LaFever.