Monthly Archives: May 2015

Why Negativity Harms Dreams and What to do About it

 

I have to admit, I wasn’t always as positive and upbeat as I am now. I used to see the glass as half empty most, if not all, the time. What changed was that when I reached an all time low back in 2009 I had no choice but to accept that my pessimistic outlook was contributing to my depression and was very destructive for me. Although not everyone who is pessimistic becomes depressed, having a negative bias never enhances our life – in fact, quite the opposite!

 

Activities such as reading or watching the news, gossiping or even suspecting the worst outcome in situations leads us to have a cloudy outlook even though our life conditions may be perfectly sunny. Negativity can become such an ingrained habit that even when things are going well for us we treat the positive developments in our lives with suspicion and distrust, looking instead for what could go wrong.

 

The danger is that the more innately negative we are, the more likely we are setting ourselves up for negative outcomes. For example, if I wanted to start my own business and had a negative outlook, I might work really hard still but I would more than likely predict that the venture was unlikely to succeed, leading me  to be less inclined to persevere and more inclined to give up sooner than say, an optimist would. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, a tragic playing out of our own created expectations. But can we ever really change from a negative to a positive bias? Ab-sol-utely!

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Feeling Down? How to Get Yourself Back on Track to Feeling Great

 

It’s natural in life to feel down at times, a hard break-up, a loss of any kind or even conflict with those we care about can cause our mood to plummet. In 2009 I went through such a time, it seemed that my world was crumbling. Thankfully I had world class treatment that taught me how to handle such times for the future. One of the main strategies I learnt was the skill of rewarding and treating myself.

 

Sounds simple I know, and for the most part it is, however when you are feeling low, creating a reward system or treating yourself can often be the furthest thing from your mind. Below I have outlined both an effective reward system and wonderful treats that you can use if you are ever feeling low – feel free to use as is or adapt it to suit you (for example, you might not even like hot chocolate). I keep my list in the back of my diary so it’s always to hand when I might need it!

 

Reward System

 

Give yourself tasks to do which are fun, relaxing or achievement based. If you are feeling very low then these tasks would be quite small and, if just a little low, you may wish to create bigger tasks so no matter how you are feeling, after completing the tasks, you feel like you have achieved something significant.

 

Now create treats to reward yourself once you have completed each task. Below are a list of treats to indulge in. You may wish to copy these directly or create your own tailored to suit you. Typically, the bigger the achievement, the bigger the treat.

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Why Having Strong Friendships Improves Our Mental Health

When I was younger I always thought that the more friends I had the better. Now I am older I realise that it is rather the quality of the friendships I have that truly counts. Studies have now shown that in our twenties if we have many friends it leads to greater happiness in our forties and fifties but, interestingly, in our thirties it is the quality and strength of the friendships that determine our happiness later in life. I have to admit I have certainly found this to be true. Whether you are in your twenties or thirties no one can deny that having friendships is critical to having good mental health.

 

Like anyone, there have been periods where I have had to face challenges and tough times and in these moments I have always managed to endure thanks to the support of my friends. The importance of honest advice, encouragement and an understanding and empathetic shoulder to lean on should never be underestimated.

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Four

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week is the grand finale where we see what practical steps we can take to adopt a more positive outlook!

 

Steps to foster a positive outlook:

 

I have outlined what actions I took to eradicate my negative mindset and create a positive outlook, so that you too can increase your positivity and happiness.

 

 

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Three

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This week we continue to explore the 8 key gains of adopting a positive outlook.

 

The 8 gains of a positive outlook:

 

5.       Positivity sees failure as opportunities to learn and grow. Any possible failures are seen as learning curves which can help us to see where we went wrong and enable us to adjust our future approach to goals, situations or problems accordingly.

 

6.      Critically, positive people focus on finding solutions to problems rather than negative people who can be more myopic and focus on the problem itself without a wider, outcome focussed approach.

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part Two

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week we saw how others negativity and our own can cause us to enter into a negative downward spiral, this week we explore the 8 key gains of adopting a positive outlook.

 

The 8 gains of a positive outlook:

 

Beyond the scientific evidence which supports the many benefits of being positive, positivity leads to a happier, more fulfilling life. Below are the nine key psychological advantages of fostering a positive mental attitude:

 

  1. Positivity enables us to see the best possible outcomes and leads us to feel inspired. When I was positive at my job in London I remember feeling excited for the future and being inspired to be creative and try new things. The more I visualised my future being happy and successful, the more inspired l became. Inspiration leads to an increased capacity for creativity. I often say creativity is self-expression in its truest form. Once we are inspired to express ourselves creatively, we naturally feel more at peace with our own individuality – what a wonderful by-product of inspiration and creative self-expression!

 

  1. Positive people also anticipate success rather than failure which feeds into our motivation and consequently reduces the likelihood that we will give up. When we envisage positive outcomes of challenging problems or situations, we automatically increase our resolve to persist until a positive outcome is reached, in line with our expectations.

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How to Avoid a Negative Downward Spiral by Using the Power of Positivity Part One

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

Picture courtesy of Openphoto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Recently I was working as a receptionist in an ongoing temporary placement. I couldn’t have been happier – I found the work easy and enjoyable, the people were really welcoming and friendly and the pay was good.

 

As I progressed in my placement and became closer to my colleagues I was told nightmare stories about the boss who allegedly intimidated his workers and ruled with an iron fist. At no point whilst working there did I see any behaviour of his that I would class as out of the ordinary however the stories inevitably coloured my experience of how I perceived the workplace.

 

About a month into the placement my colleagues began to gossip to me about nearly all of their  in turn. At first I felt awkward and then before long I felt as if I were expected to agree with the comments, thereby joining in on the gossip myself. This process happened so subtly that I was soon privy to all manner of gossip, from how one new employee was too negative to how needy another was.

 

It wasn’t long before I started to become more negative, focussing on the flaws in people as opposed to my more typical empathetic and positive attitude towards others. It was as if the negativity I was surrounded by was breeding negativity in me, like a virus spreading through my body.

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Jenny Leigh Podcast Interview with Melissa Wilson of The Grass Gets Greener

 

Hi All,

 

In this episode of The Grass Gets Greener podcast, I joined by Melissa Wilson of The Grass Gets Greener. I share my story of how I overcame bullying all throughout school to regain my self-esteem and get my power back. Click here to listen for yourself.

 

If you want to improve your self-esteem please read my Tiny Buddha article titled ‘Learning to Love Yourself: 3 Steps to Instantly Boost Your Self-Esteem’ and for a more in-depth approach to working on your self-esteem please look at the free online course ‘CCI InfoPax: Improving Self-Esteem’.

 

Should you feel your self-esteem is healthy, please read my other Tiny Buddha article on regaining your power titled ‘Stop Feeling Powerless and Start Powerfully Creating Your Life’ so you can begin creating a life you love.

 

Enjoy!