happiness

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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Kindness Challenge: Day Ten of Twelve – Say Thank You

 

Take today to think of the things others have done for you and that you are grateful for. Choose the thing you are most grateful for, it needn’t be something that someone has recently done for you and send them a thank you note. This could be hand written, emailed or even text. Tell them what it meant to you and let them know you appreciated their kindness.

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What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored how to foster greater kindness within. This week we examine how we can make kindness work with our lifestyles.

 

Letting kindness work for you

 

When I worked in central London one of the main things I did was to talk to homeless people on the way back from work. I used to give them details of a local shelter where they could get a free lunch, shower and even some clothes. If I had any money I also used to buy them food so they wouldn’t go hungry. Most of all I listened to their problems, offered prayer support and treated them with the respect so many people didn’t afford them. Within a month of speaking to them I felt so much happier, I really felt as if I were making a difference and giving them hope for a better future.

 

When I changed job and moved into the suburbs there were no homeless people on my way to and from work so I began helping my friends make over their resumes and started giving money to causes I really cared about, like mental health and anti-trafficking charities.

 

One of the great things about kindness is that it can easily adapt to, and fit in with, your lifestyle. It’s flexible and there are endless ways to be kind that can fit in with your daily routine. You may not have homeless people you encounter in your day-to-day living but you can always give money to charity or give up your seat on the bus to an elderly man.

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What’s in it for me? The transformative power of kindness and its inextricable link to long-term happiness Part One

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” Anthony Robbins

 

Growing up I was very fortunate that my mother had taught me the importance of kindness from an early age. She always said that it is more important to be kind than liked, and, as I matured, I’ve realized how right she was.

 

In the early nineties when I was twelve years old I went on holiday to Durban, South Africa, to visit my mom’s family. One hot and humid summer’s day I was standing in the driveway of my grandmother’s house talking with my dad.

 

As my dad and I chatted away, an African man walked by on the pathway at the foot of the driveway. He was wearing a grey suit and had on an old fashioned nineteen fifties hat. As he walked by the front of our house he noticed us and stopped. He looked at us and gave us a wide genuine smile and then slowly lifted his hat and lowered it to his chest to say hello.

 

I was so taken aback that this elderly man, someone who for all intense purposes I should have been paying respect to, had shown such kindness to me, someone he didn’t even know, despite his countries racist history when it would have been quite understandable had he hated whites for what they had caused his race to endure.

 

In shock at the genuine kindness he extended to me and humbled by his gentle and sincere soul, I had only just digested what had happened by the time the man had continued to walk on. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by love for him and so saddened at him having experienced the horrid apartheid regime.

 

I started to cry uncontrollably and plead with my dad to invite him into the house for coffee but by that time he was all but gone. I like to think he is in heaven now, though I am saddened by the thought that he possibly never knew what a profound and lasting impact he had on me.  His amazing kindness towards me and his sincere smile will stay with me forever.

 

Although I can’t claim to have shown an act of kindness of the same magnitude as that elderly African man, I like to think I have followed in my mother’s footsteps. I buy food for the homeless, I help write my friends resumes and I give money to causes that I care about.

 

Ok, but what is kindness exactly?

 

Often kindness is very hard to define as it can be so many things. The Oxford dictionary lists it as ‘The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate’, the Your dictionary explains it as ‘The act of being warm or caring in spirit’ and the Urban dictionary defines it as ‘The act of going out of your way to be nice to someone or show a person you care’. To me, kindness is a combination of all of these, it is someone extending genuine understanding and compassion towards another and then expressing this concern through gentle, thoughtful acts.

 

The health benefits of kindness

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How did your kindest act make you feel?

I remember the feeling I had when I paid for my parents to go on their anniversary honeymoon, I was so happy I could say thank you to them in this way for everything they had done for me over the years. It genuinely gave me such joy to see them so happy, it was as if I was going on holiday myself.

 

What’s the kindest thing you have ever done for someone? How did doing this kind act make you feel? This could be as simple as giving money to a homeless person so they could sleep at a hostel that night or even comforting a friend in need during tough times.

 

Please spend just a little time sharing your story, your story may well inspire someone to reach out and act in kindness or even do our thirty day kindness challenge, spreading kindness even further. The more we communicate how transformative kindness can be, the more blessings we can pass on to others and also ourselves.

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