“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
Many times in my life, people have asked “how do you remain positive?”. My most frequent response has been through hope. This hopefulness has been cultivated in me since childhood and refined throughout life experiences. Having an intentional optimistic and hopeful attitude is a key factor for building resiliency.
An optimistic, positive outlook takes practice! Focusing on the positive is not looking at life through rose colored glasses. It is reframing your thinking towards optimism and choosing positivity over negativity. Thinking optimistically is correlated with greater happiness with life and work. And the biggest benefit that positive emotions provide is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.
Barbara Fredrickson refers to this as the “broaden and build” theory because positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life.
Opportunities and yes, adversity can shape this mindset and help build your capacity to bounce back as an individual and as a nurse leader. Resilient people think differently. They have a level of psychological capital and mental toughness that enables better performance and leadership under stress.
Here are some of the “how to” approaches for building resiliency through hope and optimism. These skills are transferable to your personal and professional life.
- Look for opportunities for new learning and growth – people often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect because of the struggle with loss.
- Nurture a positive view of yourself – build your confidence in yourself to manage situations and solve problems.
- Keep things in perspective – even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective.
- Look to the future – imagine telling someone about how you overcame this obstacle with strength, grace and courage.
- Maintain a positive outlook – an optimistic outlook helps you to expect that good things will happen in your life.
As a nurse leader, it is your job to set the example for how employees work and relate to each other; be a role model for a positive outlook on problems that come your way. Help you and your team shift your perspective – walk them through the process with some of the questions below. You may find possibilities that weren’t there before.
“Is there any possible way in which this could actually turn out to be good?” presents a realm of possibility for you (or your team).
Take the question one more step and ask, “What can I (we)do to make this happen?” Creating purposeful and actionable steps for you (or your team).
Hope and optimism, a great resiliency builder😊