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The phrase ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ is the idea that something positive can come out of every situation. Amex has used this as inspiration for their latest campaign which I am excited to share with you all that I was involved with. This included me helping people find the silver linings in everyday life and turbocharging them into Platinum Linings!
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working to help three bloggers to harness a new positive mindset in their daily routines through the Platinum Linings challenge. In our everyday lives, no matter how well we plan, unexpected things will crop up that can throw us off course a little; for example, getting caught in a long queue and missing your train to having a pigeon ruin your favourite coat or needing to spend money on something unexpected like a vet’s bill or repairing a burst pipe at home can seem frustrating.
But it’s not all bad, because there’s always an upside and this is what’s inspired the challenge.
My role in the challenge was simple: to coach Patricia Bright, The Everyday Man and The Dad Network to help them see the upside to everything in their everyday lives. This involved a 90-minute coaching session with each of them, exploring the way that they think and identifying whether they are glass half full or glass half empty thinkers, if they find it easy to think positively and how they can remind themselves to do so, when coming across everyday challenges.
The coaching session was followed by five daily email tips and inspiration to harness a more positive mindset. I was very excited to get started and the three coachees were equally excited about seeking out the positives in their daily routines.
The first participant to take part in the challenge was Al from The Dad Network. Al revealed that he perceives himself to be a natural optimist and that he’s always felt confident in being able to land on his feet. Lately, as he’s had a few disappointments in his everyday life, his positivity had waned and he was eager to get it back again.
As we dove deeper into the session, we brainstormed strategies to help him to spot the silver linings in his daily life. From the list of many, he picked his top three favourites, one of which was going into a ‘happy place’. This was inspired by the happy place fictional golfer Happy Gilmore (played by Adam Sandler.). Al concluded the session saying, “I feel much more confident in being able to think positively. I think the key is having a plan on how to deal with the daily irritations and being prepared to change my mindset.”
Following receipt of his daily emails, Al said that having daily reminders enabled him to allow himself the space to change his mind set in challenging situations, and as a result, found it easier to spot the good things happening. He said he would keep testing the different positive mindset strategies in the future so that he can maintain a positive and fun mindset.
John, The Everyday Man, was next to take part. He openly shared that he was a natural pessimist, always looking for issues in things and preparing for worst case scenarios. He liked to plan for things going wrong to cover his bases and feel more secure in his everyday life. This is something I could relate to as I am also a bit of a control freak myself! He was clear about wanting to become more of an optimist, plus become more confident in taking gambles and eliminating boundaries that he felt had held him back. Specifically, he showed his motivation for change by saying, “I’ve found that my whole day can be shaped by a bad mood or negative thoughts. It is important to me that I don’t allow this to happen.”
In our session, we started practicing ways to identify positive things by listing the daily challenges which felt most pressing. These were the ones that brought out the pessimist in him so we started to combat that by brainstorming multiple good outcomes for every nuisance. We also discussed strategies to allow him to regroup and refocus when a moment of challenge or stress threatened to hold his positivity back.
John finished the session feeling empowered, stating, “It showed me that the way I think about myself and my mood is different now. I thought I was quite negative, but I may not be. That realisation is something that will help me think more positively going forward.” On receiving his daily emails, he said, “I must remember that I can find the upsides in life, even when sometimes I thought that I couldn’t before. I just need to look for them. They are generally always there.”
The final coachee was lifestyle blogger Patricia Bright. Patricia started the session wanting to work on her mindset and enjoy more of the small things in everyday life. She declared herself as a natural optimist, believing that everything can be done when you just try. Saying that, she did also admit to going through quite dramatic pessimistic moments which led her to panic and get into a negative thinking spiral. As we dove deeper into her mindset, she acknowledged that being more confident in herself would help with her positivity, her mantra, “Everything can be figured out”, would help her to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the daily moments of stress kicked in.
As a new mother, she said moments of overwhelm kicked in when she felt tired and she also felt that she couldn’t switch off from work, when perhaps she needed to. She concluded that simply wanting to change her mindset would help her start to deal with the overwhelming life and work admin and taking little steps would make that start easier. She also felt confident she wanted to schedule in regular “black outs” with no technology so that she could properly relax and recharge.
She wrapped up the session saying, “The good outweighs the bad. I shouldn’t be so worried about things. Sometimes I just need to walk away, take a breather, or just release the negativity to get my moment of clarity back.” She also said “the challenge has made me remember I’m quite a positive person and that sometimes things are quite trivial.” All of this, she confirmed, would help her to be more upbeat, regardless of what she is faced with in everyday life.
Simply acknowledging your ability to be more positive helps you become exactly that. You give less power to your negativity and subconsciously say, “Yes, I’m more positive than negative”. All of this, combined with different positive mindset strategies, helps you to spot the upside in things more easily. Certainly, this is what the coachees agreed on as they all felt more confident in their ability to think positively and more prepared to do so with the different mindset tips and strategies.
Now, of course, I’d like to share some of the tips I shared with them so you can get your positive spin on too in your everyday life
1. Become more aware of when you are being optimistic or pessimistic.
The first step to any type of change is awareness. When you become aware of what your thoughts are and when they seem to surface, you can start to manage them in a more effective way. The biggest differences between being an optimist or pessimist is the way in which you approach a problem. Here are the three different things each type of person would say:
Pessimist: This problem is permanent. This will never get resolved!
Optimist: This problem is fleeting. A solution will be found eventually.*
*And even if the problem was somehow permanent (which is very rare), how you felt about the problem would not be permanent.
Pessimist: This problem is all-encompassing. Everything is going wrong!
Optimist: This problem is limited to this situation. Not everything is going wrong.
Pessimist: This problem is personal. It’s all my fault and the whole world is against me.
Optimist: This problem isn’t about me or a reflection of my abilities. There are multiple variables at play, one of which might have been me.
Basically, thinking in an optimistic manner isn’t about ignoring the facts or reality, but about acknowledging them in a rational way, without over-dramatising the situation. It’s also about understanding that it’s not about whether you see the glass as half full or half empty, but whether you believe you have what you need to be positive.
2. Whenever you feel frustrated or stressed, find something in that moment to say thank you for.
When exercised regularly, gratitude is a practice that can shift your perspective and make you see the world through a whole new lens. It is the lens that shifts the balance from negative to positive. It is the lens that gives you the perspective you need to stay grounded and see the positives even when you think there aren’t any.
Overslept the alarm? Say thank you for not having overslept even more.
Having a stressful moment at work? Say thank you for having things to do in your job.
A pigeon ruins your favourite coat? Say thank you for getting the opportunity to go and get a new favourite coat.
3. Whenever you come across rudeness, speak kindly.
To that self-critical voice inside your head and to the stressed-out person standing next to you. Because the simple act of speaking kindly can reduce your stress and up your positivity.
Someone pushes past you into the train? Simply say, “That’s ok. I understand that some people will be on a tighter schedule than I am today.”
A stressed-out colleague at work challenges you? Respond with something like, “I will do my best to help you if I can.”
A friend tries to bad mouth or gossip about another friend? Acknowledge it with something positive, like, “I think she’s doing really well.”
This isn’t about feeling superior, being patronising, or teaching them a lesson. It’s about you not letting other peoples’ moods and behaviours get the better of you. It’s about you bringing positivity into the moment and not only changing your mood but the mood of those around you. Because showing kindness, similarly to smiling, gets those happy hormones going in your body. And those happy hormones are the ones that will help you to be positive.
With that said, I hope you now also feel more confident in being able to harness that beneficial mindset in everyday life. It won’t be an overnight change but the more you put it into practice, the easier it becomes. You can feel so much happier and more fulfilled because of it!
Before wrapping up, I want to say a thank you to Al, John and Patricia for working with me on this challenge – helping them to think more positively was a lot of fun.
I will leave you with the words of poet Walt Whitman: “Keep your face toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
With that, I wish you good luck in your adventures and until next time!
With love, light and happiness,
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