According to Shawn Achor, we can rewire our brain. Shawn is the author of The Happiness Advantage. He believes that in some fields, we are trained to look at the problems that need solving, the injustices that need righting, and stresses that need to be managed. The more we focus on the negatives, the more we miss out on the positives. It takes practice and focus to train our brains to scan for the positives.
The Power of a Positive Effect
When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to use: happiness, gratitude and optimism.
In a study by Seifert and Patalano (2001), participants who wrote down three good things each day for a week were happier and less depressed at the one-month, three-month and six-month follow ups. Even after stopping the exercise they remained significantly happier and showed higher levels of optimism. What happen? They got better at scanning the world for good things to write down, the more good things they saw, without even trying, wherever they looked.
Another study by Burton and King (2004) found that when people wrote about positive experiences for 20 minutes 3 times a week and compared to control group who wrote about neutral topics the results were revealing. The first group experienced larger spikes in happiness, but three months later they even had fewer symptoms of illness. Think about that, few reported symptoms of illness. Now, we are talking about something powerful in the healthcare world.
Take aways for coaching:
- We may be wired for looking at problems and what needs to be fixed
- It takes focus, intention and practice to look at what is working, the positive
- It takes a mindset to look for the positives and affirm those to clients
- It has been demonstrated repeatedly the power of finding and sharing the positive to our clients, patients, employees and team members.
Transform Conversations. Transform Healthcare.
Dr. Becky Lang