“This weather is horrible. What a terrible Saturday. I can’t believe this weather. Thanks for coming to class today on such an awful day.”
Those were the statements made as I began my fitness class last week. Granted, it is a cool 40 degree day with rain on a day in April in the Midwest when we typically experience a sunny 65 degree day. We have had rain, snow, high winds and clouds, anything but warmth and sunshine for what seems like months.
This January, for my new year’s resolution or “intention” as I call them, I made a commitment to not let the weather: hot or cold, cloudy or sunny, windy or calm affect my mood and my day. Little did I know in early January that I would have to really put that mindset into practice several months later. I have seen it all too frequently, either in myself or others, we let the weather control our attitude, mindset and our day.
Here’s the deal – and it is not pollyanna thinking: we can’t control the weather anyway so we might as well make up our minds to not let it ruin our day. We are granted each and every day. Why waste a day wishing the weather was different? In some ways, I believe it actually is selfish. Selfish to throw away a day we have been given by negative talk, attitude and focusing on something we have no control over anyway.
Just like patients and clients we come into contact with – the ones that we may roll our eyes and think “not them again” – we may want to reframe our mindset. Don’t let the negative and challenging individuals “ruin” our day. I like to call this “giving our power away” to others.
Framing is a mental structure that is built upon the beliefs we have about ourselves, our roles, our circumstances, and about other people. It is the meaning we give to events: positive or negative. In other words, the meaning we attribute to any event is dependent upon how we frame it in our mind. Our frames shape how we see the world, how we see ourselves, how we view others, and how we interpret our life.
Valuable strategies to help shift your negative thoughts to positive ones.
- 1. Visualize. When you wake up in the morning, imagine your day going well. No matter what you have scheduled put a positive outcome on it. Imagine your most challenging patient beginning to reach goals you have set together, or your co-workers smiling and greeting you when you arrive.
- 2. Practice Positive Thinking. You may step outside and say, “The weather is awful.” Instead, look for three positive things outside as quickly as possible. The rain is making my flowers grow, the grass is green, it is a good day to stay inside and get some work done.
- 3. Be aware of your automatic response. Are you the type of person that when you spill your coffee in the morning or get cut off in traffic your whole day is ruined? Or are you the type that focuses on the positives and lessons learned? Being aware is a key step towards choosing a different, more beneficial mindset.
- 4. Use milder wording. This one is really easy, and you can begin it today. Words do matter, and if your thought is worded with a more mild negative, you won’t feel as bad. For example, if you were to think “Jim is so noncompliant and I hate working with him,” you would feel worse than if you thought “Jim is a challenging patient to work with.” Avoid labeling people. Listen to your wording and shift to a more mild comment.
- 5. Start with a fresh mindset. Remember it is a new day and new conversation. Let the old memory go. Just because your last encounter with that patient was not positive does not mean that this will be the same experience. Expect something different.
Just like when you deal with the weather, learning how to reframe and shift your attitude and connect with those most challenging and reluctant patients/clients will your days be free of the ups and downs we often experience.
If you know of others, perhaps your leadership team or a friend, who would be interested in learning more or receiving this and other blog posts, please feel free to forward to those individuals.
If you are interested in bringing me to your organization for a refresh training or coming to a public training, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.