Dan Goleman, writing in his seminal book, Emotional Intelligence, points out that “People who are adept at reading and dealing effectively with their own and others’ feelings are at an advantage in any life domain – from romance to office politics.”
If you want to cultivate this attitude advantage, consider the way thoughts and feelings interact.
The simple truth is that our moods have a lot to do with our thoughts. Whether we’re coming from a place of insecurity or one of confidence, it’s our state of mind that sets the stage. As Hamlet famously observed, “…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so…”
The actions that we take after listening to our internal voice color the way others relate to us. Think inadequacy, defeat, self-blame, and that attitude comes across to others. Think confident, cheerful, warm-hearted thoughts and you’ll convey a very different message that people will respond to positively.
To manage emotions effectively, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. If they’re in the negative zone, we can literally change our thinking to nudge them into a sunnier, more cheerful state. And there are quite a number of mood lifting, attitude fortifying tactics that will get us there.
Physical activity is the enemy of depression and a powerful remedy for negative states. Don’t sit for more than an hour (some authorities even say 30 minutes) without getting up and moving around. Stretch, take a walk, go make a cup of tea, but give your body that active break it needs to stay resilient.
Deep breathing, tai chi, and yoga are excellent disciplines that help us stay in shape and ward off the blues.
Making time to go outside on a nice day has powerful positive rewards. One study showed a 20-minute walk on a beautiful day brought significant boosts in attitude, broadened thinking and improved memory.
Thoughts trigger emotions. And feelings feed thoughts.
Quick: How does this image make you feel?
And what about this one?
If you felt your mood lift when you looked at the picture of the baby, you’re not alone. Studies show that experiencing positive emotions like interest, love, curiosity, pride, awe, and amusement all help to boost creativity, stamina, will power, and well-being.
You can tap into those positive emotions as easily as giving yourself a quick glimpse of something that turns you on.
The Human Touch
Experiencing both gratitude and the human touch – even as slight as a six second handshake – can give us an emotional boost.
Before you go into your next sales meeting, send someone a quick thank you email. Then when you walk into the room, shakes people’s hands and feel the positive chemistry flow.
Distract yourself from triggering thoughts – the sooner the better
These days, mention “distraction” and it’s usually about compulsive email checking and too much screen time. But taking your mind off negative ruminations increases well-being and boosts positivity.
If you’re angry or upset, cooling off in a setting unlikely to arouse further anger is the right medicine. Going for a walk, listening to calming music or watching a funny YouTube clip can all be helpful.
Pictures of loved ones, heroes, etc. at our desk and work area give us a positive hit of encouragement with every glance.
More than thirty years ago when we started Professional Marketing Associates, it was no mere coincidence that the initials PMA echoed the acronym for Positive Mental Attitude, the philosophy of guys like Napoleon Hill and others whose vision shaped the world of professional selling.
In sales and every other human endeavor, we’re much more likely to succeed when our attitude springs from a good heart and positive mind.
Have any stories about “attitude” you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments below….