As an entrepreneur you will face many ups and downs, and staying positive is one of the hardest things to do when you are down! Â So for today’s blog from Nadia Goodman, we have some tips that will help you battle the demons of negativity!
As an entrepreneur, conquering challenge andÂ failureÂ is essential to the success of your business. You can learn to cultivate that resilience by training your brain to stay positive when times are tough.
â€œPeople tend to have a cognitive bias toward their failures, and toward negativity,â€ says Matthew Della Porta, a positive psychologist and organizational consultant. Our brains are more likely to seek out negative information and store it more quickly to memory.
Of course, that bias is not always bad. Acknowledging problems and facing failures can lead us to better solutions. But too often, we go overboard, and beat ourselves up for our failures or let ourselves dwell in the negative.
By consciously increasing our focus on the positive, we start to even the balance. We find a happy medium where we can address failures and challenges without letting them get us down, leaving us moreÂ motivated, productive, and likely to succeed.
Try these three tips to help you train your brain to stay positive:
1. Express gratitude.Â Negative events loom large unless you consciously balance them out. â€œWhen youâ€™re faced with challenges, itâ€™s important to take stock of whatâ€™s going well,â€ Della Porta says. Thinking about the good in your life can help balance that bias, giving your brain the extra time it needs to register and remember a positive event.
To help your brain store positive events, reflect on what youâ€™re grateful for and why at least once a week. Write down your blessings, such as the opportunity to pursue a career you love or a family that supports you. If you prefer a daily habit, then keep a nightly log of good things that happened that day. â€œJust keep it very short,â€ Della Porta says. â€œIf you try to hammer [gratitude] home, then it becomes mundane.â€Â Day One, a journaling app for Apple devices ($4.99), orOhLife, a free email-based journal, can to help you do this.
2. Repeat positive affirmations.Â As any politician or advertiser knows, the more often you hear a message, the more likely you are to believe it. The same goes for messages about who you are and what you are capable of doing. By repeating positive affirmations with conviction several times each morning, you are training your brain to believe them. â€œOver time, youâ€™ll start to internalize them,â€ Della Porta says. Repeat your affirmations silently if you feel self-conscious.
Choose two to three affirmations that represent your values and goals, such as â€˜I can handle whatever comes my way,â€™ â€˜There is plenty of time,â€™ or â€˜Iâ€™m getting better every day.â€™ The repetition will influence the way you interpret negative events, making you more resilient. â€œEspecially if youâ€™re predisposed to negative thinking, this can be extremely effective,â€ Della Porta says.
3. Challenge negative thoughts.Â Each time a negative thought arises, we choose how to respond. If left to our own devices, we tend to dwell. Our brains home in on negative events so they seem much bigger and more significant than they are. To combat that, start by imagining the thought as separate from yourself, as something you can observe and deconstruct. â€œGet in the habit of distancing yourself instead of dwelling,â€ Della Porta says.
Next, challenge negative thoughts that are unfairly self-deprecating. For example, if your startup doesnâ€™t get the traction you hoped, you might think, â€œIâ€™m a failure.â€ Thatâ€™s untrue and unproductive. Instead, practice interpreting the same event differently. You might say, I worked really hard but I didnâ€™t account for a quirk of the market, so Iâ€™m disappointed, but now Iâ€™m going to try again with new information. That interpretation is gentler, truer, and more proactive. â€œAt first, [this strategy will] be hard and youâ€™ll think it doesnâ€™t work,â€ Della Porta says. â€œBut over time, itâ€™ll become automatic and negative thoughts will be less likely to come up. No one does this naturally; you have to learn and practice.â€
Nadia Goodman is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY. She is a former editor at YouBeauty.com, where she wrote about the psychology of health and beauty. She earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. She blogs atÂ Birds with Brains.