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Friday, March 6, 2015

6 Tips to Become More Positive

Positive, attitude, belief, nursing school, nursing student, tips, psychology, toxic thinking, negative thoughts, doubt, self improvement

How to Become More Positive

Life in general sometimes makes it hard to stay positive. Certainly going to nursing school can take a toll on you. You bomb a test, you make a mistake at clinical, you forgot to turn something in, etc. It's HARD to not feel defeated during nursing school and it's easy to let yourself slip into negative thinking.

But I'm here to help!! Here are my 6 favorite tips to stay positive.

  1. Smile

     Channel your inner Buddy the Elf, "I just like to smile. Smiling's my favorite."

    People will be drawn to you, when you smile. And in return your life will improve because of it. People will trust you, which is important in a nurse. We have very limited time to establish trust, yet our profession continually ranks in the public as the highest most trusted profession. A smile is cheap, and instant.

    "It was only a sunny smile, and little did it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living." -F. Scott Fitzgerald... Swoon.

    Smiling will make you seem more confidant, more successful, friendlier, and makes us look prettier. I think it also makes a person seem more genuine. I know that I suffer from "Resting Bitchfaceidosis" So when I'm not smiling I look sad, depressed, stumped, confused, or scared. All of which are not beneficial when in the classroom, at clinical, or on a date with a hot stud.

    By "hot stud" I meant "hot spud". A baked potato. Typo. I'm in nursing school. What is this "dating" that you speak of?
  2. Visualize Success

     I'm not going to lie, I have no idea if this whole blogging/writing thing will be successful. I definitely feel that there is a need for a place for nursing students/new nurses to come to seek refuge, gain knowledge, or simply feel more at ease knowing that you're just like everyone else. We all struggle through this process. I'm taking an "If you build it, they will come," approach to this. I'm visualizing success.

    If we aren't visualizing success, and instead visualize how horrible things can go down, then we're all going to set ourselves up for having anxiety attacks and nervous breakdowns. I have had anxiety attacks all through my nursing program, and almost all of it was due to thinking negatively. I jump to the worst case scenario in a split second. I think it's my not-so-super, super hero power.

    By visualizing success when thinking about a tough challenge, (i.e. starting your first IV), you'll feel more confident and therefore will likely be more successful. However, visualizing that you went to start an IV, the patient became combative, then the patient stabbed you in the eye with the needle. You lost your eyesight in that eye. The other eye became sympathetic and also lost eyesight. At this point you can't see, you're out of nursing school, you're not a nurse, you forgot to pay your cable bill- and now you live in the gutter with creepy Rob Lowe..... Don't visualize a hot mess. Just don't.
  3. Focus on your Failures

    Yes. I said that. You're failures are not bad things to be ashamed of. Perhaps my mother had me watch too many Bob Ross videos, but a mistake is just an opportunity. As Thomas Edison says, "You have not failed. You've just found 10,000 ways that do not work."

    Studying with the tv on, your computer pulled up to facebook, and you're texting your friends has probably led you down the path of failure more so than the path of success. So just being aware that you won't be as successful when you use those habits will probably influence you to not make that mistake twice next time you have a big pathophysiology test coming up. By knowing what leads to failure, you can better direct your sails in a direction that will hopefully lead to success.

    This is also a good tip to keep in mind if you ever go down the road of Quality Improvement in your career in healthcare...
  4. Surround Yourself With Positive Successful People

    Misery loves company, doesn't it? If we surround ourselves with positive people their positive energy will most likely rub off on us. I can visualize some people in my life that seem to exude positivity. While I'm working on picking up some of their habits, I enjoy myself immensely whenever I'm around them. My day is a little bit brighter. I'm a little bit happier. The world is a better place.

    Likewise, when I'm working intensely with a person that is a Negative Nancy, I do feel a bit more down and out. So just be aware of those that aren't positive role models and keep check on how much time you spend with them. I wouldn't want you to ever exclude them, but just be aware that they can bring you down a bit.

    Personally, some of my closest friends are a bit on the negative side. I see how it affects our moods, and health. I don't like it. It's part of my lent this year to try to increase our positivity in each other. They just don't know it. = D
  5. Stop Toxic Thinking

    This goes along with visualizing success. "What you think you become. What you become you attract. What you imagine you create." - Budda. Love that guy.

    This has been evident to me as I'm approaching graduating with my Masters in Nursing. I spent my entire undergrad working as a server at a chain restaurant. It wasn't until now that I realize how toxic it was to my health. I wasn't surrounded by supportive people. I was surrounded by Negative Nancys, bullies, addicts, and more than half of the staff had no aspirations to do more, to be more.

    I don't want to knock servers or any part of that profession, and certainly not my old co-workers. God no. It's back breaking work, with no benefits, and little respect. Why on earth would it be anything but toxic? It's not their fault. It was just a poorly managed system. But this represents a dark time in my life. I felt horribly negative and constantly depressed.

    Eventually I made the decision that I wasn't happy and needed to do something more with my life. Now that I'm about to graduate, I find myself being surrounded by wildly successful people. These people are legislatures, physicians, providers, professionals, CEOs. Truly, a huge turn around from my previous life. And it's been less than two years.

    We have between 40,000-60,000 thoughts a day. 80% of us say that we handled things better than we expected. But we so often worry about how horribly wrong things can go. Try to view negative situations as unlucky experiences that aren't personal. I know since I'm about to start applying for my first job as a nurse that I will probably not get hired by the first person I interview with. I don't want to negatively think about that as, "I'm a horrible nurse/student and no one will hire me." but I want to be realistic and honest about the situation; "I didn't get the job because someone more qualified got it. I gained interviewing experience and I will do better next time." This is called Learned Optimism.
    Don't dwell on things. Let each situation be exactly what it is instead of focusing on what you think it should be. Accept things and people as they are. You'll be happier for it.
  6. Make Your Bed

    This might seem odd, but I always try to do my best to make my bed every morning. Mostly, because my human sheds so dang much that I don't want her hair all over my pillows. I've realized though that this simple act can greatly influence my day. It starts it off right. My bed now looks fresh. My room appears cleaner. I'm a little bit happier as I'm going through my morning routine. It sets me up to be more productive for the rest of the day.

    And when the rest of my day doesn't go as planned and I come home, it is very refreshing to fall onto a bed that has been made. It reminds me that I cannot control everything. I can't control the weather, I can't control traffic, but I can control some aspects of my life-- like making my bed.

    Again, this kind of reiterates not dwelling on things. There are some things we can't control. There's absolutely no reason for us to put any more energy into thinking about a situation that we cannot change.
Those are 6 of my best tips to become more positive.

Perhaps you've unfortunately looked at this because you're in a toxic nursing environment. Here's a post on How to Deal With a Bully.
What are some things that you do to become more positive?? We would all love to know what works for you on those off days. Leave a comment below!!


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