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How to maintain a positive state of mind during hard times

Various situations, including economic downturns, organisational changes, industry disruptions and global crises, can result in additional stress in the workplace. It is important to maintain a positive attitude during tough times and to better support your employees. A positive attitude can help alleviate stress and create a more conducive work environment.

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Facts about positive thinking

As most of us already know, a positive state of mind can help you stay level-headed during times of stress.

Here is what science says about positive thinking:

  • Increases resilience: when you experience positive emotions during times of stress, you increase your resilience and have a faster cardiovascular recovery. This means that your blood pressure stabilises more quickly and your heart rate lowers, making it easier to remain calm and positive.
  • Boosts your immunity: research shows that people who maintain a positive state of mind are better equipped to manage the symptoms of illness.
  • Helps you think clearly: a positive attitude improves your ability to solve problems, make decisions, use creative thinking and judge objectively. For example, maintaining a positive state of mind can help you identify the best technology platform for your team and come up with a plan to keep your business operational, regardless of what’s happening in the world around you.

Here are some ways to stay positive during tough times

Focusing on positivity helps you view your situation from a constructive perspective. While certain factors can make this challenging, there are things you can do to stay positive:

1. Acknowledge your emotions

Allow yourself to acknowledge whatever emotions you’re feeling. Acknowledging any stress or anxiety you’re feeling can actually help you gain control of those emotions. This step can also allow you to more constructively manage any negative emotions and shift your perspective. Try taking a moment in the morning or the evening to use a meditation app like Headspace to centre yourself. Ignoring your emotions only ensures that they will revisit you later. You might even consider investing in a subscription option for all of your employees.

Understanding and respecting your employees’ emotions is equally important as an employer. This means creating a work environment where employees feel safe and supported in expressing their feelings or concerns. Cultivate a workplace culture that promotes transparent communication and empowers your staff to speak up without apprehension.

2. Prioritise the facts

In order to keep a level head, it’s important to take a rational perspective on the current situation you may be facing. Ask yourself to what degree it’s interfering with your life and your business, what precautions you can take and how you can manage any negative emotions you may be feeling. Take a moment to list what you can control and what you can’t. Prioritising the facts will ensure that you’re well-informed and not taking unhelpful information into account in your decision-making.

As an employer, it is essential to guide your employees during challenging times to focus on facts rather than getting overwhelmed by uncertainties. Create an environment where questions are encouraged and consider implementing clear and transparent communication strategies so employees feel informed about the state of the business and any decisions that may affect them.

3. Start a weekly gratitude practice

Gratitude changes you and your brain. Recent evidence suggests something as simple as writing a gratitude letter weekly about what you’re thankful for in your life can have permanent, positive effects on your brain. Take a few minutes every morning to write down five things you’re grateful for. This could mean focusing on your relationships, the things you enjoy, your health or your experiences. This practice can benefit your health, as reducing worry about things over which you have no control promotes calm, which can decrease anxiety and improve your immune system.

To help your team maintain a positive state of mind, consider implementing a gratitude practice into their day as well. This could mean asking everyone to share what they’re grateful for using your company’s communication tool online or sharing a moment of gratitude over video calls before meetings.

4. Plan check-ins regularly – and not just about work

When there are hard times, no one is going through them alone. Draw strength from those around you, and focus on maintaining a positive attitude. Holding weekly check-ins with your team is a great way to help manage stress and keep up team morale.

Begin your calls with an emotional check-in, allowing your workers to take two minutes each to talk about anything that may be on their minds. Encourage workers to give suggestions and allow natural opportunities to help each other by creating a dedicated channel for discussion in your online communication tool. By avoiding isolation, you can make it easier for workers to stay positive.

5. Maintain your daily routine

During difficult periods, it can be challenging to maintain a positive outlook and take care of your mental wellbeing. However, it’s essential to prioritise your mental health and do everything you can to stay grounded. One of the best ways to do this is to continue with your routine as much as possible.

Be intentional with your time, enjoy your hobbies and find ways to maintain a sense of normalcy in your daily life. These habits can help you feel more in control and give you a sense of purpose during challenging times. By prioritising your mental health, you can better manage stress and maintain a more positive outlook on your life and work.

Creating a supportive work environment that acknowledges the importance of routine can help employees stay focused and productive during difficult times. Encourage employees to take regular breaks to rest and recharge throughout their day and disconnect from work outside of their working hours. By cultivating a culture that respects personal time and sets boundaries, you can help employees prevent burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

6. Improve your physical health

Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine and spending time outdoors can help you manage stress. Try to make a conscious effort to consume healthy, nutritious meals and maintain a balanced diet. Finally, prioritise sleep and be intentional about getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Employers can foster a healthy workplace by encouraging employees to incorporate physical activity into their workday. Some ways to do this include offering flexible schedules so employees can easily integrate physical activity into their workday or encouraging walking meetings. Additionally, providing health and wellness programmes, ergonomic workspaces and support for mental health can help employees feel energised and productive even during difficult times.

Helpful resources:

YOUTUBE: Yoga with Adriene

YOUTUBE: The Fitness Marshall dance workouts

YOUTUBE: Walk at Home, low impact workouts

7. Focus on your employees’ accomplishments

As an employer, you can boost morale and positivity by recognising and celebrating the accomplishments of your employees. Create a culture of kindness that celebrates not only the big wins but also the small day-to-day victories. Regularly acknowledge wins through company-wide communication or in team meetings. These efforts can help employees feel valued and motivated, leading to increased satisfaction and engagement.

Setting up one-on-one discussions with employees to learn from their successes can help you discover new ways to motivate other team members. Is there an employee who stands out above all others? Set aside time to speak with them and learn from their wins. Share those insights with your team.

Encourage your team to lift each other up. Recognising each other’s accomplishments can help build a stronger sense of community and support within the team. Celebrate milestones or achievements with events like team outings or lunches can help foster a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction.

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