Tell me who you spend time with and I’ll tell you how you feel. Sounds impossible? It’s not, really. You see, we often take on the feelings, behaviors, and attitudes of those we spend time with. Being around with positive people will provide benefits in your lives as nurses.
For example, let’s say you have a friend and colleague who are always complaining. She speaks negatively about the job, her patients, her personal relationships, and her life. She looks forward to spending time with you because it gives her an opportunity to vent and find relief. Once she’s through, she feels lighter, freer, and ready to go on with her day. She enjoys speaking to you because you are a great listener, enabling her to be heard and valued. That works for her, but how do you feel? Chances are you feel drained, deflated, and uninspired. Although your intention was to be a good friend, once you became involved emotionally in your friends negativity, you were brought right down with her.
Now on the other hand, let’s say you have plans to see a friend who is lighthearted, enthusiastic and embraces life with eagerness and zest. Thinking about this friend brings a smile to your face because you know you’ll be having fun and enjoying each other’s company. After your time together, you’re excited about the rest of your day. You want to capture every moment and see all the beauty that’s about you. Your friend may not have intentionally tried to alter your thinking, but her positive approach and attitude was infectious.
Which person is better for your health?
The Positive Person
Studies show that positive thinkers have a 55% lower risk of death from all causes and 23% lower risk of death from heart failure. That’s not to say that the more positive person doesn’t experience anything unpleasant. In fact, the positive, optimistic person mat experience more unfortunate situations than the negative, pessimistic person. The result of these experiences, however, leaves the positive thinker with a greater appreciation, perspective and sense of gratitude. They are grateful for what they see and have because they have something less pleasant to compare it with. When they encounter a stressful situation, they look for ways to improve versus letting it consume them. When a problem arises, they use it as an opportunity to find the most appropriate solution, rather than dwelling or magnifying all that’s gone wrong.
The Negative Person
They work much differently. They expect negative results and when it happens, it only confirms what they had originally predicted. They’re more comfortable judging, gossiping, or criticizing because putting others down offers them some relief from their pain. The negative person maintains the role of “victim” in a script she’s written for herself. She feels other’s are responsible for her “lot in life” and often uses it as an excuse to stay exactly where she is.
Within each of us is a broad range of emotions. As optimist doesn’t only experience joy and the pessimist doesn’t only experience negativity. It’s just that the optimist chooses to expect happiness, success, and pleasure and as a result, that’s what they find. The pessimist chooses to replay negative thoughts which lead to negative results. It’s a choice. We choose how we want to think, feel and act. Although we may be conditioned to think or react a certain way, if we don’t like the results it is our choice to change. That’s why if we’re working towards a changing the way we think, feel, and react, it’s important to be careful about the people you are spending your time with. Look for the minded people who support, encourage and inspire you. Limit your time with people who drain, upset, or frustrate you.
You Drive Your Life
This is your life. You are the driver of your car on the road to fulfillment, greater purpose, and happiness. While there may be many detours, you have the power to steer yourself in whichever direction you choose to go. If you want to feel good, steer yourself towards an optimistic perspective and let your relationship support your cause. If you choose pessimism, misery loves company and you’ll find many people welcoming you into their negative club. Life is a journey and we don’t travel alone. Who are you bringing on your ride?
You take the lead, make a difference. Be a positive person to spread the good vibes within your circle. You will never know, someone is inspired by your positivity.