Positive team culture starts with self

We all have the choice to determine if the glass is half-full or half-empty. Based on how the brain is wired, half-empty is much easier to recognize and focus on. Our glass half-full/empty perspective has a direct impact on the attitude and mood of those we interact with. This implies that positive team culture can only be cultivated by emotionally intelligent people.

There are studies indicating differences in how positive and negative information is processed and stored in the brain. As a result, negative information has a more significant impact on mood and is often more memorable. This is referred to as a negative bias and viewing life through this lens is natural. The influence a negative bias has on mood makes it essential to surround ourselves with positive influencers.

Negavite information is stored 12 times faster and more securely than positive information.

How To Be Awesome At Your Job, Episode #399: Maximizing Your Mental Energy with Isaiah Hankel, minute 24:20 - 25:40

Surrounding ourselves with positivity is a great start, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. The key to positivity is self-awareness. It takes practice and patience to become self-aware, but the outcome is worth the effort. It helps us recognize when our focus is misplaced and needs realignment. Becoming self-aware can help to replace the negativity and share positive energy with the people around us. There are many resources to help in the journey to self-awareness. Here are some suggestions to finding self-awareness and minimizing the negative bias.

Mindfulness

The ability to shut down the monkey mind and be in the present is a challenge. Studies on mindfulness indicate a physical change of the brain's structure and function that impact decision making and overall reasoning. Our experiences have a significant impact on our feelings and perception of events. Challenging assumptions and being mindful of our emotions can help us be better friends, companions, and leaders.

Journaling

Journaling is one of the best activities to become more acquainted with yourself. Even if you only have enough time to journal for a minute or two a day, the resulting insights are enlightening. Gratitude journaling specifically is also a great way to increase positive energy.

Sleep

One of the most important factors of our overall mental health is sleep. Getting enough sleep will help to reduce cognitive impairment along with improving mood. "Getting up on the wrong side of the bed" is the saying that comes to mind when describing someone lacking sleep. I have been guilty of sacrificing sleep to complete work that wasn't finished during the day. That strategy not only impacted my mood, it also made me less productive the next day and resulted in an infinite loop.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise studies indicate the benefits to include sleep quality, as well as the reduction of stress and anxiety. A simple example of physical exercise would be a daily walk. I started running in 2011 by taking two 20 minute walks twice a day. Those daily walks helped clear my mind and allowed me to focus on the present. Last year, I began a regular Yoga practice. The impact that Yoga has from a mental and physical perspective is undeniable.

Feedback

When we consistently compare ourselves to others, we reinforce a negative bias. This can result in a debilitating condition called imposter syndrome. Soliciting feedback from friends, colleagues, and mentors will provide valuable insight into the positive qualities others see in us. This perspective can be a mind-opening experience.

Positive Influencers

Here is a small selection of people that I follow on LinkedIn and/or Twitter that are pushing positive energy into social media:

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