Try this scenario. You are one of fifty people standing in a bank when a gunman runs in to rob the bank. A single shot is fired and hits you in the arm. Are you lucky or unlucky? Why? (Take a minute to think through your response before reading on). This test gives you an insight in to your “explanatory style” – how you explain the nature of past events – lucky or unlucky. Now the people who thought they were unlucky for any number of reasons, such as being in the bank during a robbery or the odds that it was them shot (50/1). These people have a pessimistic explanatory style – glass half empty. The people who thought wow lucky it didn’t hit me in the chest or that no one else was seriously injured have an optimistic explanatory style and therefore are glass half full people. There have been many studies that show that our explanatory style has a crucial impact on our happiness and future success. This is even more evident in times of crisis such as during the GFC, being laid off, getting diagnosed with a serious health issue or having a serious accident. We notice people in the clinic that have this positive mentality recover faster and get better results with injuries and rehabilitation. It’s all about the having the appropriate mindset and the good news is that it is not fixed.
You can train yourself to see the best in bad situations. Of course it is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than others, but you can work at it. Something you can do to help is to analyse any situation and try to come up with positives from the encounter. For example if you are injured at football, instead of lamenting the fact you’re not playing see the positives; like being able to spend quality time with kids/family, having time to work on other hobbies and even catching up with your awesome Physio! Shawn Achor writes about this in his bestselling book “The Happiness Advantage” ($14 – delivered on bookdepository.com). He has a whole process to work through which I cannot do justice writing here but if you are interested buy the book.
James Mooney, PhysioFamily
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