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How Positive Reflections Can Reduce Stress (Blog)

“While I write my next day’s to-do list, I reflect upon my achievements. And by doing this, I also try and listen to as good as I can how much fun and fulfilment I have gotten”.

Steve Jobs

Have you noticed when you reflect upon the working day/week that the negative events which have taken place have a greater impact on your mood and wellbeing than those of a more positive and/or neutral nature? You are not alone. This is due to the negativity bias which, according to NCBI 2008 is our brain’s inherent sensitivity to unpleasantness. There have been a number of studies (including Building Positive Resources, 2012 ) finding a positive correlation between positive reflection, reduced work stress and improved wellbeing.

As such, taking time to reflect upon the more positive aspects of your day may help lessen the naturally greater impact of the negativity bias. Why not trial this practice for a week or so whilst monitoring your mood. You can do so by adding positive reflection into your work routine (e.g., when writing your to-do list at the end of the day/or on the bus/train on your way home). Taking the time to reflect upon the more positive aspects of the day (e.g., what went well, key accomplishments, positive social interactions, humorous moments) helps get neurons firing creating more positive pathways in the brain (Neuroplasticity) which, in turn, may help improve your mood.

If you find that taking the time to reflect positively on your day does help to reduce your stress and help you to adopt a more positive focus, it may be worthwhile to include your positive reflections in a work journal in which you record these examples to reflect upon when you find yourself becoming overly impacted by the negative.

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