I'm actually finding writing this blog a somewhat surreal experience. Three weeks ago, we had a nice, neat little plan to share with you our experiences (both personally and professionally) through blogging; highlighting the principles of growth mindset and the importance of becoming mindset aware. Linking this to annual events and focuses that we felt compliment the work we are developing within educational settings and businesses. Now, we have times of uncertainty and worry, so when the plan is to write a blog about 'Happiness', you can see why this has been a struggle to write.
However, Grow Your Mindset are all about looking for the positives and with March 20th 2020 just around the corner I am grasping the opportunity to show the imperative link between emotion and mindset through The International Day of Happiness.
It has to be said that one of the biggest changes I have noticed since developing a more growth orientated mindset for myself, is how I have become more confident in my own abilities and also more aware of the mindset of the people around me. Whether that be family members, children in class or the Head Teachers/Teachers we have the pleasure of working with. Now, this doesn't mean I'm Dr Happy and burst into song at any given moment or have a rack of jokes at hand to spread laughter, but it has highlighted to me how the mindset of an individual, dictates their emotional state. Remembering that we all have a choice, in terms of the mindset we invite ourselves to be, fixed or growth, which inevitably impacts on the emotions we are likely to feel or display to others. Therefore, because I am working on developing my mindset, nudging myself towards growth feelings of confidence, pride, gratitude and of course happiness are more evident than fear, self doubt, worry and sadness.
Our thoughts and emotions have a profound affect on one another. Thoughts can trigger emotions (worrying about an upcoming job interview or exam may cause fear). In addition, how we attend to and appraise our lives has an effect on how we feel. One thing we've spotted when working with children in a range of schools through our Mindset Motivation programme, is that children/young adults often spend time overthinking where they fit in within their daily environments. Whether this be within social groups (thinking about their popularity) and classroom environments (thinking about intelligence ranking). As these thought processes are revisited daily they become associated with a particular mental state. For example, a pupil who is repeatedly humiliated for getting wrong answers, is likely to associate not understanding with shame or fear. This then becomes an instinctive emotional reaction when their fixed mindset is triggered by mistakes.
The influence of the person delivering the humiliation and then the inevitable self judgement is powerful and everlasting. Becoming mindset aware and seeing new mistakes as opportunities to grow, to create the person you want to be, as opposed to allowing other people's opinions and judgements to mould you, benefits positively to your emotional state as well as to your mental state.
I mentioned earlier the 'surreal' circumstances we currently find ourselves in with the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. This crisis has, within a short space of time, changed the daily landscape for everyone, not only in the UK, but worldwide. This enormous curve ball that has been catapulted at a rate of knots, has created challenges that were unforeseen to the general public, business owners and realistically to those in authority. We are definitely seeing people's reactive responses to fear, confusion and uncertainty and of course this will trigger the emotions to go along with them.
Amongst the mass queuing for toilet rolls, pasta, rice and hand sanitiser, I don't know about you, but I am noticing a slight change coming to the surface. A change in that people are becoming more aware of others, showing sympathy and concern to the needs of the vulnerable when maybe, in our fast paced lives, we are often quick to overlook, to get onto the next thing we have to do.
When you look at the reasons behind the International Day of Happiness formed in 2013, they state that "This International Day of Happiness is more than just a fun celebration, it also reminds us all that the world is a better place when we connect with and care about the people around us" (Dr Mark Williamson: March 2015) In fact their focus, this Friday is as we face a global crisis together is that we find positive ways to look after ourselves and each other. Whether this be being more considerate when shopping and thinking of others, to touching base with neighbours and strangers within our communities to assist and help where necessary to a wider consideration.
I also heard on the radio today, Martin Lewis - Money Saving Expert, talk about this wider form of compassion, in the form of forbearance (noun: patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.) All our actions will impact on others. It's our choice whether that impact has a positive or negative outcome. He talked about theatre goers for example who have paid for tickets and are demanding a refund. Could you forgo the refund and take a credit voucher instead for future use? Therefore considering the situation also of the theatre. If you are in rented accommodation and can afford your payments, continue to pay so it allows the landlord the opportunity to assist financially in areas where tenants are vulnerable?
It is clear our actions over the forthcoming weeks and months will have a domino affect, far and wide. Making calm, wise and kind choices will inevitably impact positively on the mindset and emotions of others. You may think your small contribution won't have an impact, so what's the point? Well, as Anita Roddick quite rightly said “If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” No matter how small a positive choice you make, it WILL have an impact.
And remember not just for this Friday, but everyday, happy people are better people. Laughter and humour will improve outcomes. People who are happy tend to be healthier, more resilient and more productive than people who are not. Laughter and humour improves communication, engagement, learning, mental health and wellbeing.
Keep safe, keep healthy and keep smiling :)
If you like what you've read, why don't you check out our other blogs about mindsets.
Or if you would like to know more about Grow Your Mindset click here.