Focusing On Strengths…
At any given moment, most adults and some kids would be able to list all the things that go wrong for them. Everything from financial struggles, relationships, being in a bad mood, or just feeling overwhelmed. Most of us are very aware of the problems we have. We also spend a lot of time thinking about our problems. Being able to identify problems, weaknesses, or areas that need improvement is a skill we all should have. However, have you ever thought about how much time you spend thinking about what went wrong versus what you are happy about? If you’re like most people, the percentage of negative thoughts is much higher than the positive. What we choose to think about is in our control, and those thoughts have a major impact on how our day will go. How we think leads to how we feel and how we feel is what we become…sad, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed.
Thinking about a problem is a necessary process that allows us to come up with an action plan. The concern is when we focus too long on the problem and not enough on the strengths, abilities, acceptance, and the possibility of the usefulness of a problem. So often we hear students say: “the worst thing that happened to me turned into the best thing after all”. What starts out as a devastating disappointment turns into an opportunity to pursue something even better in the long run. If we only think of the negatives, we prevent ourselves from looking at the possibilities. Then, the problem becomes the problem.
Are you able to make a list of your strengths or things you are grateful for that is twice as long as the list of problems or weaknesses? If not, try reflecting on your positive aspects. It might just change your perception…and you might just realize your “problems” are also sources of strength.
How to remain strengths-focused and not problem-focused:
- Limit the amount of time you spend focusing on the problem–say, 10 minutes
- Three times during the day identify something to be grateful about
- Allow yourself to gain perspective on the problem–sometimes we find great meaning in our struggles vs a time when life is easy and we are happy
- Engage in a meaningful activity such as helping others…connecting with other people is one of the healthiest activities we can do
- Keep an open mind about the good that is around you and be willing and available to see it
When we focus too much on what’s “wrong” and not enough on the things that are “right” we affect our mood and the ability to problem-solve. Shifting our focus puts us in a better position to use our strengths and address and manage our problems. ~Happy Spring !!
quote: Dr Wayne Dyer