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How to Soar With Positivity and Calm

Everyone knows what it is like feeling overwhelmed. Over time, this experience can bring down even the loftiest attitudes.

But what if there was a way out of this mental state? According to two well-being thought leaders, a path toward positivity and calm is always available.

On Thursday, Dr. Arathi Rao, the founder of a health and life services provider called EmpoweredMind, opened day two of the 2021 NextGen Government Training Virtual Summit. Ryan Lowe, the author of a book about positivity called Get Off Your Attitude, spoke after Rao.

Here are five tips from Rao and Lowe that can help any federal, state or local government employee keep calm and carry on with a smile:

1. Engage with “eagles”

According to Lowe, “eagles” are people who bring love, compassion and inspiration into our lives. “Eagles” can be professional or personal, family or friends – anyone who carries others higher in their proverbial talons.

“One of the things to keep a positive attitude is to find positive people in our lives,” Lowe said. “They want to see you do great.”

2. Overcome “owls”

Unfortunately, “owls” are the alternative to “eagles.” Unlike their uplifting counterparts, “owls” can drain good vibes away from anyone they are around.

“Owls are those negative people, those energy vampires,” Lowe said. “I try to limit my time when I know I’m dealing with an owl. If you go in there prepared knowing they are an owl, it will go better.”

3. Become a lifelong learner

According to Lowe, cultivating a continuous interest in education can make people better and happier personally and professionally. For example, Lowe recommended that listeners constantly chip away at a book they are interested to grow and develop.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” he said. “Take 10-15 minutes every day and read. Be an expert within your industry and be an expert in your role.”

4. Avoid an overactive imagination

According to Rao, the brain’s imagination network can become counterproductive by conjuring up a flood of worst-case scenarios for us. Avoiding this tendency can help any public-sector employee focus more on mission success.

“Your imagination network creates all this anxiety,” Rao said. “When we think about things that have not yet happened, we project ourselves into the future and it takes us down rabbit holes.”

5. Take breathing microbreaks

Rao also recommended that listeners take a moment to practice mindfulness breathing every hour. Mindfulness breathing involves breathing deeply through one’s nose, counting to four and then breathing out a longer breath through one’s mouth with pursed lips.

“Pretend that you’re blowing a candle,” she said. “You’re going to be able to feel a lot of the stress melting away when you do this. You want to reset your brain. The default setting is fight or flight.”

How to Take Flight

According to Lowe, shifting one’s perspective toward positivity can make the difference between success and failure in all walks of life.

“We have a choice every day,” he said. “When we go to work or walk into our home or do things, we have to choose that positive attitude.”

To catch up on additional sessions and content from NextGen, check out our coverage here.

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