Emotions Can Power Your Productivity

Many of us think emotions are entirely separate from our choices, our actions, our results, our productivity, and our success. But that’s not true.

Research continues to show that emotions – both positive and negative – are an integral part of ourselves. They don’t drive us just to laugh or cry, love or fear. They color our ability to observe, understand, analyze, and decide. Positive emotions enable us to perform at higher levels, while negative emotions subtly reduce our energy, drive, and brainpower.

This is why understanding your emotions in general, and your particular feelings in response to specific people and events, can help you cultivate a more positive set of sentiments, and thereby upgrade the results you obtain in your life and your work.

Here are some considerations about your emotions to bear in mind:

Gratitude Pays Dividends

Your life has positive aspects. Don’t take them for granted. Itemizing and consciously appreciating the good things in your life – including situations, people, advantages, opportunities, and successes – generates good feelings in your brain and your body.

The more gratitude you feel, and the more often you feel it, the bigger and better it’s effect on you.

Some of the ways you can try to feel more gratitude include:

  • Smile often and say “thank you” to those who are helpful. These and similar practices of kindness help to trigger actual feelings of gratitude.
  • Remember the past and compare the present to when times were not so good.
  • Reframe current adversity as challenges and opportunities. Reframe weaknesses as opportunities to grow stronger.
  • Keep a journal or systematic notes about what’s going well in your work and your life.
  • Become involved in a cause that’s important to you.  

Positivity Pays Off

Many of our positive feelings – inspiration, awe, strong connections with other people, and so forth – deliver important benefits in terms of health, happiness, and performance.

Expectations of success and positive emotions bolster your ability to think, to handle stress, to rebound from setbacks, and to perform at your best.

As you’d expect, negativity does the opposite. Expectations of difficulties or failure, and such emotions as fear, anger, and jealousy tend to reduce your ability to perform.

Some of the ways you can try to feel more positive include:

  • Don’t believe every negative thought you think. Notice them, then let them go.
  • Look for and enjoy the humor in everyday situations and events.
  • Spend more time with positive-minded people.
  • Take rejections and failures as opportunities to improve.

It’s Mostly Mental

World-class athletes clearly demonstrate that the most important difference between winners and losers is mostly mental. At the highest levels of sport, everyone can perform well, everyone is in great physical shape, and everyone has a solid game plan with detailed instructions on how they can prevail.

Barring luck and injury – most of the time the winners are those who are mentally the stronger and more resilient.

Some of the ways you can try to strengthen your mentality include:

  • Accept more challenges, and do your best to succeed at them.
  • Cultivate more caring and meaningful relationships.
  • Do more of whatever nourishes you.
  • Keep acquiring new information and skills, both by studying and by looking for what you can learn in everyday situations and events.
  • Slowly but steadily lean into your fears and aversions.
  • Work harder at staying in control of your work and your life, and accept more responsibility for whatever happens to you.

Practice these and other techniques as often as you can and you’ll soon discover what many people have known for a long time: the mind and the heart are the primary tools for productivity and success.

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