I don’t work as a nurse anymore, but I do work in a doctor’s office. The doctor I work for is relentlessly optimistic in the face of all adversity, and although sometimes I would like to punch him in the face, I find that his optimism is actually rubbing off on me.
How does he do it? What is his secret for being so optimistic and happy all the time? Here are three behaviors I have observed about him and how they can help nurses apply a bit of his mojo.
Any time something difficult come up or he hands me a big pile of work, he says smile and gives me a big, honest, genuine grin. Despite myself and my sarcastic leanings, I can’t help but laugh at his face, and it makes the awfulness of it a little easier to take.
Nurses could take a lesson from this and just remember to inhale, exhale, and smile. It is such an easy thing. I have found that his goofy grin and my return grin are enough to make me relax – no matter how cheesy the sarcastic part of me finds it.
Best day ever
Yes, he really does say this, and every day for him is the best day ever. We even have a sign that says that today is the best day ever, and he points to it to remind me of the fact throughout the day.
The interesting part of this strategy is anticipation. If I go into a situation thinking it is going to be the worst day ever, then chances are I’m not going to feel very good about it.
If I overcome the corn factor and approach every day as the best day ever, then maybe I can start thinking about how things are right in my day. A nurse could anticipate that they are going to have the best shift ever because they have a great team and great skills, and that would feel much better than thinking the opposite.
Finding the best in people
My doctor is always telling me how great a job I am doing, even if I feel like I am flopping around my desk like a fish on a dock. He doesn’t have to say a thing, but he chooses to encourage me.
Maybe this isn’t a way to be optimistic yourself, but it is a way to encourage optimism in those around you. When you are surrounded by happy people, you become happier yourself.
When you give into those sarcastic, negative, dark, and “yeah, right!” thoughts, then you are denying yourself the opportunity to make something good of a situation. Look: Are you miserable now?
Maybe if you smiled, you wouldn’t be. Maybe if you truly believed you would have the best shift ever, you would. Maybe if you gave your coworker a compliment, their happiness would bolster you.
All you can do is try it out. You literally have nothing to lose. And, hey, smile!