The Power of Positive Thinking

Amanda_Wilson (1)

Date: February 10, 2022
Categories: Health Focused

Amanda Wilson, BSN, RN
Director of Professional Practice & Education for Nursing

Rewiring negative mental patterns for success

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has made a mark on the mental wellbeing of individuals across the world. For healthcare providers and our community – we have seen, grieved, and experienced a tremendous amount of stress since March of 2020. Who would have ever imagined, at the start of this, that we would still be fighting this battle two years later?  Could we have even handled knowing that it would be this long?

Our strategies as the pandemic evolved have strengthened and been tested as we forged through the phases of chaos to find order. We have also had to balance health and safety tactics with strategies for emotional and mental wellbeing, as we supported our nursing team to provide care for both our community and to each other. Burnout and mental wellbeing are not new topics in healthcare. This epidemic in our profession was growing well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Yet, as healthcare providers, we have had to face the ultimate challenge of applying this knowledge and research about burnout and mental resilience strategies into our personal and professional practices.

One evidenced-based strategy we piloted with our Augusta Health nursing team during the pandemic was the implementation of a program called MINDBODYSTRONG ©, which came out of the research of Bernadette Melnyk at The Ohio State University. This program is a 7-week cognitive behavioral theory curriculum that was built to strengthen the mental resolve for healthcare clinicians. The techniques and tools help individuals to cope with and build stronger patterns for personal wellbeing management.

You may have heard it takes approximately 3 weeks, or 21 days, to change a habit – but do you know how long it takes to rewire a negative thought pattern? Unlike a new habit,it actually takes 60 days of consistent practice to adjust negative thinking patterns. Not just 60 days …. 60 days of consistent practice! While it may be easy to know what to do, it’s not easy to always practice and adopt these techniques into a daily habit. Our thought patterns are automatic and may appear to lie inactive, often times we do not understand the powerful message they play in the background of our thinking and behavior patterns. Yet these thoughts trigger our emotions and feelings, which results in our actions and behavior. How we think affects how we feel and behave.

In MINDBODYSTRONG©, clinicians practice building skills to support better mechanisms for coping with stress, to reduce anxiety and other progressive and depressive symptoms that can result. As we look ahead to a fresh year in 2022, try adopting a simple phrase to help rebuild, or rewire, your patterns of thinking! It can be something quick like: I am calm. I am able. I believe in myself. These feelings are temporary. Practice telling yourself this phrase (out loud!) ten times in the morning and ten times in the evening – then commit to practicing this for the first 60 days in 2022. With consistent practice, you will find yourself transitioning to a new level of awareness between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Powerful practices like this have been shown to make enhanced neurological changes, or new pathways, in imaging studies. Take a step toward a new and healthier pathway for 2022 by transforming a negative pattern into a positive one that fuels confidence and success! You deserve it.