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Strengthening Positive Mindset

Written by: Jo Uff, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Why is it that sometimes we go through a day, thinking and feeling positive, whilst on other days we seem to be constantly triggered with negative thoughts and emotions?

In this blog, I share my thoughts about why we think, feel, and behave the way we do, how we give meaning to events, and how we can ensure those meanings are positive. I also look at how we can begin to shift our focus towards what we want to notice, so that we can maintain a positive mindset and get the results we want.

Let’s start with a definition of mental or psychological wellbeing: according to Mind (a registered charity in England and Wales), “we might use it to talk about how we feel, how well we're coping with daily life or what we feel is possible at the moment.”

One aspect of good mental or psychological wellbeing is having a positive mindset. That doesn’t mean being happy all the time and it certainly doesn’t mean that negative emotions are bad or wrong. All emotions are an essential part of us as individuals and expressing these emotions is fundamental to our wellbeing. Sometimes though, our negative emotions are unwarranted, and if they pop up frequently, they can get in the way of our happiness. They can ruin the next hour, day or even longer and often, quite unnecessarily.

They also make responding reasonably to a situation almost impossible, as we become irrational.Having a positive mindset is about taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, being able to create empowering rather than disempowering thoughts, and letting go of unwarranted negative emotions.

Maintaining a positive mindset all the time is virtually impossible, however, we can begin to move towards it if we can change the meaning we give to events that happen in our lives.

Why we behave the way we do

Have you ever been cut up on a roundabout? What was the first conclusion that you jumped to? How did that make you feel as a result? And what did you do?

It’s something most of us can relate to, right? And it can impact us for the next few minutes, hours, or even the rest of the day!

Here’s how it works: Information comes into our brain as a result of the events we experience; in fact, we are bombarded with around 2 million bits of information every second, only a fraction of which we are able to process. The information which makes it through will be linked to significant events that occur, experiences that draw our attention, or things our subconscious mind is focused on.

When an event occurs, we automatically give meaning to it. This happens so fast that we are not even aware of it. To give it meaning, our brain will do three things:

Firstly, it will delete information that does not fit with what we already know and believe to be true.

Then it will generalize the information, stopping us from looking for other explanations; it doesn’t have time to search for what else it might be, so it links it back to something we already know, have experienced, or to the beliefs, we have about ourselves.

Thirdly, it distorts the information, forcing things to fit with our beliefs and experiences to date by actually changing what we are seeing, hearing, or experiencing. This stops us from being shocked or surprised by new information and enables it to fit with what we expect or believe the world to be.

This creates the meaning we give to something, which impacts how we feel and generates an emotion or state that drives our behavior. Our behavior then often determines the result we get.

Giving empowering meanings to the events that happen

The first way we can give positive or empowering meanings to events that happen is to differentiate between a mind read and reality. A mind read is something we assume to be true rather than know is the reality. For example, I may decide that someone doesn’t like me because of the way they are behaving, but unless they have actually told me, it’s just a mind read!

And if it is a mind read, we may as well feel in a good place by creating an empowering, rather than a disempowering meaning.

If you find yourself giving something a negative or unhelpful meaning, ask the following questions:

  • What am I feeling right now?

  • What has made me feel like this, and what meaning have I given the situation?

  • How do I know that is true?

  • What else could it be? Maybe…

Decide what else it could be and choose to give it a different meaning.

So, for my roundabout example: maybe they were in a hurry to get to the hospital or the vets; maybe something unfortunate had happened, and they were in a rush to get to a particular place, or person.

Giving the situation a new meaning allows us to maintain a positive state and get on with the rest of our day.

Another way to maintain a positive mindset is to take ownership of how you are feeling; no one else made or forced you to feel a particular way! You have chosen to, based on the meaning you have given the situation and how you are choosing to respond.

Shifting our focus towards the things we want to notice, to maintain a positive mindset and get the results we want

We focus on the things we have strong emotions, thoughts, or beliefs about, and the rest goes into those buckets I talked about earlier, of being deleted, distorted, or generalized.

That works well in some instances if we are clear about what we want. However, if our focus is on less positive things, we’ll notice more of these too!

That’s why it can be so helpful to set goals. When we do this, we give our brain clear and positive thoughts and feelings to focus on, which will mean we are more likely to notice the resources and information that will help us work towards it rather than delete, distort, or generalize that information.

I mentioned clear and positive thoughts and feelings; our brain cannot deal with negatives straight away and will process the affirmative first (do NOT think of a pink elephant!), so if you find yourself saying ‘I don’t want…’, ask yourself what you want instead and give your brain something positive to focus on.

So, setting goals or outcomes can be extremely helpful in focusing our mind on the things we want to notice AND making sure those things are positive, helping us to maintain a positive mindset.


I’m off to set my goals for the next month. Next time you are having a day of being triggered with negative thoughts and emotions, try changing the meaning and see how it changes the result you get…

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and visit my website for more info!


Jo Uff, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jo has been coaching and leading individuals and teams to achieve successful, transformational change since 2007. Following a 30-year career within corporate organizations across various sectors, Jo established her own coaching business, dedicated to strengthening positive mindset and wellbeing. She is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach.

Having overcome her struggles, she is passionate about the importance of good psychological wellbeing and helping people rediscover the joy and embrace life as an adventure. As a mum to two teenagers, Jo appreciates the challenges of juggling a career alongside raising a family. She enjoys running regularly to support her overall well-being.

As a personal well-being coach, Jo helps women feel positive, confident, and full of energy to be, do, and have more of what they want in their personal and professional lives. She does this by working as their guide to altering the beliefs, behaviors, and values that are disempowering and no longer serve them.

Jo continues to work with organizations as a business coach and mentor, empowering individuals and teams to increase performance, achieve goals, and overcome challenges affecting their wellbeing and success.



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