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Today’s guest post was contributed by Elissa Shuck, another cool innovation, creativity, and improvement connection met through Twitter. Based in the Phoenix metro area, Elissa is CEO and President of ES-STRATEGIC, LLC. With more than 2 decades of multi-dimensional leadership experience, Elissa has made a lifelong commitment to innovation, creativity, and improvement while striving to help other experience personal and organizational excellence.

In her guest Brainzooming post, Elissa makes the case for the daily decision to be optimistic!

Life happens; it can be good, bad or ugly and even the most positive outlook has a lifespan.

We get beat up on the job, in traffic and in relationships – all of which can drain even the most committed of optimists of every ounce of water in that “half full glass.” In order to stay positive amid the simplest or most challenging of circumstances, we must consciously and constantly feed our optimistic propensity for it to serve us in times of trouble. A Native American parable calls it feeding the wolf that represents this positive outlook.

Unfortunately, many of us have been feeding the wrong wolf for so long our brains have been conditioned to automatically look for the negative in a situation rather than the positive.

So how do we make a change? We must deliberately choose to “feed” the positive by retraining and renewing our way of thinking.

The good news is our brain physiology supports us in our efforts to make these changes. For instance, cognitive therapy offers some insight on how thoughts, emotions, and behaviors interact and suggests a technique that can be utilized to identify automatic negative thought processes and redirect them toward a new optimistic course. The technique is to not dwell on the negative thoughts when they pop up. Instead, we must stop ourselves at the moment of a negative response and then intentionally refocus our minds toward a better reaction or self-talk message. Practicing the new response by writing it down and reviewing it regularly will help strengthen the newly formed neurological pathway and reinforce the new habit of optimism.

Reading books and listening to speakers encouraging constructive, truthful self-talk can also be a way to condition our minds toward alternative, positive thoughts.

Glasses half full. Clouds with silver linings. Optimism is available to everyone, but it is a daily, moment by moment choice and must be deliberately cultivated. News flash to pessimists: you don’t have to be “realistic” any more. With a little practice and tapping into our natural brain physiology, the habit of thinking positively in any circumstance can happen in no time. Elissa Shuck ©2009 Elissa Shuck and es-strategic, LLC

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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