Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Monday Meditation: October and Positive Attitudes

on October 10, 2011

I worry about who designates such observances as “National Positive Attitude” month for October. While it’s obviously about bringing attention to the concept in hopes of maintaining a positive attitude year round, shouldn’t daily life be about the best possible attitude? And why must a positive attitude be mandated to get people aware of their negativity?

There’s an article in Parade http://www.parade.com/health/health.html  magazine this week about the effects of technology on the brains of young people. As a teacher and parent, the information caught my attention. The piece narrowed it down to the dopamine affect; that goody-goody feeling we get in our brains when we win, connect, succeed, eat something we really like, etc. Apparently, the day care generation has come of age, and they are sitting in classrooms with a negative attitude because they are dopamine starved. Technology has supplanted kind words, gentle touches, warm hugs, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. What’s really sad is that the young adults in our classrooms and taking our orders at the drive-through windows are craving a hit. All they need is a hit of positivity for what they’re attempting to do and their attitudes will change for the better. 

There is potential for misunderstanding at this point. We are each responsible for our own happiness and choices and attitudes. This is Self-esteem 101, but the glut of kids corralled in an assortment of “care and learning” centers their whole lives has dramatically changed the dynamic. Remember when Hillary said, “It takes a village…”? She meant we’re all in this together and it’s our individual responsibilities to have a positive personal attitude and do what we can to help others have the same. If they want it. We’ve all encountered the gloom-and-doom persona who actually likes being negative. Don’t walk away from them. Run. Your own positive attitude is in danger of being poisoned if you hang around too long. But here is an idea for one way to spread your positive attitude without getting too emotionally banged up in the process.

Applaud someone for doing their job. Don’t wait for someone to go beyond the call of duty to get some congratulations out of you. When you call the health insurance company with a problem and the person on the other end does exactly what they are supposed to do and were pleasant about it, ask to speak to a supervisor, and tell the customer service representative that you want to commend their handling of the situation. When you get the supervisor on the phone, recount your problem and how well it was handled by the person you dealt with on the phone. “I just want to make sure that someone knows that this person is doing a good job. They handled my questions with professionalism and my problem was solved. I’m happy with the resolution offered, and if such a thing is available, I’d like to recommend that this person be recognized for doing a good job.” I’ve had supervisors tell me in detail about the candy bouquet or the certificate the rep will get at the next staff meeting. While some supervisors are not used to getting positive feedback on their reps, they are always grateful. I have never had this backfire on me and every single time I do it, the problem I called about was fixed faster than I could put the phone back in the receiver. It works online as well. Ask a customer representative if there is an online satisfaction survey they can send you, and be sure it includes a way to commend the representative by name. I’ve been given the email address of many customer service managers, and they always respond to me with a kind thank you.

Try this once and when you hear and experience the positive tone of voice over the phone and see the results, you won’t forget to do it again. Customer is the first word in “customer service,” and when a representative gets kudos from a customer, the positivity literally vibrates through the whole experience. I’ve done this with credit card companies, banks, cable services, and health insurance companies to name a few, and I don’t ever have problems. All I ever have are resolutions by people on the other end of the line who appreciate that I recognized their hard work. One thing I learned to say during almost every conversation is, “What will it take to____?” and I always, always get a workable solution that starts the ball rolling in the right direction. I feel better. The customer rep feels better. The company feels better. What’s more positive than that?

Next time you have any kind of a problem, look for something to compliment and watch the positive energy fix everything all year long.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.

http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer

http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb

http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.

http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey

http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

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Be well, write well

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