Why Nurses Are ‘Balcony People’

 In Nurses Weekly

Are you a positive person? Do you see the glass half full? Or is your mind trained to focus on the negative and see the glass as half empty?

An esteemed nursing colleague recommended Balcony People by Joyce Landorf Heatherley. She said it was life changing! Considering it is only 69 pages, I thought I could squeeze in some time to read it. The book starts by discussing evaluators and affirmers. How often have you been upset by the critical or judgmental evaluations of others or uplifted by the positive, perceptive affirmations of others? Do you replay the criticisms of others, or do you let the criticisms pass and focus on the positive words of your affirmers? Why do we focus on the negative, the criticisms, or our failures?

It is time for positive thinking. As Heatherley explains, listen to your “balcony people,” those who lift you up and are your affirmers and your cheerleaders. They provide you with positive comments and feedback. Balcony people encourage you to stretch and dream and help you to recognize and believe in your own value as a person. They remind you of how important you are. They love, respect, and truly listen to you. ”Basement people,” on the other hand, are your evaluators. They pull you down and tell you that you can’t do it and you are not going to make it.

Like many, I sometimes ruminate and focus on the negative words of my evaluators. Our minds may be habituated to focus on the negative, but we can retrain our minds. Now I am trying to focus on the affirmations of my balcony people, remain much more positive, and also be an affirmer and balcony person for others.

As nurses we are balcony people to our patients. We listen to their needs, care for them, and encourage them. But are we balcony people to our colleagues and loved ones? Take time to listen to your colleagues and loved ones. Be encouraging and recognize their special value and contributions. Remember, by helping others you will also be helping yourself.

Here are TEN tips to foster Positive Thinking:

  1. Listen to your Balcony People and be a Balcony Person to someone. Truly listen to what they are saying. Remind them of how important they are and encourage them.
  2. Start conversations with a positive thought. When someone asks, “How was your day?” focus on something positive that happened such as the lovely walk you took in your neighborhood instead of saying “I was so busy today and didn’t get enough work done.”
  3. Just SMILE:)
  4. Reframe your situation.Look for the positive in each situation. When I am in a traffic jam due to an accident, I remind myself to be grateful that I was not in the accident. I also try to use the time sitting in traffic to listen to music.
  5. Practice random acts of kindness.
  6. Keep a Gratitude Journal, writing down five things you are grateful for each night, and consider writing a Gratitude Letter to someone you never had a chance to thank.
  7. Be good to your body – Get sleep and exercise. Going for a walk outdoors has been shown to boost positive thinking.
  8. Practice positive self-talk – Instead of thinking “I didn’t teach my patient about his new medication today.” Try “I started my patient’s IV on the first attempt.”
  9. Take your sunshine vitamin – Vitamin D increases serotonin, the mood neurotransmitter.
  10. Listen to your favorite happy songs.

As nurses we are leaders, and we need to remain positive. Take time to watch “A simple trick to improve positive thinking” by Alison Ledgerwood or “Be Positive” by Jon Gordon.

If you would like to enter to win Balcony People by Joyce Landorf Heatherley, email healthynurse@njsna.org

Cheers and best wishes on your Healthy Nurse journey!

-Sue Weaver and the Healthy Nurse Healthy New Jersey team

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