Spring is the season when new growth begins and changes happen all around us. The days are longer and brighter, they are starting to get warmer – although not today, it’s freezing out there! – snowdrops, daffodils, and crocuses are starting to bloom and our emotions are lifted.
It’s a reminder that the cycle of life is starting over again, lambs will be born, trees are in bud, and blossom is starting to appear, so it’s not surprising that spring is also seen as the start of better times, we feel less lethargic and inclined to hibernate at home, becoming more open to changes, big and small, in our lives.
Spring is celebrated all over the world in a multitude of ways, different cultural traditions have fertility gods up to all sorts of antics in rural communities, pagan Green Man festivities, and the festival of Easter for those who follow certain religions. So springtime has always been marked in some way.
These festivals are a way of focussing our thinking towards positivity. How can you not be inspired to be optimistic and positive when spring arrives?
Optimism and Positive Psychology
Positive psychology has shown how important the emotions of hope and joy are to human happiness, and one of the key elements is optimism. Positive Psychology founder, Dr Martin Seligman, and others, have shown that optimism has a huge effect on us. Optimists have been found to become ill less often, recovering from any illness more quickly than others, and they also live longer.
Spring is a hopeful time for people, Dr Edward F. Mackey, the director of the Mind-Body Institute of Applied Psychophysiology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, said. “Spring can signify new beginnings,” Mackey said. Changes actually start after the winter equinox on Dec. 20 as the days get longer and longer, but the one-hour change to Daylight Saving Time helps with the transition to spring. “One hour to spring ahead, at some subconscious level, may signify moving forward, not stagnant, out front and pulling away,'” Mackey said.
Springtime has always been thought of as a time for change, you can embrace the sense of optimism and enthusiasm by having a good clear out – a spring clean. Spring cleaning is valuable to us as a way of clearing out any clutter from our homes and lives and bringing in the new, symbolising new beginnings.
New Beginnings, New Job?
Spring is also a great time to look ahead and give your career plans a spring clean – whether you’re going for a promotion, want to work smarter with your team, or are thinking of a completely new track. Here are a few suggestions of how to start:
Struggling to leap out of bed raring to go to work? Maybe it’s time to look again at what fires you up and which strengths you have. How well do you understand your motivators and skills, do you know what you want from your job, and what you can offer an employer – if they don’t match up with what you’re doing at the moment, discuss this with your manager.
- Talk to your manager
Whether you’re asking your boss for a new challenge or more pay, the way you approach the conversation makes a big difference. Strike while the iron’s hot to highlight recent achievements and successes and frame the conversation in terms of what you can offer, and how new responsibilities would benefit you and the business.
- Get some training
Once you’ve reviewed your current job situation, you may find that you have skills gaps – taking on more training and qualifications, or perhaps doing some out of hours volunteering work, can help broaden your skill set and open new doors.
However you choose to celebrate spring, we hope it brings you a sense of optimism – and some sunshine and warm weather.
Written by Sharon Stephens for Practically Positive