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Think positive for interview success…

Today, Wednesday 13th September is International Positive Thinking Day: a day to set aside those negative thoughts and see that the glass really is half full. This unofficial holiday aims to promote the idea that negative thoughts do more harm than good - they drain your energy, create more stress and can actually make you a less productive person. 

Positive thinking can have many benefits in all areas of your life. Studies have shown that positive thinking can reduce stress and the risk of heart disease, lower your chances of having depression and increase life span. Some studies have even shown that positive thinking can increase the body's resistance to the common cold. 

Implementing positive thinking when preparing and going for an interview, can offer tangible rewards. There is real power in what you think and it’s amazing how your thoughts and feelings determine how we behave and in terms of a job interview, how we perform. 

So, when you receive an interview offer, how can you use positive thinking to stop anticipation and enthusiasm turning into anxiety and negativity? Try using the following tips:

• Make friends with your nerves - No matter how good you are at positive thinking, you will always have some degree of nerves. A great positive thinking tool is to ‘make friends’ with your nerves. Although it might seem odd, when you feel your nerves, say “Hello nerves, thank you for coming. I know you are there and I acknowledge you fully.” By accepting your nerves it allows you to cope and minimise their power.

• Be kind to yourself - Speak to yourself with compassion and kindness. Be your own best friend and use positive words in your inner dialogues. 

• Beware of negative thoughts - Once a negative thought enters your mind, you have to be aware of it, and replace it with a constructive one. If the negative thought returns, replace it again with a positive one. This approach does require persistence, however eventually your mind will start to think positively and you will be more able to ignore negative thoughts. 

• Imagine yourself succeeding - Picturing yourself being successful at an upcoming interview will boost your confidence and self-esteem. Visualise walking confidently into the interview room and answering questions positively. This helps calm nerves and gives real confidence to the belief that you are the best person for the job. 

• Use the word could instead of should - Professor Steve Peters in his book the Chimp Paradox₁ suggests that mentally using the word could instead of should can significantly affect our emotions. Professor Peters wrote “The word should implies a standard or expectation. If you fail to reach that expectation then you have failed in your own world…should is typically associated with such feelings as failure, blame, guilt, threat and inadequacy…could does not evoke feelings of failure or set standards. Instead, it is associated with feelings of opportunity, choice, possibility and hope.” Peters suggests that we do have a choice; we do not have to listen to that unhelpful voice in our heads and can counter it with positive affirmations.

The power of positive thinking really can make a difference, as founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford wisely put it, “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” If the thoughts running through your head are saying “I’m never going to get this job” then there’s a good chance you’ll prove yourself right. So, remember to tell yourself, “I’m going to get this job.”

₁ The chimp paradox: the mind management programme for confidence, success and happiness by Professor Steve Peters.