Would Pharmacy Students Try Positivity Training If They Knew It Was Evidence-Based?

Once pharmacy school begins, we are thrust into a whirlwind of magnificent science… and extraordinary stress.


Our excitement of acceptance is quickly met with uncertainty about our future.


We worry we’re not doing enough while worrying we are doing too much.


We jump over the next big-important-thing like an athlete clears each hurdle. We believe that our hard work will lead to happiness.


However, our external newsfeeds are filled with unhappy colleagues and stories of a confusing healthcare system. Our internal newsfeeds are filled with anxiety and stories of I’m-not-good-enough.


Wait, where’s the positivity?


Psychologist Shawn Achor says: “Reality doesn’t shape us, but the lens through which your brain views the world shapes your reality.”


Instantly intrigued, I couldn’t wait to learn more. I consider myself a pretty positive person [it’s number one on my strengthsfinder] but I know many students do not feel the same way. In an effort to research this topic, I stumbled upon Dr. Achor’s TED talk referenced here. How could I explain his concepts to pharmacy students in a way they would accept it? How could I encourage them to try some of the things that have worked for me? Why would pharmacy students find this important or worth their precious time?


When I watched this TED talk, I discovered that Dr. Achor’s comments were backed by years of research in schools and companies worldwide. And if there’s one thing we tout in pharmacy school: researchers can talk the talk, but it’s the DATA that speaks volumes.


EVIDENCE-BASED takeaways from the TED talk:

· “…a positive brain performs SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than a negative, neutral, or stressed brain.”

· “Only 10% of our happiness is predicted by our external world and 90% is predicted by how our brain processes the external world.”

· “Only 25% of job success is predicted by IQ; 75% is predicted by our ability to see stress as a challenge instead of threat, optimism, and social support.”


How can pharmacy students apply this to their lives?


Like anything else worthwhile, it takes time. But not as long as you think – according to Dr. Achor, you can ‘rewire your thinking’ in just 21 days.


The steps are at the end of the TED talk video and although they may not seem new to you, perhaps this time – with an evidence-based lens that we’re all trained to see through – it will sound different.


How do you stay positive?


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