The power of a positive attitude
Optimism is the tendency to see life’s events in a positive way. It is the key ingredient to resiliency and personal strength. A positive attitude can also help you deal with the stress of life.
You can develop a habit of positive thinking. Remember: You cannot change what happens to you, but you can always choose how you respond to it.
Here are ten helpful tips for turning your negative attitude into a positive one.
- Don’t let your past dictate your future. Look at each day through new eyes. What is done is done, but you can learn from it. If you could change the past, how would you respond? Choose to respond today in that way.
- Take some risks. Try something new. Dream and create a “Bucket List.” If time-pressure and money did not enter into the equation, what would you like to do or accomplish in the future. Take a look at your list, pick a goal and work to fulfill your dreams. Realize that your dreams may change, but fulfillment may come through taking steps toward them.
- Make a difference. Volunteer. It can be as simple as providing a meal for a friend who is moving or serving Thanksgiving dinner to those who are less fortunate. When we help others, we take the attention off of ourselves and what may be a negative circumstance or viewpoint.
- It’s a fact that bad things happen to good people. Find your personal value from within ... not from circumstances. Focus on YOUR positives. Life has a way of bringing change to our lives. Sometimes it’s easy to get trapped in the “I used to ...” mode of thinking. Instead of grieving over what was, take a look at who you have become. What are the strengths of your personality? What is your value system? These are the determining factors of who you really are. Accomplishments may be nice, and while they may have some bearing on the current situation, they do not define you as a person.
- Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. The former makes you reasonable, the latter makes you optimistic. When we face negative situations, we can realign our expectations, knowing that this situation is temporary. By expecting feelings of sadness, we can focus on ways to shorten these times and look forward to the time when we are able to overcome the current challenge.
- Fake it till you make it. Choose to smile and the world may smile back. In recent years, the practice of visualization by athletes has been recognized. In many cases, athletes practice the “perfect performance” in their minds over and over again. Since the brain remembers these experiences, the visualization is actually reported to help performance. The same can be said of a positive attitude, practice even on days that start negative. As you “perform positively,” your brain will take over and odds are by the end of the day you will have a positive outlook.
- Encourage others. It is hard to be pessimistic when you are trying to lift someone else up. Creating a support system is a great way to foster a positive attitude. Just knowing that you can help others and others will be there to help you promotes a sense of well being. Sometimes a call from or a call to a dear friend can turn a negative outlook around.
- Keep a Journal. Is there a particular event or circumstance that makes you feel less positive? After you have written for a period of time, you will not only be able to identify the things that cause negativity, but also develop strategies to maintain your positive outlook. Reviewing the periods in your life when you felt most positive automatically changes your outlook and will help you put the current situation into perspective.
- Create a list of things you enjoy. All of us have activities, hobbies or literature that make us happy. Make a list of yours. On those days when you need an attitude boost, pull out your list and do something that makes you happy. It may be watching a favorite movie, reading a favorite poem or going for a 15-minute hike in the woods.
- Be thankful for the good stuff. Focusing on the positive aspects of our lives, family, friends, accomplishments and abilities can help push the insignificant negative thoughts out of our minds. Celebrate the good things that you experience daily.
Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean living in a fantasy land. Having realistic expectations and taking the positive experiences with the negative allows us to grow from all of our experiences.
Be careful you don’t mistake pessimism for depression. If you cannot seem to develop a positive attitude no matter what you do, PLEASE seek help. You may be depressed.
Stay positive at work.
Deadlines. Responsibilities. Disgruntled Customers. While these three factors can make having a positive attitude at work a challenge ... there is something that is even more insidious that could bring us down in the workplace – a complaining co-worker.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal® published an article that dealt with this very subject.
According to Sue Shellenbarger’s article,“What to Do With a Workplace Whiner,” which appeared in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal on September 12, 2012, exposure to negativity can have an adverse effect.
“Exposure to nonstop negativity can disrupt learning, memory, attention and judgment, says Robert Sapolsky, a prominent author and professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University. The brain, he says, can only handle so many stimuli at once before it begins losing ability to concentrate or remember—especially if that steady stream of negativity sparks distressing emotions.”
The article went on to give five solutions for dealing with this type of personality. If you find that a negative co-worker is influencing your positive attitude, you may want to try: changing the subject; retreating mentally; asking for a solution to the problem; moving your desk; or providing a limited amount of time for coworkers to air their complaints.
Read Shellenbarger’s complete article.