Creating a Positive Attitude
By Judy Braley
A positive attitude is a disciplined decision of the mind to maintain a consistently confident expectation of good results. John Terhune
I’ve learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. Martha Washington
All you need is positivity. The Spice Girls
I’m sure there are people out there who have naturally positive attitudes. People who were blessed to be born with sunny dispositions that weren’t destroyed or distorted by the negativity of others (parents, teachers, siblings or friends) as they grew up.
There must be people out there like this – but I am not one of them. I’ve suffered from complaining and negative emotions in the past, however, I have learned how to create a positive attitude in my life. For those of you who, like me, were not blessed with a positive attitude as our constant state of being, here are suggestions of how to develop and maintain one.
1. Take responsibility
Know that you are the only person who can create and control your attitude. When the coffee spills on your new white shirt, when your spouse/significant other acts like a ____(fill in the blank), when you don’t get the job you were dying for – these are all times when you have a choice of how to respond. Outside events can’t create your attitude. You create your attitude in response to how you think about the event. It’s all up to you. The outside world will always throw challenges in your path. You have to decide how you are going to respond to those challenges, and you can pick whether to respond negatively or positively. No one else can choose for you.
2. Foster a great attitude
The best way to do this is to feel good about yourself! How can you possibly project a positive attitude if inside you are beating yourself up? You have to develop a positive confident view of yourself in order to project this to the world. If you lack in confidence or you put yourself down, try one of the following exercises:
- Every day catch yourself doing something well and praise yourself for it!
- At the end of the day, instead of listing for yourself all the things you didn’t accomplish, think of all the things you did accomplish and praise yourself for that.
- This came from an article in Positive Thinking magazine – if you find you put yourself down, become aware of it by putting a loose rubber band around your wrist and every time you notice negative thoughts about yourself, snap the rubber band on your wrist and change the thought to something positive. You will get tired of the stinging snap of the rubber band and should find yourself thinking more positively about yourself because it will become a habit.
- If your lack of confidence comes from childhood abuse, get help at releasing that toxic negative residue. Know that just because some adult told you you were bad or you couldn’t do anything right, it doesn’t mean it’s true. Get help from a therapist, books, or seminars to clear out this old lie.
3. Work at it
Maintaining a positive attitude in the face of all of the daily challenges in life can be daunting, but you can do it. It’s a personal choice to believe the best about any situation. Start to become aware of what you are thinking and saying.
The other day I heard a friend complain that she could only catch her negative thinking about half the time before she reacted and got angry or started crying. And my response was that half the time is pretty darn good. That’s a long way from where she started when she was completely unaware of how her negative thoughts controlled and created her life.
We are all works in progress! Work at it – gently correct yourself when you’ve gone the wrong way and praise yourself when you get it right! Teaching yourself to have a positive attitude takes gentle but consistent work, just like training a puppy.
4. Find other people who have positive, energy-filled attitudes and develop relationships with them
When you are working on a positive attitude, you have to choose your friendships wisely. If you have someone in your life who radiates positive energy, try to spend more time with that person. If you don’t have anyone like that, try to find someone and develop a friendship.
It’s a law of the universe – positive people will energize you, and negative people will deplete you unless you have developed such a strong positive attitude that you can protect yourself mentally against their negativity.
5. Find your purpose and dare to dream
How can you create a positive attitude if you don’t look forward to anything? Maybe some people can, but I can’t. I have written before about finding your purpose and passion in life in my article Top 10 Ways to Create an Unlimited Life (Numbers 8 & 9) [http://growfromwithin.com/articles/limitless_life_article/]. Here I’m going to talk about your dreams.
Do you still have dreams or have they been squashed out of you as you’ve gotten older? Dare to dream again! You can do much more in your life than limited thinking will lead you to believe. To create and maintain a positive attitude for yourself, you have to develop a mindset that tomorrow can be more fulfilling than today. Your dreams are your vision of success. And if it’s strong enough, it is that vision that will sustain you when you face the inevitable set backs and challenges in life that everyone faces.
Dare to dream of what you want in life and commit to taking a step toward that vision every day and you will go a long way toward your goal of having a positive attitude.
6. Protect your ears and eyes
The great majority of the population of this world does not live life from the space of a positive attitude. In fact, I believe the majority of the population of this world lives from a place of pain, and that people who live from pain only know how to spread more negativity and pain. For me, this explains many of the atrocities of our world and the reason why we are bombarded with negativity all the time.
To create and maintain a positive attitude, you have to protect yourself from this negativity and pain. Be careful what you read, watch, and listen to. So much of what’s produced in the media is packed with negativity. When you are working hard at creating your positive attitude, don’t watch the news or any tv shows that have to do with violent crime. If something really important happens in the world, you’ll hear about it anyway. If part of your purpose is to help other people who are suffering, then learn what you need to know, but don’t expose yourself to unnecessary negative information. For example, unless you have a loved one on the plane, if you are in the US do you really need to know about a small jet that crashed in Russia? That’s negative news that can cause you emotional sadness, but that you can’t do anything about.
As far as tv shows are concerned, I have to admit to being addicted to watching CSI for while – until I really thought about how I was polluting my own mental and emotional state by being exposed to excessively violent acts, even if they were fictitious!
7. Read and listen to positive, inspiring material
Why read or listen to something negative when you can replace it with something positive that will inspire or motivate you to create more happiness, peace or success in your life? There is so much motivational material out there these days. Go to the bookstore or check out all the motivational cds available from Nightingale-Conant. When you immerse yourself in positive, motivating material, you can’t help but absorb some of it.
8. Celebrate yourself and all the positive you can find in your life
Okay, maybe this is a repeat of Number 2 above, but it’s a concept that merits repeating. Celebrate who you are, the positive things you contribute to the world, and the positive things that are happening in your life. It doesn’t matter how small they are!
What you focus on expands. If you focus on the negative, you will experience more negative. If you celebrate the positive, you will notice more of it showing up in your life. Realize that you have a very limited vision of this world, and that something you perceive as negative might really be a positive – you can never really know ahead of time. Mentally celebrate everything that you possibly can.
These are suggestions for developing a positive attitude from someone who has definitely had to work on it every day. When I wake up, I imagine a positive day ahead of me. When I’m faced with violence or bad news on the tv or radio, I turn it off. I listen to motivational cds in the car while I’m driving. And before I fall asleep, I think of the things in my life that I’m grateful for. I’m not always positive and radiant and joyful, but I am most of the time, and each day I progress further. And I can guarantee you life is much more fulfilling with a positive attitude.
Somebody I know who is very wise once said: “Lot’s of people will tell you this positive attitude thing is a bunch of garbage. Well, that may be, but I’d rather believe in a positive bunch of garbage than in their negative bunch of garbage.”
Me too. How about you?
About the author
Judy Braley is an author, an attorney, and a parent of two. Her personal development blog with free articles and information on inspiration for your life can be found at GrowFromWithin.com [http://www.GrowFromWithin.com/]. Copyright © 2007 Wherett Inc. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.