The popular expression “attitude is everything” may not be entirely true, but the fact is, optimistic people are more pleasant to be around. Positive people tend to have healthier relationships with others, live longer and beat physical and mental illnesses faster. Oftentimes an excessively negative attitude is a sign of underlying depression and best treated by behavioral health services. However, there are plenty of things people can do outside the psychiatrist’s office to improve their attitudes.
If you seem to be bogged down by negativity no matter what you do, work on taking control of your attitude. Here are a few strategies to help you get started:
1. Avoid negative news. This doesn’t mean avoiding the mass media, although too much bad news is bad for all of us and time spent reading sad stories should be limited. To stay positive, stay aware of your surroundings. Stay away from people who only complain and just want to bring you down. Spend time with encouraging people who want to see you succeed. Listen to positive podcasts. Read uplifting books and blog posts.
2. Realize that your attitude is entirely up to you. You cannot control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. Take responsibility for that. This is a difficult task to master and may require the help of a therapist or women’s group, but the benefits will be invaluable. Once you master feeling in control of your attitude, you will be more equipped to handle life’s unexpected unpleasantries.
3. Be grateful for everything good in your life. Even if you’re going through a rough patch or are unhappy with parts of your life, there are always things to be grateful for. Writing down five things you appreciate every day will help, but even setting some time aside each day to mentally feel grateful will benefit you and cultivate a positive attitude.
4. Learn to love yourself. For some people self-love comes easily, but some take a lifetime to master it. Accept yourself just as you are, flaws and all.
5. Keep the big picture in mind. By focusing on the long-term results you want instead of your short-term emotions, you’ll cultivate a more positive attitude. Every day you have a choice to make good decisions, no matter what you were faced with yesterday. Just think about how you will feel when you reach one of your long-term goals.
No matter how good of an attitude you cultivate, bad things will happen. Instead of letting them derail your mood, try to find the lessons in them. There is always something we can pull away from a bad situation. We learn from life’s difficulties and hopefully they help us become better people. Life is a journey, and we are all works in progress.