5 steps to a more positive attitude in life.
Irving Berlin is quoted as saying: “Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.” How do you “take” your life? Do you celebrate it and value it, or do you spend your life in worry, uncertainty, fear, burdened etc? We all know the adage that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar, but when people feel tired, upset, angry, frustrated, etc. it’s very difficult to be “honey-like”. The negative emotions don’t take too much effort to access or to vocalize. They seem to be right there, ready and waiting. Looking at and responding to life in a more positive way requires a little more effort and energy. It means looking at your life with an open heart and an open mind. Attitude is clearly a significant part of what makes our lives good or bad, acceptable or distasteful, joyful or sad, etc. If you feel relaxed, happy, positive, loving, etc., then an event will look and feel very differently than if you are feeling sad, depressed, lonely, angry, resentful, etc. How do you look at events in your life? Do you see only the negatives, or do you see the positives as well? Are you aware that in changing how you choose to view these events, you will actually change your attitude towards them?
Allowing yourself to choose your attitude is all about conscious living and empowerment. An event is just an event, and in reality, no judgment is attached to it until we place it there. The words good and bad are not really feelings, they’re judgments. We place these judgments on moments in our lives and then create an attitude about them accordingly. Do you look forward to starting each and every day? Do you wake up in the morning ready to face each brand new day, or do you wake up feeling stressed and harried before your feet even hit the floor? Creating a more open, loving, hopeful and positive attitude for yourself and the events in your life takes time, patience, practice, and, of course, a willingness to bring this change into your life. It doesn’t mean you have to see your life as perfect; it just means you’re willing to deal with your life with a different perspective. Your willingness to focus on your own energy and how you choose to face your choices, decisions, events and circumstances is where your true empowerment lies. If you believe that you have no choices, then in fact you will not. You may believe that you don’t have a choice about getting up and going to work, but in fact you do. Every choice/decision carries with it consequences. Are you willing to accept the consequences of your decisions. You may believe that you have no choice about work, but what you’re really saying is “I don’t want to face the consequences of NOT going to work”. Maybe you feel that your work is not enjoyable or meaningful, but in reality, you can choose how you look at your work. You bring yourself to your job, and you, yourself, are important and meaningful, thereby making what you do meaningful as well. Please remember: “What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” You can make the choice to bring this attitude into your day, and into your life!
5 steps to a more positive attitude in life: Your “Attitude Adjusters”:
1. Start each day just 5 minutes earlier: Stretch your arms and legs BEFORE you get out of bed to hit the ground running, and say out loud with a slow deep breath: “Good morning. It’s a brand new beautiful day; I am open to seeing all the good in my life.” (take another deep breath) Repeat with each stretch and each breath, then get out of bed and start your day. This simple affirmation starts your day with a new focus, and thereby a new attitude. It is, in fact, a brand new beautiful day (no, the weather does not have to determine your day) and you can choose to be open to all the good things in your life.
2. STOP! BREATHE! FOCUS! Every hour, stop and breathe and check in with your attitude. How do you feel? Are you tired, cranky, stressed, frenetic, etc. Take 60 seconds, just one minute, to breathe slowly and deeply and remind yourself of your morning’s affirmation. Take this moment (once each hour) to connect to something good in your life. Maybe it was a great cup of coffee this morning, or your train ran on time, or your morning routine went smoothly, or you had a great phone call with a friend or colleague, whatever it may be. Allow yourself to take this minute to look for something that you can feel positively about. Even if it’s just the fact that you can take a minute to stop and breathe and refocus your energies and attention. It can be small, it can be big, just allow yourself to embrace it for that minute. We all need periodic reminders to pay attention to our attitudes. This is a “do-it-yourself” reminder.
3. Acknowledge the choices you have and the decisions you can make. You are NOT a victim in life! You are actually empowered. If you see your daily life as just drudgery, then that is, in fact, what it becomes. If you see your daily life as one in which you play an active role, and make decisions for your greater good, then your perspective on your day shifts. We all know that when we have choices we feel better because we’re not stuck, and we‘re not victims. Sometimes it feels that the only choice we have is the attitude we bring to an event or task. You can choose to handle your obligations and responsibilities with resentment and stress, or you can choose to handle them with the perspective that because you matter, then whatever you do also matters. Once you start to realize this, then “What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” becomes real, too.
4. It’s easy to have a positive attitude when life is going well, and things are easy. The key is to find a more loving and positive attitude when life is hard. I know it may sound corny to say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but a big part of that is true. Every event is filled with opportunities to learn and grow, if we can just see and allow it. We can easily become cold and withdrawn as a result of life’s challenges, however, with a little practice and focus, we can be open and receptive to all the new lessons from which we can grow and learn. THIS is a CHOICE!!! In the moments of stress, tension, disappointment, hurt, etc. we may not be aware of the lesson, but we can choose to be open and receptive. You get to choose with which attitude you will face each moment.
5. Finally, ask yourself: “What is my desired outcome?” How do I want to handle this moment? What energy/focus do I want to bring to this situation. Take a deep breath and give yourself a moment to really focus on your feelings, thoughts and attitude. Maybe a situation is really out of your control, and all you can bring to it is your attitude,. therefore, If your attitude is positive, you will find that it is often more than enough.
Leave your thoughts and comments about what you do to stay positive, even in the face of difficulties… We look forward to hearing from you!
Join us on Wed. April 3 for our monthly teleseminar: Healing the Healer: Prevent and Overcome Compassion Fatigue On Saturday, April 27 we will host the full length workshop… (4 CEU’s approved by NASW)