We have heard the following sayings in one way or another:
“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.”
“A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don’t change it, you’ll never go anywhere.”
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” William James
How do we alter our attitude when it seems as if we have no control over how we feel? We often blame others for our attitude and suffer through it until it goes away. That does not serve us or the people around us well. There are some steps we can take to alter our attitude since it has such an impact on our well-being, our productivity, our mindfulness and our behavior. They are as follows:
• Identify what has contributed to the funky attitude: Was it something that happened at work? Was it an unkind word from a loved one or a friend? Was it a disappointment or negative “surprise”? Once we can identify the source of the attitude, we can begin to reframe our thoughts about the source and once again, take control. One reframing question I use is: Will this really make a difference and will I even remember it five years from today?
• Start a gratitude jar or journal: Identify what you are thankful for and write it down. Place it in a jar or keep a journal. Research on gratitude tells us that it makes us happier, healthier, and better to be around. It is very difficult to maintain a funky attitude when you have defined things in your life you appreciate. When we are thankful, we automatically feel better, are more positive and have more energy. We cope better with stress, we have stronger immune systems, and have a more optimistic view of the world.
• Look around you: Take the time to study your surroundings. Notice the small things that we often neglect. Are there beautiful books on your shelf? Is there a vase a special friend gave you right in front of you? Does the artwork you selected in your home speak to you and remind you of why it was selected? Even more basic, are you alive and breathing? Do you have today to experience?
• Start something new: Often we “put off “the things we really want to do because of the responsibilities we have right in front of us. One way to alter your attitude is to start one of the things you want to do and do it! This makes you feel valued and has a huge impact on how you feel and think.
• Give back: There is no better way to feel good than to give back to someone or something. It doesn’t need to be “big”. Buy some cookies for the new neighbor and write a welcome note and leave it on their porch. Take special time with your pet to give it a good brushing or massage. Listen to your loved ones without interruption. Call a friend or relative just to say you were thinking about them. Send a thank you email to an employee who has done a great job.
A positive attitude leads to happiness and can change your whole life. You have the power to change your attitude from funky to fantastic. Change is a choice…and it is your choice.