The world is upside down and each one of us is struggling to maintain a positive attitude. We are tired of all these lockdowns, frustrated, angry, fed up, depressed and it's hard to maintain a positive attitude.
Just what is a ‘positive attitude’?
At a first encounter with someone it’s how you communicate your mood to others. Optimists always tend to anticipate a successful encounter when they greet someone by presenting a positive attitude. As a result, people generally respond very favorably, new friendships or business connections are created and a positive outcome to the meeting occurs.
The pessimists expect the worst. Their attitude is generally negative, they tend not to trust anyone or any situation, and people will tend to avoid them.
Where does all of this come from? To put it simply, it comes from inside your head with your thoughts. Attitude is a mindset. It is the way you look at things mentally.
What if you were to look at your mind like a camera lens? You can focus your mind on what is appealing to you. A situation you encounter can be seen as an opportunity or a failure.
I remember some of the meetings during my career days work. Once dreaded, they started to become interesting as I took control of submitting agenda items and participating. The way I looked at it, you can either sit on the sidelines or participate in life to facilitate positive changes for others as well as yourself. Sometimes that meant finding an alternative solution of not attending a meeting where the agenda was out of date because we had already implemented all the items being presented. A decision to not attend the meeting and do more critical tasks for the sake of client service, corporate deadlines and my mental well-being was a priority supported by management. It comes down to empowering one's self in order to facilitate change.
Here’s another story: I remember when my kids were young and very active in winter sports. One year they started downhill skiing through a school program. I really wasn’t too keen on the cold days of winter but if I were to see my kids more, I needed to shift my mindset. Instead of seeing the cold winter days as cold and bitter, I saw them as beautiful and embraced the beauty of the snow-covered trees and ski hills, and the added joy of watching my sons ski with their friends and fill the room with laughter. I dressed warm and outfitted myself so I would benefit from the exercise, fresh air and fun. I also got a great feeling of accomplishment by learning to ski and the bonus of family ski trips over the years. Those are all great memories I cherish today; moments I would have missed had I stayed inside and not learned to ski. My choice was driven by my value of family. I looked at the problem, developed a plan of action, and maintained a positive attitude living life to the fullest.
Perception is a very complicated process of viewing your environment and interpreting it. You have the power to concentrate on selected aspects of your environment and totally ignore others.
You are the camera, and you have the power to ‘click’ on the picture of your choice and make life what you want of it. Remember - it's a life YOU want it to be. Not what others think your life should be.
Think of your thoughts as a magnifying glass. You can focus and magnify the positive and feel better or you can magnify the negative and make yourself a miserable grump. You can make this into a habit that renders positive or negative results. If you constantly focus on difficult situations you will end up exaggerating the problem into a distorted and unimaginable outcome. A mental shift is required to magnify the positive; alternatively, when you encounter negative elements of a situation you shrink them. Once you start ‘clicking’ these images and highlighting the positive you will be on the right path to a ‘positive attitude’.
We are not saying to go through life as a Polly Anna with excessive optimism. That is not realistic and it’s a tad phoney. Your optimism must be genuine. A word of advice: you may be taken advantage of Polly Anna if you don't have your feet firmly planted on the ground!
The human factor indicates that when things go well, a positive attitude is easy to maintain. Yet we will always be tested by some person or a situation that will challenge the optimist’s ability to bounce back. Those who can regain their positive attitude quickly are well on their way to success. Those who dwell on the misfortune of the situation will miss out on what life has to offer. As an optimist and one who never gives up, I think of “Phoenix Rising’. I may be quiet for the purpose of analyzing, problem solving, regaining strength, but when it’s time, look out…The Phoenix Rises Again!
To win it doesn’t mean you ignore the problems. It means to make the most of each day, try to solve the problems as they arise rather than letting the problems weigh you down. A positive outlook gives you the courage to identify the problem, address it and take action to resolve it before it gets out of hand. By refusing to get angry or distraught, you can motivate yourself to assemble the facts, talk to others, determine your options, and then come up with the best solution now. Even if there is no ideal solution, your attitude can help you live with the problem more gracefully which will help neutralize its negative impact.
Sometimes when we are at cross-roads in life and we don’t know which way to turn, we become very emotional, confused and distraught. Those are the times it may be best to just do nothing but keep a positive attitude that a solution is on the horizon … just not today.
I'm leaving you with these questions to ponder:
1) What opportunity can you see for yourself in this next lockdown period? (Examples: maybe it's time to paint the house, clean the closets, take an on-line course, focus on your wellness, clean the barn, renovate, train a new colt, set up a backyard obstacle course to train your dog, work on your personal and spiritual growth, volunteer in the community...)
2) Name 3 things you can do over the next three weeks to improve your positive outlook on life. Write them down and begin one each week. (Examples: Identify what situations trigger you to think negatively; Stop, Sort, Shift. Stop the negative thought, Sort out the emotion attached to it, Shift your mind to a positive outlook; start your day with gratitude; do a kindness for someone else without expectation of acknowledgement; reach out to a friend or family member you haven't chatted to for awhile; exercise each day; daily affirmations)
3) Identify 3 ways you can congratulate yourself on your achievements that are within your budget. (Examples: look in the mirror and say, "Good Job!"; write your success in a journal; have a nice glass of wine with a candlelight dinner; wild flowers in a vase)
Above all, be easy on yourself when you begin to change your mind-set to a more positive one. One thought, one image, one click at a time. After all, your attitude is your most valuable possession so it needs some TLC and some polishing every now and then! 😉
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