Harness the Power of a Healthy Attitude

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”  ~Winston Churchill

Have you ever had someone say to you, “Change your attitude?” I find myself saying it frequently to my teenagers, and they look at me like I've asked them to morph into an alien. Bad attitude and teenagers go together like white on rice.

In spite of their age-appropriate resistance to a healthy attitude, I remind them that attitude is a choice. Regardless of your life circumstances, you always have to power to change your attitude. And what a power that is.

Your attitude is your disposition, your way of thinking, and the feelings that go along with those. A healthy attitude is characterized by a general sense of well-being and equanimity about life. You view the glass as half full rather than half empty. With a healthy attitude, you can respond to your life circumstances with balance, positivity, and control.

Why do we encounter some people, full-grown adults, with a healthy and positive attitude about life and others who always seem to complain and focus on the negative? It's true that one's natural personality and disposition can affect attitude. Certainly life circumstances and unpleasant situations can affect it. But those things don't have to determine one's attitude.

A healthy attitude begins with awareness which is the precursor to choice.

When you become aware that you have the power to choose your attitude, regardless of life circumstances, then you have the power to change the entire tenor of your life. Attitude is also a habit, a habit that can be changed once we have the awareness of choice.

Take a moment now to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is my general attitude most of the time?
  • What do my friends and family say about my attitude?
  • What situations or circumstances shift my attitude negatively?
  • What situations or circumstances shift it positively?
  • Do I frequently shift back and forth between a positive and negative attitude?
  • In the past, how have I felt when I've chosen to have a healthy attitude?

It is important to examine your “attitude state” on a regular basis. Sometimes we unknowingly fall into patterns of negativity that can diminish our sense of well-being and joy for life. Maintaining a healthy attitude is vital for many reasons:

A healthy attitude keeps you physically and mentally healthy.

When you have a generally positive and balanced attitude you are less prone to stress, anxiety, and depression. You are also more likely to want to take care of yourself, eat healthy, and stay fit.

A healthy attitude enhances relationships.

Your attitude can either attract or repel people. A healthy attitude  is very attractive. People desire to associate with others who are generally upbeat, balanced, and not prone to frequent complaining or negativity. This doesn't mean you must be happy all of the time. It means you regularly return back to the awareness and choice of seeing the glass half full.

A healthy attitude creates opportunity.

When your attitude is healthy, you are in a frame of mind to recognize opportunity and act on it. Your awareness is open and positive. When you have a bad attitude, you shut things out of your life. You are closed and resistant.

A healthy attitude fosters discernment, objectivity, and clear thinking.

When you are in a generally positive frame of mind, you have the ability to handle life's difficulties with more brain power. You aren't distracted by the cloud of negative thinking and feeling. Your mind is clear and able to discern the best actions and decisions in any situation.

A healthy attitude promotes learning.

Again, with a clear and receptive mind, you are more engaged in life. You are curious and interested in the world around you. Your mind and psyche are open to learning new ideas and behaviors. And accomplishment in these endeavors further promotes your healthy attitude. This is a way of building the habit of positivity.

A healthy attitude makes you appear more attractive.

When you are in a negative frame of mind, it shows on your face. It takes a tolls on your body. The most physically attractive people are those who are comfortable and content in their own skin, regardless of the traditional standard of physical beauty. Positivity shines from the inside out.

If your attitude needs a bit of repair work, try these ten steps:

1. Take a moment to evaluate your attitude. Ask yourself the questions outlined above.

2.  Ask for feedback on your attitude from someone who knows you well. Like having spinach in your teeth, it isn't pleasant to have it pointed out, but you don't want to walk around with it forever.

3. Challenge negative thinking. When you get in a cycle of negativity, turn the tables on yourself and challenge the thoughts with evidence to the contrary. Just because you think it doesn't mean it's totally true. Once you change your thinking, your feelings will follow.

4. Seek the good in the bad. Even when times are difficult or challenging situations arise, there is always something to be learned and gained from the situation. Take time to focus on that.

5. Let it go. Most things really aren't worth worrying about. Make the effort to drop old resentments, anger, and frustrations. Work to forgive people who have hurt you.

6. Stop comparing yourself. This only breeds contempt, jealousy, and frustration which define a bad attitude. There will always be people in better and worse situations than yours. And if you want to improve your life, a healthy attitude fosters achievement.

7. Seek out the beauty and good all around you. Let the wonderful things in life rise to the forefront of your daily perception. Look for them everywhere, in the beauty of nature, the smile of a child, the taste of a good meal, the warmth of friendship. When you seek these things out, there isn't much room for negativity.

8. Make life corrections where you can. If there are circumstances or events that consistently bring you down and effect your attitude, find a way to address these things. Don't just accept them or tolerate them. They drain your energy and rob you of joy that you otherwise might be experiencing. Don't settle. Ask for help from a coach or counselor if you need help.

9. Create accountability. Commit to a healthy attitude and back up your commitment by asking friends or family to hold you accountable with gentle reminders when they see an unhealthy attitude.

10. Begin each day with a choice. When you wake up, say to yourself or out loud if possible, “I choose a healthy attitude today.” Say it throughout the day or post it where you can see the words frequently. It is your choice in every minute.

A healthy attitude doesn't happen by itself.  Creating a healthy attitude requires consistent commitment, a plan of action, a support system, and lots of practice. Over the next week, pay attention to your own thoughts, reactions, and feeling, and see how you can begin small changes that will harness the life-changing power of a healthy attitude.

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Comments

  1. Apo Rageci says:

    I am very encouraged by this article! I want to thank you for the challenge and
    the opportunity it offers to a more fulfilled and rewarding lifestyle! Blessings! Apo.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Apo,
      I’m so glad you found it useful. Blessings to you as well.

  2. Hey Barrie,

    Today has been a “special” day for me.
    It started with that I was going to have a meeting. So I took the car with my wife, the meeting was right near where she has her horse.

    She dropped me off and I entered the building of my customer.
    The problem was that the man I was supposed to meet wasn’t there today, so I’ll have to meet him next week.

    No problem I think, guess I’ll call my wife and have her drop me off by the train station so that I can get to the office by 10 at least.

    I pick up my phone and … my company hasn’t paid the phone bill.
    So now I have a choice, I can walk up to the stables (which is a 1 hour uphill walk) or walk 2 hours down hill to get to the train station. (it didn’t occur to me to ask the company to borrow their phone).

    I chose to walk to the stables and wait while my wife took care of her horse and then have her drive me to work.

    This could have been a horrible start to the day.
    But instead I used that hour to completely plan out a new product I will be producing.
    The time in the stables to get everything I need to do today that doesn’t need to internet and by the time I was at the office at 12 I was almost done with half my day.

    In other words, I lost nothing and had a much calmer morning walking in the sun 🙂

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Daniel,
      Isn’t it wonderful when you can turn a crappy situation into a peaceful moment? Sometimes those bad situations actually offer us something wonderfully unexpected if we are calm enough to see it. And you were! Bravo for you.
      BTW, here’s a little tip I learned from my blogging mentor. Whenever you put your name in a comment, put your first name and then the name of your blog — like this: Barrie/Live Bold and Bloom. That way you are letting others know about your blog! 🙂

  3. Hi Barrie. Your words get me thinking about the question, ‘What is at the core of right attitude?’ I think it has to do with our attitude to life itself. Whether we see life as basically an injustice or a struggle, or whether we open our mind and heart to something more — the beauty and truth that is back of passing appearance. Thanks for a valuable article.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Yes, that’s true Christopher. I think it can be a learned behavior for many. If a negative attitude toward life was modeled by parents or if they had a hardship and never moved past it. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of negativity and can’t break free. It takes practice. I think anyone can improve attitude with practice. 🙂

  4. Great post. Especially the questions you suggest we ask ourselves.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      I’m so glad you found it useful Ricky. Thank you for telling me!

  5. Hey Barrie, very thorough post on the importance of attitude. Of course there are many things in life we can’t control, but our attitude is perhaps the one thing that we do hold complete jurisdiction over. And as you rightfully point out, a healthy attitude can make all the difference in our actions, accomplishments, and relationships.

    These are insights that can’t be repeated enough!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Thanks Steven. Yes, it is the one thing we can control. It’s like we can choose to wear clear glasses or dirty ones. The clear glasses bring the beauty of the world into focus. The dirty ones make everything look bleak.

  6. i read a book about it few years ago, so i’m very impressed from your writing.
    the quote: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” by Winston Churchill, is concludes all the other things. actually the power of routine it’s huge! thanks for sharing!

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Sapir,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments. Routine and practice are huge. A healthy attitude takes practice.

  7. Lawrie Hignell says:

    I have the following quote on my bathroom mirror: it says it all!
    ATTITUDE
    by: Charles Swindoll
    The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

    Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

    The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

    And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Beautifully stated! That says it all Lawrie. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  8. Reading this article inspires and motivates me at the same time to live a life with a healthy attitude. And i very much admire having a healthy attitude because of the good things it brings into an individual. I thing that having a healthy attitude allows you to become a better person and a better friend, sister, brother, cousin etc. to everyone. Attitude can lead us the way to a healthy life.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Yes, a healthy attitude does make you a better person. It allows you to be the best person you can be because you have that positive energy going on. Thank you for sharing this Hana!

  9. jenny123 says:

    The good things in life do not just come pouring in, they need to be worked on. The last thing you would want to do to make good things happen to your life is to think negatively. It is the other way around. Positive mental attitude is believing and working hard toward the best results in every difficult situation.