It’s been said many times and in many ways: When you change your attitude, you change your life.
More and more evidence suggests that when we have a positive mindset, we reap both short and long-term benefits.
The attitudes we have about our self, about our life and about our world determine the kind of experiences we will have and how we handle them.
A positive attitude can’t prevent bad things from happening, but it can be a huge factor in how well we cope with the difficult times.
Starting the day feeling optimistic, positive and powerful sets the stage for making choices that set us on the path to living a more satisfying and fulfilling life.
How do we develop these positive attitudes? One day, one hour, one moment at a time. And it all begins with the way we start our day.
Wake Up and Power Down
When the brain is ‘idle’ it is actually far more active than when it is consciously engaged. In fact, when we relax and chill out, our brain’s resting state circuitry becomes highly active making it more receptive to opportunities for insight.
While we’re relaxing, our brain is preparing to take on the next challenge. So by powering down, we’re actually powering up to face and engage with the day!
One of the best ways to shift the brain into idle is through meditation. People who meditate consistently report greater life satisfaction, more positive emotions and are better able to access personal coping resources.  Meditation helps us feel more positive and enables us to cope better.
The good news is you don’t need to sit cross-legged for hours, thumb and finger touching while chanting “Ohm…” Meditation is actually much easier than that and in the morning, the simpler the better.
Start with taking a few minutes each day and simply practice becoming aware of your presence, your breathing and the stillness of the moment. There are also a number of apps and guided meditations available to help you get started.
Wake Up and Give Thanks
Every day, life presents us with many gifts. Some are obvious and we notice them immediately. Others are small and arrive quietly unnoticed. Practicing gratitude helps us focus on the present moment, appreciate our life as it is now and acknowledge those little gifts that make it so. It is in these moments of reflection that we are able to appreciate life itself.
Some days, it’s easy to see and appreciate those gifts. On other days, it’s hard. The trick is to keep looking and keep noticing! No matter who we are, no matter how tough the going has been, life has given us things to be thankful for.
Finding and focusing on the positive is a powerful antidote to negativity and remaining in the past; if life really is for the living, then it can only really be lived in the now.
Cultivating this ‘attitude of gratitude’ has powerful effects on well-being and feelings of optimism, hope and happiness. Research shows that grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, vitality, and life satisfaction .
One of the simplest ways to practice gratitude is to take a few moments each day to write down something that you are grateful for. It might be a person, an act of kindness, a place or an opportunity that came your way.
If you really enjoy writing, keeping a gratitude journal may work best for you. If you like visual reminders, start a gratitude jar or create a collage or sketch. Mix it up if that works better for you.
The important thing is to choose a way to practice gratitude that fits who you are, your goals and your needs.
The more you do it, the more benefits you receive.
Wake Up and Flex
Few things affect the life we live more than the attitude with which we approach it. Our attitude needs daily nurturing – or flexing – to keep it strong and positive.
A great way to do this is to spend a few minutes each day reading something motivating or inspiring. You may choose a special book or perhaps use a daily affirmation app. It’s up to you. Starting the day off in this way sets the tone for a positive day and nurtures that seed of hopefulness.
The subconscious mind tends to believe what it hears. All too often though, so much of what we focus on tends to be negative – what we didn’t do, didn’t say, didn’t accomplish. Left to its own devices, our subconscious mind will focus on what it hears the most and act accordingly.
To build a strong positive attitude, nourish it with positive self-talk and strong positive affirmations.
The Bottom Line
Doing things that create feelings of positivity and hope do more than just make us feel good. They have the power to help shape the focus, direction and quality of our lives. They help us to face adversity from a position of strength and confidence.
The big take away here is that a positive attitude can be nurtured and strengthened, bringing with it a greater degree of life satisfaction.
Faced with a choice between feeling positive and hopeful or feeling negative and apathetic, why wouldn’t we choose the positive? Put these few simple practices into effect every day, persist, and you may just unlock a super power you didn’t know you had.
Life is not happening to you. Life is responding to you.
~ Author Unknown
1. Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M. (2008). Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062.
Peter Field is a UK registered psychotherapist and board certified hypnotherapist. His hypnotherapy Birmingham and London clinics provide hypno-psychotherapy services for a wide range of issues. His extensive range self-hypnosis downloads are also available.
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