As published in the Huffington Post: 2/7/17
There are all kinds of theories about how to create a positive attitude for your life so that you are able to shape your life to get the most happiness, the most peace of mind, the most whatever it is you hope to achieve in your life. And then there is reality.
You get up every day and face the world – the world of traffic, the world of politics, the world of news, and the world of people you encounter socially and professionally. Your world is full of surprises, risks, brave actions and deeds – in essence, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, as you’re immediately waking up, you might think that it’s just not worth getting out of bed, or it’s too difficult to create the energy necessary to face the day with a positive spin.
The truth: it’s not that hard to cultivate positive attitude–optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm – because these three mindsets make everything in life and in business easier. Why wouldn’t you want to have an easier life?
A positive attitude can tear into you like a hurricane up when you’re down or lift you up like a rocket when you’re already “on a roll.” People ask me every day how I do so much at 73 years of age. They want to know where I get my energy. How do I do so many things in life? What drives me? Some people take offense that I have a positive nature about what I do and how I feel, so they simply walk away.
But, if you don’t want to walk away from a person who shapes his or her life with positivity, here are 5 ways how to cultivate your own positive attitude, regardless of what’s happening in the world.
1. Control your attitude.
You shape your life with the attitudes, either positive or negative. These attitudes translate into activities that reflect your positive or negative mindset.
You don’t have to get up in the morning with a negative attitude about what’s going to happen that day. You have a choice. Of course, there are challenges, struggles, and unpleasant encounters, but you can choose a positive approach to each detail of your life. By steadfastly holding on to your strong and grounded core beliefs, you can achieve what you truly desire every day. This is the way you honor your life with a profound sense of self.
2. Control what you let into your life.
Your core beliefs about who you are and how you present yourself in your personal and professional world will consistently keep away the negatives and firm up the positives. However, if you choose to let in the bad energy of arguments and other people’s anger, you will slowly sink into quicksand. Your life will be stall mode. Nothing accomplished. Nothing gained.
Today’s world is full of haters and seekers of division. Avoiding situations that cause you to feel bad about either yourself or others is crucial in maintaining the positive. Limit the bad stuff and keep your inner life in positive control.
Caution: too much exposure to news and media can result in flooding your mind with negativity. Negative exposure limits your ability to maintain a positive attitude; it actively interrupts your brain and makes you more apt to have a negative mindset. Turn off the television, radio, and monitor how much social media you take in. Read a book, ride a bike, go for a swim and decompose.
3. Create a litany of positive thoughts.
One of the most effective ways to strengthen a positive mindset is to meditate 10 minutes a day. Let all negative thoughts go by, release their hold on you, and focus more on positive mantras instead of limiting opinions.
The ability to let thoughts go by without labeling them as good or bad gives you time and space for inspiration, and even perhaps, motivation to create the most positive mindset. If you do this regularly, you’ll have consistent clarity of thought and the ability to manage your feelings when events don’t go exactly the way you’d prefer. Then everything takes on a positive spin. My yoga teacher used to say: “It’s all good.”
4. Watch your words.
Do you think you are more hard-wired to think negatively? If you do, you will certainly use more negative words on a daily basis. But turn that around and describe yourself as hard-wired to think positively. If positive is your bent, then the words that come out of your mouth aren’t just a reflection of what’s in your brain–they’re programming your brain how to think. Therefore, if you want to have a positive attitude, your vocabulary must be consistently positive.
It takes full awareness, full consciousness to process your emotions and put them into the appropriate emotional context. Most negative words relate to fear, shame, guilt and disgust and require more mental processing than does using positive words.
Try taking a mental assessment of how many negative words you use during the day and see if you can determine the ratio of negative to positive words you use. What’s interesting is that you have more negative words available to you than you have positive words. Hint: avoid the shaming, blaming, hate words. Focus on neutral words to express unpleasant situations, such as, “I’m annoyed,” and not “I’m enraged.”
5. Ignore whiners and complainers.
There is nothing worse than listening to whiners and complainers. To ward off people who have an ax to grind with the world, listen closely to how whiners and complainers couch their emotions. You can usually spot a “negativo” within the first five minutes of conversation. They spread their “poor me” life before you and tell you everything that’s wrong with their existence. And they want everyone who can hear them to be as miserable as they are in their world because they can’t bear to see somebody else happy and satisfied.
So next time someone asks you how you are or “how’s it going,” tell them that you never felt better – and mean it! That’s when you are shaping your life with the positive.