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A Positive Attitude (And How to Keep It)

How To Work On Having A Positive Attitude

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Positive emotions can be cultivated.

It takes work, but working on keeping a positive attitude is well worth the effort. For instance: 

  • Revise your thinking about negative events that happen. (this is known as "reframing"). For example:
    • If you forget to take your pills, instead of thinking "I'm stupid," consciously change the throught to "This kind of thing happens when I'm as tired as I am today." 
    • Just as you can interrupt an overtalkative friend, you may be able to interrupt your own negative thoughts and interpretations of the world, and substitute more positive ones. This is easier when you follow the interruption by changing the subject to something pleasurable.
    • Instead of thinking of your disease as a threat - think of it as a challenge.
  • Make a conscious effort to dwell on good recent and long-term memories.
    • Cultivate a sense of gratitude by "counting your blessings" each day.
    • Consider keeping a Gratitude Journal.  
    • Celebrate small victories and achievements.
    • Take the time to really look at the things around you. The world is very rich and is constantly unfolding. For example, watch a bird at a feeder, the way rain drops bead on a window, or a child's joy at eating ice cream.  

Improve the present

  • Make room in your day for genuinely rewarding activities.
  • Get busy.
    • Absorb yourself in activities to the degree you lose your self-consciousness and even awareness of time. If no activities come to mind, think back to what you enjoyed doing years ago. 
    • Volunteer to teach others something you already know.   

Manage negative experiences. 

For instance:

  • Forgive and forget unpleasant experiences. 
    • Let go of resentment. Nelson Mandela said that resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.
    • Avoid anger and hostility to the extent you can.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress to the extent possible.
  • Learn how to handle stress, anxiety and panic attacks. Consider such tools as meditation, deep breathing, visualization, yoga, tai-chi - activities in which you concentrate on the moment while tuning out external factors.
  • Work on changing your thought process.
  • Reach out for social support such as from friends and family, support groups or self help groups
  • If negativity becomes problematic, consider seeking professional help..

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