Thursday, May 29, 2008

Importance of Staying Positive

We can choose our perspective. Our choices in life will sometimes seem mundane and other times they will seem not to be choices at all. We can choose what we are going to feel or how events will affect our mood. Hope provides a golden paved road to a brighter future while negativity leads us down a path of despair. Our own negativity, or the negativity around us, can very quickly sink into us, undermine our determination, destroy our ingenuity and leave us in the depths of hopelessness. In all that we do, it is incumbent upon us to expend our energy on the positive, seek out ways to cling to the better part.

It seems odd that negativity seems to be more contagious than the positive. When we consider our news broadcasts, they spend over eighty percent of the time describing the bad things in our world, 10% on the weather and if we’re lucky a feel-good story will slip in. Is the world that imbalanced? Is there really that much more about our lives that is bad? Is there an 80/20 split? I do not think this is so.

A couple years ago, I cited Charles Swindoll’s thoughts on attitude. I think it applies today as well.
“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 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."
~ Charles Swindoll
The one thing we control, the one thing over which we maintain complete jurisdiction, is our attitude. The strength that can be gained through employing a positive attitude is significant enough to pull us through most situations. Seeking out ways to hold onto the positive attitude can be difficult but it can be done. Our trip down Positive Attitude Road starts out slowly because we are unfamiliar with the territory but it gets easier as we learn the way. Here is a few things that can make the trip easier:
  1. Be thankful. Expressing gratitude helps us recognize the positive and reinforces a positive attitude.

  2. Smile. You know the idiom, “fake ‘till you make it”? Well, it works with attitude as well. Smile at strangers on the street. Smile at children – they’ll always smile back. The power of a smile is extremely contagious.

  3. Use positive affirmations daily. Self-speak can be very destructive. We’re constantly talking to ourselves. Everything from “I’m too fat” to the sudden blurted “idiot” does damage to our attitude. We need to mold the self-speak so it becomes a powerful positive force in our lives. Replace the negative statements with positive affirmations. Doing this, however, will require preparation. Write down three positive things to say to yourself. Carry this paper with you and say them to yourself whenever you catch yourself saying something negative about you.

  4. Journal your thoughts. Writing is an excellent way to release frustrations, anger, hurts and fears. Holding these emotions within us does nothing but damage our attitude. Get them out, put them on paper, release them. It might even make you feel better to burn them once your journal is full. So, if you worry that the ugly words will come back to haunt you, burn the book.

  5. Release the anger. Let it go. Anger is very destructive. Holding onto anger hurts only one person: the one holding onto the anger. Anger eats at us until there is no room for anything else. Anger will not cohabitate with any other emotion. Where there is anger, there is no place for anything else.

  6. Be flexible. If we go through life with a fixed plan, we’ll be disappointed 99.99% of the time. Allow the unexpected to become positive. Seek out the good aspect of bad situations. If you cannot, always remember tomorrow is a new day.

  7. Avoid stress. Stressful situations can be fertile soil for negative feelings. Eliminate as much stress from your life as you can.
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
~ Herm Albright
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