Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Designing Your Attitude

Let's face it.  Some days we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  Everything sets us off as if we are an angry, sad, and ferocious bears.  The sun though it may be shining, looks dull and dreary and even our best cup of coffee doesn't knock away the blues.  It happens.  We all have these days.

I realized that even on days such as these, we are all still in control of our own attitudes.  Even when we don't want to control our attitudes, we can consciously make the effort to readjust and start over mentally.  I'm calling this process "designing your attitude."  After explaining the process, I am including a printable graphic at the bottom so you can keep a reminder sheet handy on these bad days.

1.  Take a deep breath

Whatever it is that has you on edge can’t keep you from calming down.  Take a deep breath or two to remind yourself that you are in control and to allow your body to naturally relax itself.

2.  Count to thirty

Why thirty?  Thirty seconds is an adequate time to halt . . . long enough to stop your bad attitude in its tracks.  Consider this your time to think.  Think about why you are having a “bad day” and decide if you want this to keep controlling your attitude.

3.  Do something nice for someone else

Sometimes a bad day comes from an inward focus.  When we think all about ourselves, we are likely to be negative and focus on what isn’t good about ourselves or our lives.  Doing something nice intentionally, reminds us that it’s not all about us.  Let’s face it; it is fun to make others smile!

4.  Brighten your space

If you are in a dark area, brighten it up!  Open the windows on a sunny day, turn on lamps and overhead lights if it’s dark outside.  No one can cheer up in a dreary, dark setting.

5.  Find some inspiration

Whether you find an inspiring Scripture passage or an inspirational quote, give yourself a boost of perspective.  Here are a few good places to look:

The Bible - John 10:10; John 16:24; Proverbs 17:22;

Helen Keller - "Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows."

Franklin D. Roosevelt - “When you get to the end of your rope. Tie a knot and hang on.”

Mark Twain - "The secret to getting ahead is getting started."

Winston Churchill - "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

6.  Act out your desired attitude

If you find yourself stuck in one attitude, do something different.  Sometimes actions can override attitudes.  Smile when you are sour and you may begin to feel happy.  Go for a walk when you are angry and you may begin to enjoy the day.  Act out your desired attitude, and your attitude may adjust to your actions.

7.  Plan for success

Focus forward instead of on the present.  If the present is unbecoming, then focus on changing the future for the better.  Make a new goal to work towards.  Plan for something exciting and begin preparing for that time.  A future focus can improve your present attitude.

8.  Surround yourself with positive company        

Nothing zaps your attitude more than dismal company, but nothing improves your attitude more than being around a positive person.  Find someone who inspires you and make them a part of your life.  Also, stay clear of those who bring you down and make you feel worse about your life and encourage a bad attitude.

9.  Be productive

Nothing brightens a mood like a job well done.  Get off your duff and get moving!  Clean the house, clean your car, clean off our desk, or do a load of laundry, fold it, and put it all away.  If you are in a bad attitude and can’t shake it, couch potatoing it will not solve your attitude problems.  Make something happen and watch your bad day dissolve away.

10.  Choose your attitude intentionally

Contrary to popular American opinion, we are in charge of our actions and our attitudes.  Our actions and our attitudes are our choice, not to be blamed on our parents or any other person.  We decide how we act and how we behave.  Choose well.  If you don’t like your attitude, change it.

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