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Self care,  Thinking

Attitudes: Breaking Bad

Did you know that the attitudes around us can have a massive impact on our own? It’s true: the people and environments around us can shape our mindset.

We all know people who seem to have a black cloud following them, someone who always seems to see life through photo of group of women with a variety of attitudesdark glasses. They often complain that nothing works for them; something always goes wrong. Generally, they are the only ones surprised when they cause — or experience — what looks like more than their fair share of adverse events. And speaking of surprises, do you know that spending much time around people who give off predominantly negative vibes can rub off on you and affect your attitude?

Bad Attitudes Are No Laughing Matter

But fear not! Recognizing negativity before it gets under your skin can significantly improve your outcomes. Negativity is no laughing matter — it can play with your health, productivity, and happiness.

So, how does something so destructive overtake so many people? External circumstances can play a role, but the primary source lies within. Our deep-down, root-level outlook on life is a powerful internal influence.

Let’s take a moment to think about another type of outlook: that of an optimist. Have you ever met someone who is always upbeat, even when things seem to be falling apart? That, friends, is what we call an optimist. Their attitude is powerful, one in which they know deep down everything will work out, and even the most difficult situations can provide benefits.

Optimistic Attitudes Are Future-Oriented

I’m not talking about toxic positivity; I’m thinking about people who almost casually go with the flow, knowing that their circumstances will eventually feel right again. While they actively search for the positive side of any situation and quickly make space for it, being ready to take action may take some time. Their contagious belief is something you want to take advantage of. This sort of person views setbacks as brief challenges with the potential to deliver even more positive outcomes than those they’d initially sought. Their focus is on the myriad possibilities that lie ahead.

Some people feel helpless, convinced that nothing they do will make a difference. The term “learned helplessness” is a concept that pertains to how we perceive our ability to control situations in our lives. Essentially, when a person experiences a lot of adverse events or circumstances, they can begin to believe there’s nothing they can do about other situations. They stop trying. When difficult circumstances arise, they get crushed, mainly because they believe something or someone outside themselves is preventing their forward movement. They do not seem to understand that owning the problem leads to a solution.

How you see the world around you determines how you respond to the people and events that throw you a curve. Not everyone starts with a positive outlook, but guess what? Your worldview can change as you experience different things and expose yourself to more positive situations. If helplessness can be a learned response, so can hopefulness and optimism.

puffins on gray rock

Attitudes and Evidence

Wherever you find yourself on the optimism/pessimism scale, there’s hope for all of us to become more optimistic. Learning optimism is the idea that you can train yourself to look at challenges in a more hopeful light. One way to learn optimism is to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs as they arise. Take a beat and ask yourself what — if any — evidence supports these dark thoughts. Keeping a gratitude journal can also strengthen your focus on the positive aspects of your life. Optimism isn’t about ignoring problems but about facing them with an effective problem-solving approach.

Your thoughts play an enormous role in shaping your attitude, motivation, and communication with others. So, even though rejections or bad book reviews may flatten a pessimist, an optimist sees a course correction, an opportunity for growth, and better things ahead.

If you can feel that surge of positive energy and exciting new goals bubbling up, you are well on your way to a stronger, more winning attitude.

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