positive attitudeGoing through life can be a struggle at times, but a positive attitude can help you cope more easily with your daily affairs. We can all succumb to worry about health, paying our bills, our relationships, and our jobs, and this can hinder us from making constructive choices or being happy.

Let’s be frank, sometimes life is stressful and difficult, and we’re not always going to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, it’s important to do your best to try. A good state of mind can benefit you as well as others around you in many ways.

We know we are challenged by negativity. Science tells us that positive attitudes connect directly to our happiness and success. Our goal then must be to make positivity a habit; to work at it each day in small ways until it changes us for the better.

The Benefits

Believe it or not, physical, mental, and emotional health are all very closely connected. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2001 links a positive attitude with a lowered risk of heart disease in men and less thickening of carotid artery walls in women. A 2009 report in the American Heart Association journal correlates an optimistic outlook with reduced evidence of coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women.

“Thousands of articles in virtually all popular, medical, health and news journals tout the benefits of positive mental attitudes on longevity and many other positive aspects of aging,” says Dr. Peter Norvid, medical director for Heartland Hospice. “Optimistic people live longer, have closer personal relationships and are able to deal with the negative things that happen to them in a way that allows them to continue to be able to be there for others so that others can help them.”

You are going to be happier if you focus on the positive things in life. It sounds obvious, but it’s still something that goes over some people’s heads. People who are optimistic are generally happier than people who are pessimistic. When you are happier, you will enjoy life more, and you will be a greater joy to those around you. Not only that, but you will be able to think more clearly, which can help you resolve some problems in your life. If you want to be happier, try tweaking your attitude a bit, and you might find you have more joy.

Helpful Tips for Happiness

If it doesn’t come to you naturally, achieving a positive attitude can take some work. Like most things in life, the more you work at it, the better you’ll get. Here eight ways you can change your outlook for the better:

  1. Recognize the almost everyone struggles with the same fundamental issues (disappointments, setbacks, unfairness) and commit to not assuming a victim mentality from it.
  2. Always strive for personal betterment and take pride in each small step along the way. Setting goals will make you feel empowered in your life and give you reasons to celebrate your progress.
  3. We should deal with any complications that arise in life but there are many things we can let go of rather than dwell on. We should focus on problems only insofar as we can solve or learn from them.
  4. Take time out every now and again to enjoy a place, person, food, or song that clears your mind or makes you happy.
  5. Remember that there are many things in your life that are going well, or that you don’t have to worry about as a source of stress. If you need to write some of these down you can take the list out later when you are taken by a negative mindset.
  6. Learn to handle rejection. Not getting the job, winning the prize, or having the love life you want can be viewed as practice rather than an excuse to give up.
  7. Don’t get dragged down by others’ complaints. You can be a compassionate and helpful friend without making someone else’s problem your own. Always remember tip #3 applies here too.
  8. Make someone else happy. Negativity is often a result of a selfish focus. Making someone else smile can remind you of your effect on and place in the world.

If you find you are having a hard time taking the time you need to be thankful, find someone who can help you remember. Ask your spouse or someone you trust to ask you daily what you are thankful for. Hopefully, over time, it will become a habit. This alone can do a lot for your state of mind.

Baby Steps

Oftentimes, when people are going through what seems like an impossible challenge, it can be helpful to break it down into bite size pieces. Instead of looking at the ultimate goal or solution, take it one step at a time. An example of this would be a work deadline you have to meet. If the deadline is a week away, make a plan every night for what you need to do to get one step closer. This can help make the task seem less overwhelming which can help you remain positive.

Having a positive attitude can be of great benefit to you and those around you. Take a few minutes every day to find something you are thankful for, and do whatever you can to make difficult tasks seem a little less impossible so you can have better health and enjoy life more.

20 comments

  1. Interfaith Minister says:

    In Hale through your nose, smile and exhale through your mouth… Breath, smile and exhale… Small meditation on happiness…

  2. william says:

    Learning how to relax, as a way to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote good sleep,health and calmness is a key life skill.

    Relaxation is often overlooked in today’s busy, stressful, and sometimes lonely life.
    Stress/Anxiety is harmful and dangerous to our health,Body and mind, causing high blood pressure, in turn allowing our mind to wonder and this is when we get distressed and depressed

    Calming the mind and relaxation, focusing attention on breathing and relaxing in a quiet state will help to reduce feelings of stress, and anxiety and depression.

  3. william says:

    Drawing attention to different areas of the body by controlling breathing and calming the mind will help muscles relax.

    There’s a specific technique called “Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Release”
    This can be used at the beginning of a relaxation session to relax muscles throughout your body.
    This is only the first step

    Self-awareness:
    Is one skill of being aware of and understanding your emotions as they occur and as they evolve.

    It is wrong to think of emotions as either positive or negative but rather as appropriate or inappropriate and how to work with them.

  4. Rev. William J. Jaeger says:

    My best advice is a Course in Miracles.

    1. Judy Graf says:

      I agree! How can I see this differently ..

      1. Karen says:

        Read Dr. Wayne Dyers book titled…Wishes Fulfilled. Its a must read for every human on this planet.

    2. Brother John says:

      Eckhart Tolle has written several books that are both inspirational and instructive. “The Power of Now” deals directly with our perception of reality living within the restraints of “time”.

  5. John Green says:

    One thing that many people forget is keeping healthy. The old saying “You are what you eat” is very true. Your body needs exercise every day……being fit or trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, will enable your mind to overcome just about any negativity that comes along. I am 65 years old, and have all my life maintained a fitness regime on almost a daily basis. Folks make all kinds of excuses as to why they cannot take a walk or a short workout. You do not need to join a gym, to do any of this. You do not need to subscribe to a mail in diet balanced lifestyle, costing hundreds of dollars of your time and money…….just eat food that has not been processed by one of the large food giants. Processed food contains all kinds of setbacks to one’s health.
    Also, try and be around folks that are positive, and who do not dwell on bad news all the time. I know folks that just seek out bad news, just so they have something to talk about…..wake up folks, and avoid those negative attitudes. You will be fine in the end…………….

  6. william says:

    Good advice John G

  7. william says:

    Emotions effect our health also

    Exercise/Relaxation:
    This releases reward and pleasure chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, which makes you feel better. Being fit/calm also makes you healthier, which helps in managing emotions.

    It’s good to talk:
    Spend time with other people and enjoy their company.

    Don’t give in to negative thinking:
    If you find yourself having negative thoughts, then challenge them by looking for evidence against them.

    ALSO

    Stopping before you become anxious, angry, sad
    give yourself a chance to think.
    Think about how you will feel as a result of each possible action.
    Consider what might happen as a result, and how your decision might affect you and others.

    Would you be happy with those effects?
    Take some time out before making a decision.
    Consider the decision against your values.
    AND REMEMBER RELAX

  8. Betty says:

    You can get through anything if you have faith. I believe that out of everything bad comes something good. I just lost my job . I’ve been there 18 yrs and loved my job so I would never have left. Since I’ve been looking I found that jobs not only offer more money but great benefits. So I will find something much better then what I had.

  9. Beth says:

    I find my way back to feeling whole, complete and willing to assist others by allowing myself to embrace the disappointments and depression (emotions) as they arise. Even the lowest and most confusing feelings are natural to our humanness and can be used to help us all find our way back to ourselves, and to understanding in deeper more profound ways, the process of life.

  10. Will Davis says:

    Reflectively we all deal with our lives in different ways as long as it works for you then that’s good, be happy

  11. Minister Jim says:

    Strive to overcome the negativeness of the world. Give back to those in need and you will have a good feeling of greatness in your heart. This in turn will make you a better person in the eyes of God.

  12. Doug Schwinn says:

    Focus on the now, and what is in your face. A good read: The four agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz.
    Sifu Doug

  13. Brother John says:

    Most of us prefer happiness to unhappiness, so we gravitate towards what makes us feel happy and comfortable and avoid what makes us feel unhappy and uncomfortable. There are serious ramifications to this seemingly simple approach to life. The fact is, there is much evil and horror in the world today. As most of us are not directly affected by it, it’s a simple matter of avoiding any news or information that disrupts our happiness. But those who are living with the the effects of horror and evil might rightfully feel this approach to life is apathetic, indifferent and callous.

    Dr. Martin Luther King said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

    But what can we do living here in relative comfort, safety and affluence without disturbing our personal happiness? Probably not much until we recognize that “we are all children of the same universe” and accept that the well being of the billions of people we share this planet with is as important as our own. What are some examples?

    Loudly and publicly protest war. It’s pathetic to hear people supporting the wars in the ME and railing about the refugees they’re creating in the same breath. I’ve had many articles printed in local newspapers because of my ULC ordination. Some of us may have congregations as well.

    Learn about the beliefs of others that are different than your own. Instead of accepting what you’ve read about Muslims, seek out and meet some of them yourself. Visit a mosque. Do some research. Much of what we read today is propaganda to support the Business of War.

    Stop supporting corporations that lie, steal and cheat their way to massive profits. Personally boycott those with abysmal human rights records. Eliminate them from your investments. Who are they? Search “worst corporations” to get started. Did you know there are “suicide nets” around some Chinese factories?

    Most importantly, educate ourselves about what’s really happening around the globe. The purpose of the main stream media is to entertain us and maximize their profits, not to keep us informed. Internet access, which we all have, provides instant access to “alternative media” that requires little support from advertisers who filter the “news” of the MSM. The education process may involve challenging some of our beliefs and overcoming Cognitive Dissonance, a key component in the “staying happy” process.

    We need to ask ourselves if it’s better to seek the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, or live happily with untruths and mistaken beliefs. Could the search for truth and knowledge ever be considered having a negative attitude?

    1. Brother John says:

      apologies for the double post. The first one didn’t appear for a couple of days, so I re-posted. Could the moderators suggest how long to wait for a comment to appear? Are many comments not posted? If so, what’s the criteria you use?

  14. Brother John says:

    Humans, despite all of our seeming differences, are very similar at our core. We all seek love, comfort and happiness. How we go about this on our life’s journey is determined by a number of factors, and is heavily influenced by what we believe.

    It’s much easier for most of us to find happiness and comfort than it would be if the birth lottery had landed us in Syria, Libya or Afghanistan for example. Canada is one of the few countries in the world who’s population, for more than a lifetime, hasn’t had to suffer the horror of war on home soil, occupation by invading forces, mass starvation, pandemic disease or widespread catastrophic weather. That makes it much easier to find comfort and happiness in our day to day lives.

    But billions of people around the world are not so fortunate. At least a portion of their suffering is the result of our comparatively opulent lifestyles. Most wars are fought over the control resources to some degree, a portion of which provide us with some of our comfort and happiness. We don’t want to believe that we are indirectly responsible for, or benefitting from, the death, oppression and destruction that’s occurring. We want to be happy so we choose to believe the story that it’s all about exporting and defending our freedom and democracy along with our “good guy” allies.

    As much as we’d like to believe it, the world is not overflowing with happiness, comfort and prosperity for billions of people. Fear, death and destruction are part of their everyday lives. But not here. We’re able to cruise down the Highway to Happiness by simply tuning out news that is negative and disruptive to our happiness. This is made easy for us by the handful of corporations that control the media. Their income is principally from advertisers. The advertisers want listeners and readers to be in a positive frame of mind that’s conducive to buying whatever it is they’re selling. If that’s also what we want, it works like magic.

    Cognitive Dissonance is the phenomenon that occurs when our beliefs aren’t in alignment. It’s rampant in our society today as it becomes ever more challenging to maintain the illusion that everything is just fine and the future bright and shiny. Those challenging our overtly positive beliefs are often labeled as negative, “conspiracy nuts” and the like. We avoid taking any detours or off ramps from the Highway to Happiness for fear of what we’ll discover. After all, who really wants to visit Realityville anyway?

    Here are a couple of quotes that relate directly to the potential downside of “positive thinking” through the avoidance of potentially disturbing realities.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” MLK

    “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” MLK

    “A misleading perception or false belief is increasingly being perpetuated that the unconscious or the intuitive is all that really matters in any spiritual endeavor, and that the conscious, rational, logical, analytical mind is the mortal enemy of spiritual awareness and soul growth.”
    ― Anthon St. Maarten, Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny

    “There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them.”
    Anthony de Mello

    1. St. Peter Dabila Interfaith Minister says:

      Great stuff brother John I love it! But despite how even keel Canada is… Who wants to live there? Boring…. Lol! But I love the quotes. MLK always makes me cry!

  15. Sister Moira says:

    Yes, let us acknowledge the realities of suffering while maintaing a positive outlook.

    Outlook : looking out. Looking forward. Having hope. Believing in good.

    We have hope for the future, because the present has sorrow, anger, fear. We believe in the good, because we have seen the bad.

    Each exists defined by its polar twin.

    In moments of exctasy or after, let us also remember those who suffer and join them, so that we may lift each other.

    Namaste.

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