Nurture a Positive Attitude!
It's great to see people -- kids or adults
-- smiling and looking happy and relaxed. It's even better when
you're that person! But having a positive attitude is more than just
smiling all the time -- it's also what you do when you don't feel
Do you give up, beat yourself up -- or, do you
think of healthy ways to comfort yourself and let go of your hurt?
When things go wrong, when people are
mean or unhelpful, do you tell yourself "Why do I bother? Life
"Some people are troubled. I'll find someone more supportive"?
When you make a mistake do you beat yourself up, or
congratulate yourself for trying at all?
Below are some helpful thoughts for maintaining a
positive attitude. Click on one of the underlined words to read more
Remember, a lot of negative messages come at
us from television and other media, as well as people with negative,
limited thinking about life. It's important to give yourself
regular boosts of truthful, uplifting messages that keep you thinking
creatively and positively.
most important thing you will ever do ... is not give up.
The reason most people give up on things is that they
feel that there's just nothing they can do. They believe there's no
hope, that things will never get better.
They focus on what they cannot do,
instead of what they can do.
It is a fact of life that there will be some things we
can't change. But it is also a fact of life that we all have choices.
And we can usually take action or make choices that improve our own
lives and those of others.
And usually, it is hard to know just how much we can
or can't accomplish. The best approach is to roll up your sleeves and
ask, "What CAN I do, to make things at least a little better?"
With almost any problem, doing something means
that the problem has just gotten smaller. Each chunk of the problem
that gets chipped away, makes the remaining job that much smaller.
When we give up on a problem and just ignore it, it
tends to keep on growing larger -- like a snowball rolling down hill unchecked.
Don't beat yourself up for not being
"perfect"! Here's a newsflash -- nobody is!
Oh sure, other people may seem smarter, faster,
stronger, kinder, more dedicated to their cause and so on -- but
that's just on the outside. (And just at the moment you
observed them -- who knows what they used to be like, will be like,
or are like when out of your sight.)
Don't compare how others seem on the outside to
how you view yourself on the inside!
Usually when you get to know people better, you will
notice that they are a mixture of positive qualities and "growth
opportunities" (i.e. weaknesses, wrong ideas, insecurities, and
So...don't sap your energy and enthusiasm by
trying to be "perfect" (or even as good as somebody else
seems to be-- or thinks you should be). It will most
likely just make you feel angry or depressed. Remember, if what
you are doing isn't fun, you will eventually get sick of doing it and
Just be you. Expand on your strengths and
interests. What is fun and exciting for YOU to participate in?
Catch that wave, enjoy, and it can take you a long ways.
Remember: express your inner truth -- about what matters to
you. And then contribute what you are best able to contribute -- yourself!
are a gift
Consider this: you are a gift that you share with the
world. Nobody else has the same mix of experiences and abilities --
of insights and potentials.
Forget about all the famous people in the world, all
the stars and superstars, and consider instead that you have a
unique perspective or point of view.
Respect and share your perspective. Not because it is
the only one, or the only one that's right. But because it's the only
one you have. And because other people don't have it.
Maybe by sharing and honoring our unique
perspectives, we can create a bigger, more complete picture of the
world and how to make it a happy, healthy place.
So honor your own perspective. And remember to honor
the perspective of others also.
Don't wear yourself out always giving "110%"
in the process of trying to make the world a better place. This will
only wear you out, burn you out, and make you more likely to give up!
You can accomplish more if you can go the distance.
So instead, do what you can do. For example, if
you want to help the Earth and its animals by becoming a vegetarian,
don't get mad at yourself if you can't do it 100%.
Also, notice the difference it makes in you to
know you are doing your part. Most likely you will feel much better
for doing something, than for doing nothing at all.
Give yourself credit for every little bit you
accomplish. And consider the rest, to be room to grow in. But don't
dwell on it.
If you take loving care of yourself, including
celebrating your accomplishments, and taking time to have fun, you will stay strong, and stick to
whatever you are trying to do.
on the good in the world.
Remember to notice not only what you do, but what is
being done or accomplished by others in the world around you. Take
joy in all that is good in the world, and all the good that is accomplished.
Regularly take time to notice the good things that
happened in your day or week. Talk about them with others. This will
help you remember that good things can and do happen!
for the positive solution
When you feel like giving up, tell yourself to put
your attention on the positive solution -- know.. that there is one.
When you are feeling upset and overwhelmed, say to yourself,
"Let's put my attention on the (positive) solution." Then
imagine your mind like a radar antennae, ready to receive it.
Reassure yourself that you are receiving it, subconsciously --
that it is simply there and that when the moment is right, it will
bubble to the surface and show itself.
When some of our distracting thoughts and
feelings have settled, cleared out, then we can more easily notice
what to do.
While you are waiting for your thoughts to settle,
help calm yourself by taking deep breaths in and our through your
nose. Focus on the sensation of the air flowing in and out. Imagine
your muscles releasing their tension, and your whole being becoming
as smooth and effortless (tension-free) as this breath coming in and
out of your body. You can even count your breaths as they come in and
out. Try counting up to 10, then start over. Don't try to "get
rid" of distracting thoughts or emotions. Just let them be. But
bring your attention back to your breathing.
[When you are by yourself, set aside time to
practice a longer version of this exercise -- start out with 5
minutes at a stretch and gradually work up to 10 or 15 minutes. Try
to do this every day. Later on, if this is easy for you, try 30
minutes at a stretch.]
Experiment with this approach. See how it works -- or
works best -- for you. Always remember, it is important to
notice and honor our feelings. But, at the same time, we must see
these feelings of upset as being just a small part of who we are, a
small part of what our life is about. The feelings will not last
forever. The troubles or ideas creating them can change and get
worked out. But in the meantime, we must take care of ourselves -- of
our minds and our bodies. Just as it can be important to express our
feelings -- to cry when we need to cry, for example -- it is also
important to take a break from the idea or events that have us upset
or overwhelmed. The calming exercise above can be very helpful in
The most important thing is that, no matter what is
going on, you don't give up and despair. It's much harder to find a
good solution when you give up! You might try playing with the
notion that there is always a positive solution, and with the
question of "where does it come from?" Is it "human
intelligence", "good common sense",
"God/Spirit", or even "all of the above"!
NOTE: Remember, the positive solution may not
be what you had expected! In fact, there can be times when the
solution that will really lead us to greater happiness and well-being
may seem like a catastrophe. Be willing to have an open mind about
what the right choice really is! Be willing to step back and see the
bigger picture, and to tune in to your inner guidance-- especially if
you've been tuning it out.
Recognize When Feeling Down Is Something Serious
Be sure to also seek support from a friend or other trusted
person, such as a counselor, when negative feelings become persistent
or overwhelming. You should especially reach out for support
and guidance if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by...
sadness or crying that you canï¿½t explain
major changes in the way you eat such as not eating or over-eating
being crabby, angry, worried or nervous
feeling negative or not caring about anything
feeling guilty or worthless
thinking about death or committing suicide
sleep changes, such as sleeping more or having trouble sleeping
not being able to focus or make a decision
not being able to enjoy the things you usually enjoy
not wanting to spend time with your friends
feeling restless or tired most of the time
For more information, check
these articles from
in Children & Adolescents
thoughts on accomplishing your goals,
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