Kids Can... 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 like smiling!  

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 stinks!" or "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 about it. 

 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.



Get support from others.

Don't give up.

Take care of yourself.

Give yourself credit for everything that you do accomplish.

Look for the positive solution

Notice the good
in the world, and in other people.

Have fun!

Better, not perfect.

Bad Attitude?


Recognize When Feeling Down Is Something Serious







 The 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.

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Better, not perfect.

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 on.).

 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 give up.

 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!

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You 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.

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Give yourself credit

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.

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Focus 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!


Look 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 this. 

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 can�t 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 out these articles from the National Institute of Mental Health:

  Let's Talk about Depression 

 Depression in Children & Adolescents

 Anxiety Disorders




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