Do you ever have a day, where you realise your attitude has just been bad? It’s not that the whole day has been awful, however, no matter what good things have happened, your focus has been on all the negative stuff, and that has tainted everything else you’ve tried to do. Well, what if we could use gratitude to fix a bad attitude, and what impact would that have on the rest of your day?
I think ‘attitude’ plays a big part in what comes our way, and whether we have a successful day or not. Bad things happen to all of us at some point or another, but it’s how we choose to respond to them that is key. You’ve heard the theory that ‘like attracts like’, so if we transmit a positive attitude are we more likely to have positive and good things happen to us?
Last week, for a large portion of it, I’m ashamed to say that my attitude sucked! I could not get myself out of a very negative head space, nothing seemed right, and I struggled to see any positives.
Maybe certain people are naturally wired to be positive thinkers, and others are more inclined to take a negative stance on things. Down to a combination of nature and nurture, I have the tendency to be a negative thinker, and sometimes I have to work really hard to look at the world with a sunny disposition. Luckily I am married to a man that balances me beautifully, and he is always on hand to help me find the good on days were I am struggling to see it.
Yes, I could blame my bad attitude on being tired, grumpy, slightly under the weather, dealing with certain pre-menstrual hormones, after all these factors do affect our mood and behaviour. Also, ‘stress’, definitely has a big impact on my attitude. I think sometimes as grown-ups we have just accepted that ‘stress’ is an everyday occurrence, and that it’s quite normal to constantly feel some level of stress. Stress is something I‘m going to come back to and look at in more detail another time, but there is no doubt that it effects our attitude too.
So what do you do if you realise that your attitude is bad and has become habitually negative. Can you change those self destructive and negative thought patterns that happen?
Having used meditation previously a lot over the last 17 years, I know the power that a repeated daily practice can have. We all understand that by doing a physical action over and over you can begin to re-train your body; that’s what athletes do when they exercise, what dancers do when they rehearse, and what musicians do when they practice etc. The same applies to the mind and the brain.
I think though, that the word mediation can scare people off, as they’re not sure what’s involved, or where to start. There are, however, alternative ways to alter your attitude, which are relatively simple to understand.
Recently I heard about a really accessible way to use gratitude to start to change your negative thinking habits. By writing down three new things to be grateful for each and every day, for 21 consecutive days, you start to rewire your brain, so your mind starts to look for the positives instead of the negatives.
This makes perfect sense to me and there are always things to be thankful for; a cuddle with my daughter, a beautiful crisp winter sky, which is the most wonderful shade of blue, a surprise text from a friend just checking I’m okay.
Often we get swept along with a busy, stressful day, and we forget about all the simple good stuff that is constantly there. I’m hoping by focusing on three things to be grateful for, that it will lift me out of those busy days, and help me pay attention to the good stuff. Also by a repeated daily practice I aim to shift my thinking, so that my focus lingers on the good things that happen, or the good things I have, as opposed to what hasn’t happened, or what is missing.
If you are a bit skeptical, or concerned this all falls under the category of ‘self-help’, let me reassure you… There is endless reading on gratitude, and how it can be used alongside positive psychology, which is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. The key word here is ‘scientific’! This means there are scientific processes in place to prove, or disprove theories. Gratitude researchers, (yes, there is such a thing) are using studies to quantify their findings and support their research.
I’ve just started my gratitude journal, and will continue for (at least) the next 21 days. Let me know if you fancy joining in too. You can do it at any time of the day… whatever suits you best. You must write down three different things every day, and the more specific you can be about what you are thankful for, the better.
I have already noticed a small shift in my behaviour, and I really think that by having a grateful heart, I can leave those negative thought patterns behind, and find happy new positive ones.
Whether by transmitting a positive attitude we are more likely to have good things happen to us, I’m still thinking about that one… but this is what I know so far…
Having a super positive attitude can’t magically deflect anything bad from happening to you, but I do believe that the general day-to-day living could be smoother and more pleasant if we were to think more positively. I also don’t think it should be underestimated how far reaching the knock on effect that a good attitude can have. By being open and receptive, by saying yes, instead of no, you’re bound to find that a different set of circumstances come your way. To me it makes sense that our attitude determines what is reflected back at us, so why not choose gratitude next time you find yourself in a negative head space. I really hope you’ll find that it leads you to a place of positivity.
Would love to know what you think… Do you struggle to feel grateful when things are tough? Or perhaps you already use gratitude as a way to feel positively about life. What do you do that works for you?