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Last Updated on January 18, 2021

5 Simple Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude

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5 Simple Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude

Cultivating a positive mental attitude starts with a realizationa realization that you’re not the only one who has struggled, who has survived, and who has started over again.

You are not alone, and there is a way through the darkness. There is simple wisdom that you can rely on for help.

Find support, but also learn self-care in how you treat yourself, which is what positivity is all about. That self-talk, perception, and attitude you choose change you and those around you.

In a recent study, Stanford researchers looked at how the brain was impacted in achievement and learning when one felt or was positive about a subject. Unsurprisingly, outcomes were much more favorable for that student.[1]

We do well in areas we are positive about. But what if we can choose to be positive about, well, anything? That would change everything.

Positivity is not about just being happy, which is often the misconception. In fact, acknowledging a range of emotions is healthy. Positivity is persistence while using positive thinking strategies. It is sitting with your feelings, accepting what is, holding on to what makes you happy, and finding purpose in pain.

Here are 5 steps to cultivate a positive mental attitude.

1. Know That You Can Change Your Attitude

Maya Angelou once said:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

When you choose positivity as your attitude, you select an attitude far more destined for resilient behavior than the alternative.

When you have a negative attitude, your brain gives itself permission to develop negative thinking patterns, and, in turn, difficult and dark emotions. You spend all your days ruminating or worrying about the same thing over and over again, thinking that will solve it. Doing this will cause you to miss the answers rather than make the most out of the moments in front of you.

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In actuality, the first thing you need to do is calm yourself. It feels counterintuitive, but that means releasing your troubled mentality. When you release what is bothering you, you choose a safer attitude.

Attitude is everything. It’s how we heal ourselves, stay positive, and overcome challenges.

Without a positive attitude, we cannot persevere; Perseverance is the point of positivity.

Positivity denotes willpower. You can be standing in a storm and feel completely calm when you use positivity. Even if you get pushed down, you get back up again.

A positive mental attitude is about understanding you have power over your problems. Once you understand that, you can change your attitude. You have to choose positive thinking first to reap its benefits.

2. Find Your Unique Meaning in Life

When you have lost it all, a positive mental attitude can help you regain the strength to find your purpose again. It’s the best way to live and learn.

Recognizing the power you have to carry on, make the best of things, and to keep going when everything inside you wants to quit will lead to more success.

You can’t always have it all, but you can always cultivate positive energy. That power keeps you grounded and safe.

For example, say you lost someone to a disease. Instead of just thinking about the loss and seeing it as the end, a positive person may decide to contribute to a cause dedicated to that disease. In doing so, the positive person becomes a beacon of hope, which gives them power over their hardship through positive emotions.

This is how people keep going: meaning. Meaning creates power over our emotions so that they do not define us.

Positivity affects one’s stress levels and overall health.[2] When you are positive about a situation, you are less stressed and calmer and can reason better to solve the problem in front of you.

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Cultivating this power is about realizing that a sense of meaning can be derived from all circumstances, even senseless tragedies.

You don’t always have to have a reason for why something happens, but you can use whatever happens for a greater cause.

“Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it. Let go of your mind then be mindful. Close your ears and listen.” -Rumi

3. Be Absolutely Present

In life, you have control over your ability to be present in the moment if you spend time practicing mindfulness.

A positive mental attitude is telling yourself that this moment is what matters. You can’t regret the past or see the future. The only way to be positive is to be here.

What do you have right in front of you that you are grateful for? Listing what makes us happy in a gratitude journal is one way to start developing a positive mindset[3].

Be present to cultivate a positive mental attitude

    Some techniques to getting there are through meditations or mantras.

    For example, “Nothing bad is happening right now” is an easy one to incorporate. Your past traumas can’t trip you when you ground yourself in the present, and your ability to reason further develops to the point that even if you can’t see the future, you know it will play out like thiswith you empowered and in the moment, using all your wisdom and tools and positivity to persevere.[4]

    Think about the past and future in small, manageable doses, but focus mostly on the present. This will reduce worrying, stress, and other negative emotions significantly.

    If you can’t seem to get grounded in the now, try mindfulness meditation.

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    4. Practice Self-Love

    Self-talk is the core of self-lovethe core of what a positive mental attitude is all about. We have to help ourselves first before we can help others.

    What we say to ourselves is how we practice positivity or put it into action.

    For example, there’s a children’s book called The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, where the train thinks, “I think I can, I think I can” throughout its journey. Of course, it was able to complete the difficult moments along its route.

    This is also how self-love works. What you tell yourself is powerful and makes its mark.

    Here are examples of things you could tell yourself to practice positivity: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

    When you write these positive mantras, you start to feel them. If you write “I am positive about this situation” enough times, you will start to feel that positivity seep in.

    Loving yourself is not going to be easy and cannot be done overnight. There will be a mess of feelings, regrets, negative self-talk, and more that you will have to carefully tiptoe through to hold your own heart.

    Your heart needs love, and often we deny what it needs in pursuit of purposeless pleasures, such as external rewards rather than internal motivation for a life well-lived.

    Loving yourself needs to come from an authentic place, not a “fake it ’til you make it” mentality. You have to start within and do the work necessary to heal and be healthy. Try these 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself.

    5. Avoid Toxic Positivity

    Avoid the white-knuckling type of positivity where you don’t acknowledge your struggles or pain (as they also serve you). You don’t just want to tell yourself to move on because that equates to repression.

    Emotions are part of positivity. You want to sit with your feelings, acknowledge them, and give them a voice. Instead of telling yourself to move on, let your emotions lead to a breakthrough that helps you cope with the changes in life[5].

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    Avoid toxic positive for a positive mental attitude

      The greatest misconception made about being positive is assuming one does not have to feel in order to change. Throwing away hurt, anger, grief, sadness, and all those emotions we associate with being “negative” only thwart our growth and power.

      Positivity is not about wearing a mask; it is the opposite of a mask. It is freedom from negative thinking strategies such as jumping to conclusions, black or white thinking, worst-case scenario assumptions, and more. It’s acknowledging that there may be more strength or ability in you than previously assumed.

      Toxic positivity may suggest you simply put a smile on and act fine. That’s not real positivity.

      Healthy positivity is about showing up when you’re tired; loving when you are feeling loss; healing when you want to cling to your hurt. It’s the realization that you are worth it, not worth writing off.

      Final Thoughts

      You’re not going to want to develop a positive mental attitude every second of every day. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel, but even then, recognizing the power of positivity will better your days and see you through your trials.

      Positivity is about being curious enough to stay for the outcome because you simply believe, hold onto, and trust in yourself and some goodness in this world. That’s enough to keep one going, and enough to help them go from surviving to thriving.

      You can start at any time. Positivity can be like a switch of perception. Once you uplift yourself, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. And soon, you’ll be onto uplifting others, which helps even more.

      Positivity is contagious and great for your mental health. It spreads like sunlight over the darkness, and you can be the source of that sunlight.

      More About Having a Positive Mental Attitude

      Featured photo credit: Court Prather via unsplash.com

      Reference

      More by this author

      Sarah Browne

      Sarah is a speaker, writer and activist

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      Last Updated on July 21, 2021

      How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

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      How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

      When someone says, “I can’t do it” . . . I say to myself, “What do you mean you can’t do it?” Maybe you don’t want to do it, but saying you “can’t” do it is a completely different story.

      With the right mindset, positive attitude, and a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, the only thing that is holding you back is yourself.

      Can’t is a terrible word and it has to be taken out of your vocabulary.

      By saying you can’t do something, you’re already doubting yourself, submitting to defeat, and you’re making that barrier around your life tighter.

      So today, right now, we are going to remove this word for good.

      From now on there is nothing we can’t do.

      “Attitude is Tattoo”

      Your attitude is everything; it’s your reason, your why and how, your facial expression, emotions, body language, and potentially the end result. How you approach an opportunity, and the result of it, is solely based on you — not your boss or your co-worker or friend.

      If you enter a business meeting with a sour attitude, that negative energy can spread like wildfire. People can also feel it — maybe even taste it. This is not an impression you want to leave.

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      Now imagine you enter a business meeting with a positive attitude, that whatever happens in here is going to be your result, in your control, not someone else’s. Of course, we can’t always win, but even if the outcome is negative, your attitude and perception can turn it into a positive. The question is: can you do it?

      Of course you can, because there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

      It’s much better to be known for your positive attitude — your poise, your energy, the reason why things go so well because you are able to maintain such character. A negative attitude is easy. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to be mad, and it’s even easier to do nothing to change it.

      When I say your “attitude is tattoo”, it sounds permanent. Tattoos can be removed, but that’s not the point. Your attitude is like a tattoo because you wear it. People can see it and sometimes, they will judge you on it. If you maintain a negative attitude, then it is permanent until you change it.

      Change your attitude and I guarantee the results change as well.

      Believe You Can Do It

      Do you know why most people say “can’t” and doubt themselves before trying anything?

      It’s our lack of self-confidence and fear on many different levels. The one thing we have to purge from ourselves is fear — fear of bad results, fear of change, fear of denial, fear of loss, the fear that makes us worry and lose sleep. Worrying is the same as going outside with an umbrella, waiting for rain to hit it. Stop worrying and move on.

      Confidence is fragile: It builds up slowly, but can shatter like glass. Project your confidence and energy into believing in yourself. This is a very important and groundbreaking step — one that is usually the hardest to take. Start telling yourself you can do something, anything, and you will do it the best to your ability. Remove doubt, remove fear, and stick with positive energy.

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      Learn how to boost your confidence: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

      Embrace Failure

      Do not fear failure. Do not run away from it. Face it, learn from it, grow, and take action. Just remember: You will never know success if you have never failed.

      Your confidence will bolster after embracing these facts. You will be immune to demoralizing results, and instead you will find ways to fix it, improve upon it, and make it better than before. You will learn to never say “can’t,” and will realize how many more opportunities you can create by removing that one word.

      Don’t let one simple and ugly word plague your confidence. You’re better and stronger than that.

      Start Making the Change

      But to actually start the process of change is very challenging.

      Why is that?

      Fear? Time? Don’t know how — or where — to start?

      It’s hard because what we’re doing is unlearning what we know. We are used to doing things a certain way, and chances are we’ve been doing them for years.

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      So here are some ways that I avoid using the word “can’t”, and actually take the steps to put forth the change that I wish to see. I hope you can incorporate these methods into your life.

      Write down What You Want to Change

      Write it on post-its, notecards, whatever makes you comfortable — something you will always see. I usually write mine on post-its and put them all over the wall behind my monitor so I always see them.

      Tell a Friend and Talk About It

      Discussing your goals, what you want to change, is very effective when you say it out loud and tell another person other than yourself. It’s almost like saying, hey, I bet I can do it — watch me.

      When you fulfill that goal and tell your friend, it feels rewarding and will motivate you to do it again in a different aspect. Who knows? Maybe your friend adopts the same mindset as you.

      Stop Yourself from Saying the Forbidden Word

      Sometimes,I can’t control myself in public when I’m with friends, so I have to be careful with the words I use so I don’t embarrass or insult anyone.

      Treat the word “can’t” as the worst word you can possibly use. Stop yourself from saying it, mid-sentence if you must, and turn your whole perspective around — you can do it, you will do it, and nothing is impossible!

      Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

      You think this change will be overnight? No way. This is a practice. Something you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life from now until forever.

      As I said earlier, you are unlearning what you know. You know how easy it is to say you can’t do something, so by unlearning this easy practice, you’re self-disciplining yourself to live without boundaries.

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      Practice this everyday, a little at a time, and before you know it, the word can’t will not be part of your language.

      Do Anything That Can Relieve Your Uncertainty

      When I catch myself saying I can’t do something or I don’t know something, looking up information on that action or subject, doing research, educating yourself, relieves that uncertainty.

      Sometimes, we think we can’t do something because the whole idea of it seems too large. We skip the small steps in our head and only focus on the end.

      Before you say you can’t do something, rewind and slow down a little bit. Focus on what the first step is, then the next. Take it a step at a time, and before you know it you will have done something you previously thought you couldn’t do.

      Final Thoughts

      You know what you must do. The first step is right now. Once you begin this habit, and really start noticing some change, you’ll realize the door to opportunity is everywhere.

      The funny thing is: Those doors have always been there. The evil word that we no longer use put a veil over our eyes because that’s how powerful that word is.

      More Tips for Strengthening Your Resilience

      Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

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