Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right?
You get out of bed in the morning feeling grumpy. Perhaps you mutter to yourself because there’s no coffee.
The traffic lights all seem to be stuck on red and you feel like the world is against you. As you screech into work ten minutes late, you complain about all the things that went wrong.
We all have the occasional day like this, because that’s life. But if you experience regular days like this, then it could be a sign you need an attitude adjustment.
I’ll expand on this more.
You see, our attitude affects the way we view life and this influences our behavior and communication. And, the way we behave and communicate influences any situation we experience. Because of this, if you have a negative attitude, you are more likely to create a negative outcome.
You’ve probably also heard the saying that “bad luck or misfortune comes in threes.” This isn’t because you’ve run over a black cat or because of some magical formula. It’s because we normally focus on things that don’t go well.
We repeat the event in our head and see it as a bad thing. We then create and notice more misfortune, because that is what we are looking for.
If this is the case, and if you want to experience more good fortune and enjoyment, then you need to view life through a positive lens. And this may mean you need to adjust your attitude.
As always, awareness is the first step to change. This means we need to know what to look for.
Here are five common signs and the benefits you would reap by making these adjustments.
1. You Think Other People Need an Attitude Adjustment
Do you find yourself having lots of disagreements?
Maybe you don’t outwardly argue with the person or maybe you do. But you keep replaying the conversation in your head, inwardly arguing your point and feeling annoyed.
We all have different opinions and this is what makes the world a beautiful place to live. If we regularly get annoyed because someone has a different viewpoint, we need to change the way we are looking at it.
You have probably heard the saying “put yourself in their shoes” and it’s a saying because it works.
In NLP, we use a technique called Perceptual Positions. It’s a powerful way to see things outside of your usual perspective and solve conflict.
You can do this easily by imagining yourself in their position and what may cause them to see things that way. Consider their life and what past experiences may have led them to have that point of view. Know that there is no right or wrong opinion only difference.
2. Similar Issues Arise with More Than One Person
Most people will experience similar issues with more than one person. Yet without the awareness to look for this, it can often slip by unnoticed.
If you are triggered by similar circumstance, it is an indication you need to self adjust or change. These issues aren’t necessarily disagreements; it could just be something you walk away taking personally.
We create meanings around everything we experience and it’s the meaning we choose that affects our feelings. If we make it mean “they don’t like me” or “I’m not important” then, we will feel negative.
Life is a mirror of our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. This is wonderful, because it means we are able to find clues to what might be causing the issue.
I always know I need an attitude adjustment when I feel upset over clashes with those closest to me. When I identify the same feelings I have felt recently with other people, it’s a clue I must change.
If you don’t look deeper into this, you will keep re-creating similar experiences until you eventually see the light.
Start by reframing the meaning and ask yourself;
“What have I made this situation mean about me?”
And “What could this mean instead?”
When you change the meaning, the way you feel about the situation will change. As you repeatedly do this, your experiences will change.
3. You Complain About Your Own Life a Lot
We all do this from time to time. But when you are consistently self-absorbed, your attitude seriously needs some adjustment.
This kind of behavior often begins with only thinking about you and talking about yourself a lot. Opening conversations with your own stories and not taking much interest in the other person.
It’s easy to do especially if you live alone. But, because of the connection between self-absorbed behavior and mental health issues, it’s essential to change this.
A 2002 bulletin written for the American Psychological Association states there is a relation between self-focused attention and negative affect (depression, anxiety, negative mood). This means if you start to work on changing your focus right now, you will start to feel a more positive mood.
The first step is to begin to show an interest in other people’s lives. Become curious and ask them questions. Be genuinely interested in who they are and ask them about their stories.
Smile at strangers and say hello. Open little conversations in the supermarket queue and make it about anything but you.
If you’re not sure how to do this, find other people who do it well. Notice how they start conversations.
As you take these small steps each day, you will notice your mood improve and your enjoyment of life will increase.
4. You Think Everyone Else Is Better off Than You
Do you feel envious of others’ lives and wonder where you went wrong? If you do this often, then it may be time to look at this in a different way.
Thinking others are better off than you, often runs in line with a self-focused attitude. Maybe you even think you’re the only one who has problems. You think that if life were better, then you would be happy.
People who are consistently happy aren’t happy because everything is always going to plan. They are happy because they have an optimistic and abundant attitude.
We all have problems and issues crop up, because that’s life. We are here to grow and this is often the result of learning to manage our problems well. People with an optimistic attitude understand this and work with it instead of being envious and pessimistic.
This means it’s important to be optimistic instead of thinking and feeling like you are missing out.
An attitude like this needs to be cultivated and begins with acknowledging the good in your life. Even if things aren’t exactly as you want them to be, notice where you are blessed.
You can actively cultivate this with regular written practice. Get a journal and write down ten things each day you are grateful for.
As you do this regularly, you will feel more optimistic and abundant. This will result in a happier and more content life.
5. You Have a Catastrophe Attitude
Does the toaster triggering the fire alarm set you fuming? You can feel your skin prickling as the anxiety starts to mount.
I get it. You’ve got five minutes to get out of the door before rush hour starts. And the thought of sitting in traffic for almost two hours seems like torture.
Here’s the thing though, catastrophizing is another behavior that can lead to depression.
Catastrophizing is seeing an unfavourable outcome to an event and then deciding that if this outcome does happen, the results will be a disaster.
There are far worse things happening in the world than your toast burning. Running a couple of minutes late doesn’t mean the world is going to end, yet at the time it seems like the worst thing.
Repeatedly making mountains out of molehills leads us to feel like we are in crisis. Over the long term, we could start to feel like we have no control over our emotions. This can really affect our quality of life.
Can you imagine how the quality of each day will increase when you shift this attitude?
Change begins with just a small adjustment and it’s all simply with numbers.
Imagine the very worst thing that could happen in the world, like the planet dying for instance. That would be a disaster, right!
Think about how much of a catastrophe that would be on a scale of one to ten. Place a number on it.
Now go back to your current experience and compare it against the disaster you just imagined. Place a number on it.
I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer to be getting up on that chair to reset the fire alarm.
Consistently reframing situations when you experience them, you will begin to normalize everyday events and feel calm.
Too many people waste so much time trying to control everything around them and getting upset when things don’t go well. The only thing we ever have complete control and influence over is ourselves; our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs.
Whether you are having one of those days or it’s a problem that has cropped up out of the blue. When you focus on adjusting your attitude towards it and see it differently, you will handle things better. You will see an increase in positive experiences and feel much more at peace.
More About Positive Thinking
- How the Power of Positive Thinking Can Change Your Life
- 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success
- 5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude
Featured photo credit: Conner Baker via unsplash.com
|NLPAcademy: Using Perceptual Positions
|APA Psy: Self-focused attention and negative affect: A meta-analysis
|Medical News Today: How to stop catastrophizing