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Signs You Need an Attitude Adjustment (And How to Do It)

Signs You Need an Attitude Adjustment (And How to Do It)

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?

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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.[1]

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;

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“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).[2] 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.

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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.[3]

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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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

Featured photo credit: Conner Baker via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a professional mindset speaker and a transformational life, business and career coach. Specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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