Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Healthier Lifestyle One Day at a Time: A Positive Attitude

How to Maintain a Positive Attitude © Katrena
Moving toward a healthier lifestyle involves daily choices, efforts, and actions. A holistic plan for a helathy lifestyle involves not only a healthy diet and regular exercise, but it also includes a mental component. The body and mind are intricately connected, and maintaining a positive attitude can be key in developing and living a healthier life.

Inner conversations can easily become negative, viral, and even nuclear as negative patterns tend to repeat themselves and spiral out of control. That slight backslide in one's personal plan to become healthier can easily snowball into an about face down the wrong path at full steam ahead.

In addition, one's inner thoughts can easily look at other people and one's circumstances with a negative light while placing blame for one's own misery on these external forces, effectively paralyzing one's ability to move forward.

Here are some specific, practical tips for achieving a positive attitude, including how to:
  1. Recognize who is in charge of your attitude
  2. Identify your strengths
  3. Write and reflect on your strengths
  4. Learn from others
  5. How to get back on track if problems occur

Recognize Who is in Charge of Your Attitude

The only person responsible for my attitude is me.

The sooner one comes to that realization, the sooner one can move past wasting time criticizing oneself or others and begin to make positive steps toward one's goals. Pick up the pieces and work the puzzle – it may not have the shape of the original piece of art, but the finished product is likely to have more character and wisdom than the previous one.

Learn positive and specific strategies for interpersonal relationships. Recognize unhealthy tendencies, such as being too dependent on others or refusing help from other people, and begin to use positive communication skills when speaking with friends, family members, co-workers, and with others online.

Identify Your Strengths

Everyone has strengths. Some are obvious. Others may be subtle.

The first step in developing a positive attitude is to identify one's strengths. Create a list of positive adjectives that describe you, such as:
  • Creative
  • Funny
  • Thoughtful
  • Honest
  • Punctual
  • Hard-working
  • Detail-oriented
  • Strong
  • Caring
  • Persistent
Update this list as needed.

If you are having trouble identifying any good qualities in yourself, ask a trusted friend or family member to identify some of your strengths and use those for the following exercises. You may or may not agree with what that other person thinks, but perhaps that person may be able to identify your strengths better than you can at the moment.
Write and Reflect on Your Strengths

Write a positive statement yourself on small notecard or piece of paper. For example:
  • I am an amazing, funny, fun-loving woman.
  • I am a strong, dedicated, hard-working man.

Blank Printable Personal Affirmation Cards
Feel free to print the blank affirmation cards here in this article while personalizing them to suit your needs. You might want to add colors, pictures, fun fonts, or anything else that may catch your eye that will help make this affirmation attractive and personal for you.

Take another piece of paper and fold it in half, ensuring that it is now slightly larger than the above piece of paper. Staple the affirmation to the folded piece of paper on the right and left sides, leaving the open end at the top.

Each time you do something that agrees with your positive statement, write it down on a small piece of paper and place it in the pocket. After a week, take out these examples and read them, reflecting on these actions that support your postive traits.

Learn From Others

Many resources are available that are full of positive and uplifting information. A song's lyrics may make you stand a little taller. An inspirational quote might give tough times in your life a more realistic perspective.

Make a list of what inspires you, such as:
  • Songs
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Quotes
Search for additional uplifting ideas and items to add to the list through a variety of sources such as:
  • Tips from one's own personal heroes
  • Online resources
  • Print resources
  • Radio
  • Yoga or other mind/body classes
  • Support group
Make a commitment to read, listen to, reflect on, and study the above items each day at a designated time or times. For example:
  • If you wake up ten minutes earlier to do this, you may find that you may be able to meet the day's trials with a more positive attitude.
  • If you decide to reflect on these items fifteen minutes before going to bed, you may find that you may rest with a more positive attitude.
  • If you commit to spending five minutes on your lunch break doing this, you may find that you are more productive and peaceful at work.
How to Get Back on Track if Problems Occur

If you find old, negative thinking creeping back into your lifestyle, assess what happened and determine any trends, such as:
  • Time of day
  • Place
  • Interactions with a certain person or people
If you can identify a pattern, be aware of that so that you can make appropriate plans and determine which options are available, such as avoiding that situation in the future or being extra cautious if these are situations that are necessary in your life and cannot be avoided.

Some people may need the assistance of a healthcare provider, counselor, medication, and/or therapy in order to move toward positive lifestyle habits, including adopting a positive attitude. Anyone who feels that he or she could cause harm to him or herself or others should seek care and follow the advice of her or her healthcare provider.

Having inner peace can be a beautiful, life-transforming day-to-day choice that can leave you feeling more energized, happier, and may lead to a healthier and more productive lifestyle.

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