Positive Attitude Tips - Identify and Change your Cognitive Distortions

Dr. Purushothaman
November 22, 2013

Of all the positive attitude tips offered on the many self help resources available the best is to change the way you think. And if it was really that simple then this article would end here.

However, knowing what to do is different from figuring out how to do it. You cannot change the way you are thinking if you are not aware of how you are thinking, so any list of positive attitude tips must include suggestions for self analysis and emotional reflection.

Starting at the beginning it becomes self evident that positive attitude tips can only be offered if we first understand what the word attitude really means. In everyday common language the word attitude has many meanings, but it is mostly used to refer to a cognitive construct or in simpler terms a "pattern of thinking".

Since we cannot see the way a person is thinking, attitude is usually inferred from behaviour. When a person's cognitive construct or way of thinking is positive their behaviour will reflect what will be interpreted as a positive attitude.

A positive attitude allows a person to create the life they want because they are not afraid to see things as they really are and work to create their own reality. A positive attitude really reflects a lack of fear in moving forward and creating change.

There are many benefits of a positive attitude including:

better health
improved relationships with others both at home and at work
more opportunities for success
improved productivity

How Do You Devleop a Positive Attitude?

It is a partially true statement that we get our attitude from our parents! It is partially true because what happens to us in life is only part of the equation for developing a positive attitude How we interpret what happens to us is equally if not more important in creating our attitudes.

What is a cognitive distortion?

If you interpret what happens to you in a negative way you develop what are called cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are nothing more that errors in interpretation and those errors can be changed if identified, examined, and re-interpreted in a positive way.

Positive attitutde tips must include the reccommendation to become aware of your own cognitive distortions and change them! Cgnitive distortions keep you in a pattern of thinking which forms a barrier to creating the life you really want.

The cognitive distortions which would be behind a negative attitude would go something like this:

"I screwed up again."
"I am not smart enough to try that."
"It is not really what I want but it is good enough for me."
"If I ask for help people will think I am stupid and know that I cannot even run my own life"

The cognitive construct behind a positive attitude would go something like this:

"Even though this bad thing happened, I am still a good person."
"I am going to take this opportunity to learn as much about why this happened as I can because I do not want it to happen to me again."
"I think that perhaps I need some help with this because I do not seem to be able to help myself in a way that is helping to resolve this problem."

The difference between these two ways of thinking is immedaately obvious. Think of it this way:

Developing a positive attitude means interpreting life's events in a way that is truthful, honest, and self affirming and keeping a positive attitude means continuing with these positive and self affirming interpretations of life's events, even negative events.

It is possible to change your attitude! But it does require identification and critical analysis of your own beliefs about yourself and the life you think you deserve.

The best possible of all the positive attitude tips? Change the way you think!

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