If you were to write down you thoughts for the next hour would most of them be positive or negative? How do you know if your thoughts are positive or negative? Do you have motivational thoughts, thoughts full of gratitude for what you have and what is coming your way, or are your thoughts full of what you lack or would like to have but don’t?
Now let's say you are taking a walk down the street with these thoughts you wrote down. Do you think anyone you meet would be able to tell you what’s on your mind?
While the answer to the questions in paragraph one are entirely up to you, the answer to the question in paragraph two is yes. People can tell what’s on your mind. Although they won’t be able to tell exactly what you are thinking about, they will have a good idea of how you are feeling. They can tell if your mind is wandering in a positive or a negative direction.
Let me ask you this, when you enter a party filled with friends and people you know, do they all fall silent as if something terrible had happened? Or does everybody there perk up as if waiting for something exciting to happen?
You know what? Unless you forgot to bathe for a week the answer to these two questions depends almost entirely on your frame of mind.
Earl Nightingale, the late Dean of Personal development was fond of saying “Thoughts are things.” I believe him. Thoughts are very powerful. They affect your attitude, your beliefs and the way you carry yourself. Your attitude reflects in your appearance, your face, your smile your eyes. Yes, people can read your mind, or at least what your body is telling them about what’s in your mind.
The problem is that it doesn't end there. Your attitude will also affect the people around you. It will affect how people react to you, whether they want to help you or not.
The great thing is that you are in control! The type of attitude you carry depends on you. You can decide to have a positive or negative attitude.
When you have a positive mental attitude your thoughts will lift you up. They will fill your mind with possibilities. Motivational thoughts are invigorating and can spur you into action. An added bonus is that the people around you will be energized by your attitude. That’s the power of a positive mental attitude.
Negative thoughts on the other hand have a power sapping effect on other people. They are like an energy vacuum that sucks the vitality from everyone around them. In addition to making you look dumpy and gloomy, negative thoughts can turn a festive gathering into a funeral wake.
Think of your attitude like a magnet. If you have a positive mental attitude you attract people, while if you have a negative attitude you repel them. Unless they are in the mental health profession or just like pain, people tend to shy away from those who carry a negative attitude around with them.
Your attitude defines your focus. For example, if you choose to focus on the negative things in the world, watch the news and listen to the latest gossip, you are developing a negative attitude. However, if you choose to focus on the positive things, on things that are going well in your life and the world at large, then you are developing positive mental attitude.
You have much to gain from developing a positive mental attitude. For one, studies have shown that a positive mental attitude promotes better health. These same studies go on to point out that this is probably because these people generally have less stress. That’s because they are focusing on solutions and what they want and not being frustrated so often!
Studies show that those people with a positive mental attitude also have more friends. Well duh. Who do you want to be around? Someone who always has something good to say or someone who is always telling you the sky is falling and the world’s going to hell in a hand basket?
A positive mental attitude begins with a healthy self-image. If you love the way you are and are satisfied, confident, and self-assured, you also make others around you feel the same way.
On the other hand, a negative attitude has an opposite effect, and a negative attitude carries a double whammy with it. First you feel bad about yourself. Second you make people around you feel the same way.
If you want to develop a positive mental attitude, you have to focus on motivational thoughts, thoughts that will empower you. If you watch the news constantly this can be very difficult. That’s because the media feeds us nothing but negative thoughts. You want to know how to change this? Don’t watch the news! The world will still survive and you won’t be filling your mind will all that negative junk!
One study showed that for every 14 things a parent says to his or her child, only one is positive. This is truly a saddening thought. But you can change this. Start to examine what you say to your child and make it a point to be what Zig Ziglar calls a “good finder.” Find the good your child does and tell them about it.
If you want a healthier outlook on life, you’ll want to begin to program your mind for success. You’ll want to hear positive things as well. So, what can you do? Well, an easy one would be to watch a funny movie. Some other things might be playing with children or spending time telling jokes with friends. Read the biography of someone you admire or a rags to riches story. All these activities will fill you with positive stimuli, which will in turn promote a positive mental attitude.
Although it is impossible to shield yourself from all the negative influences around you, you can still maintain a positive mental attitude by focusing on the good things, the positive things in your life. One of the ways that works well for me is through positive visualization, using self hypnosis to help me recognize and focus on the positive things that are happening to me.
The development of your positive mental attitude will benefit others also. You want to be of help to somebody feeling down? When someone comes to you with a problem, instead of giving them advice, like we all like to do, just sit and listen to them. Your positive mental attitude may be able to cheer them up without even having to say a word.
Here’s a great question, if a positive mental attitude is really so great, why do people choose to adopt a negative attitude instead? I believe that it is a learned trait. We have been taught since we were small children that negatives will get the attention of our parents and teachers. So as adults our negative attitude may be actually a signal for attention. Now this is not to say that emotions like feeling sad, angry, or gloomy are wrong. These emotions are the expression of our experiences. But dwelling on these emotions for far too long is not healthy. The thing is to recognize them for what they are and move on. Life is much too short to stay stuck in such a bad state.
While my dear friend K. Lee Kappmeier was suffering from stage IV colon cancer she taught me an invaluable lesson. She taught me that no matter what the trouble, no matter how dark the hour we need to focus on the good things in life. We need to focus on what we want our lives to be, on what we want to do and accomplish. Until the very end she had hope that she would overcome her illness and, as a result, she accomplished as much in her two years of illness as many people accomplish in their lifetimes.
Focusing on the good will give you hope, just like it did for K. Lee. It may not lengthen your life, but it will definitely make what life you have sweeter and more enjoyable.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by adopting a healthy, positive mental attitude. Studies show that such an attitude actually retards aging, makes you healthier, helps you develop better stress coping skills, and has a very positive effect on all the people you meet every day.
So, why not develop a positive mental attitude? It will help your problems become puzzles, things to be solved and overcome. Your life will be brighter and more full of energy. It will make every day a joy that you can be grateful for.