A negative outlook on life can have serious consequences for your health, your relationships, and your feelings of satisfaction in life. You can achieve a change in attitude through mindfulness and mindfulness. Building a positive attitude, practicing gratitude, and selectively forming new habits that promote positivity is a lifelong process that can result in attitude change.
Method 1 of 3: Build a Positive Attitude
Step 1. Get rid of negativity in your life
If there are people, activities, or situations in your life that continually feel stressful, you may need to abandon them. A change in attitude depends on living a new kind of life. This could mean stopping drinking, using drugs, overeating, or smoking. Whatever the negatives are in your life, you will need to let go of them if you are to develop a better attitude.
- Consider joining a support group for people who are equally motivated to change their lives for the better.
- As you make these changes, you are likely to notice some patterns of positivity in your life. No life is completely bad and by abandoning the parts of your life that no longer serve you, you will be more aware of the habits you want to strengthen.
Step 2. Make sure your relationship is healthy
If you are in an intimate relationship with another person, it will affect your attitude. A healthy relationship should be positive and make you feel better about yourself. If you feel pressured to do things you don't want to do, fear the consequences of disagreeing with your partner, or if your arguments involve yelling or physical violence, your relationship may not be healthy. This will affect your attitude negatively.
- Some disagreement is natural in healthy relationships. Most relationships have some combination of healthy and unhealthy characteristics.
- Talk to a counselor with your partner if you are unable to change harmful patterns on your own.
- If you are in a violent or physically or emotionally abusive relationship, seek help from a local domestic violence agency.
Step 3. Look for the positives
There is always something in any situation worth praising. For example, if it is raining outside, you may complain that you will get wet, or you may observe that the plants will probably benefit from a good deluge. Someone with a negative attitude can easily find the negative aspect of any circumstance, but to develop a positive attitude you must force yourself to notice the good. Share your positive comments with others and keep negative comments to yourself.
- Also be sure to look for the positives in yourself.
- Remember that everything is an opportunity to learn new skills, especially things that seem more difficult at first. At the very least, you can be grateful for the opportunity to learn new things in a bad situation.
- Never stay in a situation simply because it is bad. You may be tempted to pretend that such harmful behavior (a racist boss, an abusive partner, an emotionally manipulative friend) provides a good opportunity for you to learn patience and tolerance. While this might be true, staying may not be the healthiest option. One of the most positive things to learn from a bad situation is that you can get out of it.
Step 4. Be nice to others
One of the quickest ways to feel better is to be nice to other people. Whether it involves letting someone take priority in traffic or writing a note to cheer up a friend, taking action to help someone else will increase your positivity.
- For best results, find ways to do kind things for others in a way that is completely anonymous. For example, fill all the slots with pennies in a laundry room when no one is watching.
- Don't just think about how you would like to be treated; imagine the way someone else might want to be treated. For someone who is very shy, perhaps writing a note to congratulate them on their performance could be kinder than complimenting them out loud and hugging them in front of other people.
Method 2 of 3: Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Step 1. Write a daily gratitude list
Every day has something to be thankful for, but some days gratitude is harder to find than others. To develop the discipline of finding gratitude even on the toughest days, practice writing a daily list.
- Some research suggests that writing gratitude lists by hand is a valuable part of this process. The physical act of handwriting slows your attention in a significant way.
- If you really can't think of anything to be grateful for, pretend to be grateful. Remember, you are still learning to change your attitude. Think of gratitude as, "Hey, it could be worse."
Step 2. Send thank you cards
Learning to say "thank you" is an essential element to change your attitude and live positively. Whether you express gratitude for something done recently, or something that happened years ago, write it down and share it with the person. You may want to let your 5th grade teacher know that their support for you to write led you to blog or to thank your best friend for always supporting you.
- If you want to write the note but not send it, that's fine. The purpose of writing thank you notes is mostly to practice articulating appreciation. It may not be possible to find the people from your past or the person could be dead.
- Research shows that people who spend at least 15 minutes a week writing gratitude letters for 8 weeks show a demonstrable increase in positivity.
Step 3. Practice meditation or prayer
Practicing meditation or prayer deliberately places the mind in the present moment, which is vital to cultivating a positive attitude. Find regular times throughout the day to dedicate yourself to meditation or prayer. These don't have to last long; Taking 3-5 minutes will result in a difference in your attitude.
- If you practice a religion, you could turn to the prayers of this religion. If you don't consider yourself a religious person, meditation practices could be more valuable.
- Although it might not seem like it, practicing meditation and prayer is a type of exercise. The more you practice, the better you will be. You may not notice the difference at first, but in time you will be able to maintain a calm and peaceful demeanor no matter what is going on around you.
Step 4. Start a gratitude jar
Keep a jar in a central place in your home and write one thing that you are grateful for every day. See how the jar is filled with good things. If you ever need a "stimulant," reach into the bottle and read a few examples out loud.
- For another type of gratitude jar, try adding a little change or a dollar every day when you write in your gratitude journal. When the jar is full, use the money to find creative ways to start a “favor chain”: buy gift cards for unsuspecting people who might need help, or buy flowers for someone who rarely receives recognition.
- If you are an artistic person, decorate your gratitude jar with bows, paint, or stickers.
Step 5. Stop complaining
Better spend more time acknowledging the good aspects of your life. Pay more conscious attention to the positive things you notice, allowing good things to become good experiences.
- Notice when you are tempted to complain and try to find something positive to focus your attention on.
- Complaining focuses your attention on what you would rather be different without actually requiring you to do anything different. It keeps you in a position of helplessness.
Step 6. Take charge of your thoughts and actions
If you believe that you cannot make any effective changes in your circumstances or relationships, it may seem difficult to change your attitude towards life. Instead, try to recognize your own role in making every situation or relationship the way it is. If you can find your own role, you can work to accept or change it.
- Knowing more about why you made the decisions you made could help you avoid making bad decisions in the future.
- Remember that although most negative circumstances are the result of a conscious decision you have made, sometimes bad things happen despite careful planning. No one is immune from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- If you can't find another way to think about a bad situation, ask someone for help. Talk to a counselor, therapist, trusted friend, or someone else. You don't have to face this alone.
Method 3 of 3: Form New Habits
Step 1. Wake up earlier
Waking up an hour earlier each morning gives you time to focus on yourself, your goals, and your intention to change your attitude. You could use this time to meditate or read a favorite book. Having the time set aside to plan and reflect on your day is an important tool for changing your attitude.
- If it's easier for you to take an extra hour at the end of the day, you can give it a try. Most people, but not all, find it more productive to take time out in the early hours of the morning.
- Don't allow yourself to waste your morning time on negative mind traps, like reading depressing news or checking social media.
Step 2. Spend time with positive people
If there are people in your life who leave you feeling drained, unproductive, and depressed, you may need to spend less time with them if you try to develop a new attitude. Avoid the depressing news and take time to read inspiring news. Get on a "positivity" diet and minimize the amount of negativity you internalize each day.
- This does not mean that you are abandoning a friend who might be having a difficult time, but if your friend's life is always full of drama and adversity, you may need to take a break.
- If being around negative people is unavoidable (for example, if it is your boss or supervisor), you may be able to take advantage of their negativity. Try to understand where it is coming from and counter it with positivity.
Step 3. Notice what makes you happy
That sounds easy, but it could be something you're not used to paying attention to. Try making a list of things you do every day (or most days), then make a second list of things that make you happy. Compare your lists and see what changes you can make to include more happiness.
- Think about what changes you could make to your daily routine to include more things that bring you happiness.
- Stop several times a day to observe your level of happiness. If you are feeling happy, think about the circumstances that contributed to this feeling.
Step 4. Try to respond, not react
When you are in a stressful situation, think about it, use reason to find a solution, and do what makes sense. When you react, you skip the reasoning stage and respond automatically. This only serves to cause more trouble and frustration.
- When you are in a new and stressful situation, stop and take a deep breath before doing or saying anything.
- If you can, take the time to think of something before answering. Say, "I need to think about it."
Step 5. Don't overthink the past or the future
If you are trying to develop a new attitude, keep your attention in the present moment. When you find yourself worrying about the future or reviewing difficult moments in the past, return your attention to the present moment.
- You could use a particular word or phrase to bring your attention back to the present, such as "now," "present," or "come back."
- Don't scold yourself for losing focus. Remember that kindness is essential to developing a positive attitude.
Step 6. Focus on one thing at a time
Research shows that trying to expand your attention too much results in increased stress and lower levels of concentration. Developing a greater amount of control over your attention will positively affect your sense of well-being and positivity.
- Try not to keep multiple tabs open in your internet browser and turn off your phone when watching TV. If you're going to wash the dishes, turn off the newscast. Doing one thing at a time and doing it well will increase your positive attitude.
- If you have several tasks to do at the same time, set aside specific times for them. When the time is up, go back to a single task.
- When you have a conversation with a friend, turn off your phone.
- Slow down your attention to be more present in each activity.