Have you noticed that attitude can make all the difference. It can make our days, relationships, and conversations, easier or harder. Attitude influences whether we approach a situation with enthusiasm or negativity. Attitudes are contagious. A positive attitude brightens a situation, while a negative attitude sends waves of doubt and heaviness. I remember a professor I had who walked into class the day of a test and stated, “The anxiety in this room right now is thick enough to cut with a knife.” It was true. We were all concerned about the test, and the combined anxiety was palpable. So it is with a positive or negative attitude. You can typically pick up the vibe instantly when someone enters a room or a conversation with a bad attitude. The first clue is usually in the tone of voice or look on the face. A bad attitude ruins everything and robs us and those around us of joy. We need to actively choose to be positive-- even when we don't feel like it.
Charles Swindoll wrote:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.1
I find it tremendously empowering to know that I am in charge of my attitude. I have the choice everyday and in every situation to choose how I will respond. Just as happiness is a choice, so is attitude. It is most definitely not easy when we are angry and stressed, but self control means we are able to choose whether we will proceed with a bad attitude or choose to be positive. It helps me to remember that what I choose will influence the situation, other people, and potentially my well-being for the rest of the day.
Here are some self-help ideas for maintaining self-control and a positive attitude. The more you practice these, the easier it gets, the better you will feel, and the more your attitude will improve.
- Do the right thing -- even when it is hard.
- Take responsibility when you do something wrong. Don't blame other people for your mistakes.
- Show compassion when someone else does something wrong.
- Don't annoy other people by being a “know it all.”
- Be humble and thankful.
- Be kind and speak with a soft tone.
- Don't be sarcastic or snarky.
- Respectfully listen to others’ point of view even when you don't agree.
- Give up the need to be right.
- When stressed, take a break and use relaxation skills, i.e., deep breaths, etc. to calm yourself.
- When you are feeling angry or down, try singing praise songs. Satan can't stand to hear praises to God. The darkness will flee when we sing praises to the Lord.
It takes practice, but you really can turn that frown upside down.