Retraining Your Brain: Positive Mental Attitude

In last month’s column, you were reminded to appreciate the reality of the situation as the foundation for  what you would like to change in the future.  But the real secret of life is feeling contentment in all that is going right in your life. Now that can be very difficult to do when we live in such an  outcome oriented society that focuses on materialism and instant gratification.

Positive mental attitude is synonymous with happiness and, as you can imagine, I was reminded that happiness is created from within.

Happiness creates a climate of kindness.  When you feel good about yourself and your current state of affairs there is less of a need for competition or people-pleasing.  You feel differently about others.  They do not affect you as much and consequently you are more positive, which promotes more happiness.  Using this approach also helps you to manage depression and anxiety.

Many of you may remember that I have written about reframing which the ability to take any situation and see the positives in it.  I tell my clients that it is the ability to “put a positive spin on things”.  When you use this skill, you are altering how your brain processes negative input. In mental health we call this cognitive behavioral therapy.

  • Getting a divorce?

             Look at divorce as an opportunity to grow as an individual.  You can’t stop the process  so ask yourself what you can do to get through it with integrity.

  • Losing 60% of your net worth because of the stock market?

            Tell yourself that losing the money allows you an opportunity to find other creative ways to make money.  Refocus on what you do have in your life as opposed to                      monetary losses.

  • Does a family member or friend have a terminal illness?

             Remind yourself that you can make a difference in their life and recognize what differences they have made in your life.  Focus on the moment instead of the future.      You will experience this person differently when your focus becomes appreciation.

I picked three traumatic situations to highlight that life is about how we choose to look at things.  It’s not the outcome but the journey that we need to stay focused and learn from.  If you make the conscious choice to look at life with a positive attitude, you will promote that state of well-being that will create happiness.

  Now here is your homework:

  • Train your mind to focus on the positives for one hour at a time.  Don’t treat it like the infamous diet approach—you know, the one where on Monday you have great intentions of staying focused on eating healthy, but by ten AM you are giving into any temptation that comes before you?
  • Replace the negative self-talk with a positive statement.  When you retrain the brain, you will find negative thoughts that will naturally occur, and when this happens, make a conscious choice to refocus on the positives and “create a positive spin”.
  • Repeat this statement silently to yourself.  The more you do it, the better you will become.  The secondary gain is that in retraining your brain you create that state of happiness, because your attitude becomes naturally more joyful and positive.

Train your mind to focus on the positives for one hour at a time.  Practice it faithfully to insure absolute results.  Your positive mental attitude is worth the investment!


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