Most everyone has a relatively positive attitude when things are going great. But we all have those certain situations . . . those situations that push our buttons, or seem to sour our attitude as soon as (or whenever) they take place.
Dealing with our attitude during those times is your focus for the next few minutes.
By the end of this article you will have some specific, tangible ideas and approaches for dealing with those situations in a way that allows you to overcome their effects and have a better attitude more of the time.
But first . . .
Before you can overcome those situations, you must know what they are. So stop reading for just a second, and ask yourself:
- What situations/topics/people impact my attitude negatively most often?
- What situations/topics/people impact my attitude negatively most severely?
Think about your answers to these questions and write them down. The first step to overcoming anything is to identify what it is.
Do you have your answers?
Now let’s talk about how to overcome them.
Start with You.
Ask yourself, “What about this situation is in my control?” Regardless of the situation, one thing is always in your control – your response to the situation. No one else and no external situation causes you to be negative, sad or cynical. Admittedly, some situations may be difficult to be positive through, but remember your attitude is always in your control. Allow yourself to take full responsibility for your attitude, regardless of the situation. This is always the best place to start.
Examine Your Assumptions.
Often your reaction to a situation or a person is built around your assumptions relating to it. Is the situation really as it appears? Are you assuming things that may not be true? (And do those assumptions even matter, really?) When you examine your assumptions you give yourself a better chance of being able to see a situation for what it really is and taking some of the sting or stigma out of it.
Avoid the Situation or Person.
Perhaps the simplest answer, and something that may well be in your control, is to avoid the situation or person that is a negative attitude challenge for you. Your first reaction may be that you can’t do that. Challenge yourself to think about how you might be able to avoid those situations. Here’s a simple example: If someone always corners you by the coffee pot, bring your own coffee or go to a different pot. Once you have identified the situation you can then begin to see when it happens and how you might be able to avoid it.
Minimize the Impact.
OK, perhaps you really can’t avoid the situation. If you can’t, then you can focus on minimizing the times you are in that situation or talking about that topic. Reducing the frequency will help, as will choosing to put yourself in those situations when you are already in a better frame of mind. Starting from a positive place may help reduce the crash caused by the situation.
Don’t Take it Personally.
Repeat after me. It isn’t about you. Most of the time, it really isn’t. You may take it personally or find the situation so important that you can’t pull yourself out of it. However, the reality is most of the time others are far more focused on themselves and their issues than on you. When you personalize the topic, situation or negative energy, you make it harder to respond in a more positive way. Let it go. It likely isn’t about you.
End with You.
Let’s end where we began. Your attitude is completely in your control. When you find yourself in your tough situations, remind yourself of that fact. Take a deep breath, and remember that you can choose your response – and your attitude.
These six steps aren’t magical pills guaranteeing you will never have a negative thought or attitude. However, these six suggestions will allow you to take greater control of your emotions and help you respond in ways that will reduce the length and depth of negative thoughts and attitudes, leaving you with an attitude you would want to rub off on others.