School is back in full swing. If you have children, you know first-hand how the hustle and bustle of fall activities can be stressful. Even if you are not a parent, you may become frustrated by traffic exacerbated by school buses.
Life’s obstacles are limitless, however we can limit our stress levels by maintaining a positive attitude. Everyone encounters new challenges every day. Reacting with a positive attitude is the only way to minimize negative impacts and maximize joy. Dale Carnegie said, “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
Here are three ways to choose a positive attitude.
- Don’t consume gloom and doom. Every reporter recognizes that, “If a story bleeds, it leads.” Newswires are full of tragedies, political and economical upheaval, and all sorts of stories that cause a person to cringe. Some film footage is so graphic, it’s hard to picture anything else during the entire day. For example, if you saw a story about young siblings killed in a horrible car accident, your mind may replay the images later making it hard to maintain a positive attitude during your workday. While it is important to stay abreast of current events, avoid the consumption of gloom and doom. If you choose your news wisely by focusing on relevant stories, it will be easier to maintain a positive attitude all day long.
- Count your blessings—not your troubles—which is one of Dale Carnegie’s principles for cultivating a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness. It’s easy to compare ourselves to other people and wallow in despair, which is why I always encourage people to ‘compare down.’ Instead of comparing yourself to someone who has your dream job, think about the perks of your current job and brainstorm how you can eventually earn that dream role. If you need to go back to school, explore options and enroll, which is much more fruitful than commiserating and doing nothing but complaining. If your neighbor just bought the vehicle you have always wanted (or you are stuck behind a school bus), think about the people who have no means of transportation. Counting your blessings will bestow feelings of gratitude enabling you to be more positive.
- Avoid stumbling over your past. Right now, this very second is called the present because it is a gift. You only have it once, so make the most of it. It’s normal for our minds to drift off and contemplate things about the past we wish we could change, but it’s a waste of time. Even breaking news itself is history. Instead, focus on “doing” and “creating” in lieu of regret. Dale Carnegie also said, “Try to profit from your losses.” Only revisit the past if your intention is to understand how you can put a positive spin on a similar situation in the future.
This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Western and Central PA, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Pennsylvania. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @dalecarnegiepa.