Need an Attitude Adjustment?

by Lynn Banis PhD -

Feeling down? Frustrated? Aggravated? Bummed out? Angry? Vengeful? 

Whatever it is, it is not the place you want to be but you are not sure how to get out of it. All of us get out of sorts at times. Getting back in a good mood is sometimes - well, lots of times - harder to achieve than just staying in the bad attitude. What can you do to quickly make an attitude adjustment?

First, you are the only person in charge of your mood and only you can change it. 

When you can make the shift to really believe that, not just intellectually but deep down in your heart, you will begin to realize that up until you make it part of your belief system you are giving over your power to other people. 

What do I mean by that? 

How often have you said, "You make me angry. That made me so sad. Public speaking makes me so nervous."? That is what I mean by giving over your power.

How exactly, do those things make you angry, sad nervous? Are they standing there say you must be angry, sad, nervous? Are they forcing you to do it? How is that possible?

I am definitely not saying that you don't have legitimate emotional reactions. I am saying that you chose how to feel from then on. For instance, when my son talks back I feel angry.

I then have a choice to make. I can choose to stay angry and fight with him, I can feel sad that he feels he needs to act that way, I can feel vengeful and laugh at him - there are all sorts of things I can choose to feel. 

What happens after my choice will be based on what I said or did. If I chose to empathize with my son yet stand my ground, I believe I might have a opportunity to open up some communication about why he was late.

Now let's apply this to ourselves when we need an attitude adjustment. 

3 Simple Steps 

The first step is to recognize opportunities to step in and take charge of your attitude. Usually we don't realize we are in an "attitude" until we are well into it. 

What is the first thing you notice when an attitude that you would like to change hits? 

Try to think of a physical thing. Maybe you have a tightening in your chest or stomach, maybe you feel your neck or face blush. 

Whatever it is for you can be turned into a signal telling you to stop and make a decision about how you are going to look at this situation before going forward.

Second, when your signal or red flag, as I call it, goes up STOP. Acknowledge to yourself that you caught it and then remind yourself that you are now in charge and you can chose what you are going to do and how you are going to act in response to the triggering incident.

Third, consider what you really want out of the situation. Do you want a fight, then fight. Do you want to clear the air, then clear the air. Do you want to minimize the incident, then minimize the incident. You get the picture!

Remember, your behavior and the emotions - which come across to others as your attitude - are yours to control. Step up and take your life back. It is yours after all.

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