I recently read an article about a Harvard review of hundreds of studies that concluded that a positive attitude even helps prevent heart attacks. You can read the article here.
Parenting has a lot to do with attitudes, as well. Your attitude, theirs, the extended family’s…it all plays into your child’s developing world view. Sharon Silver notes that there is a cure for “bad attitudes,” and gives some practical tips in “A Cure for the Common Bad Attitude.”
What does it all boil down to? Listen more than you talk and focus on the good things in your life, your children, your job…you get the drift. How do we do that?
How do we decide to be happy?
It sounds simple, but like most things, it takes practice and work on something you may not have paid much attention to in your life. You must work on the things you say to yourself. You must work on the things you say to other people.
Jot down your thoughts about yourself for just one day. What are you saying to that most vulnerable person of all?
Now, start noting what you are saying to your spouse, parents, friends and most of all, your children. Do you think before you say negative things? Are you saying more negative things than positive things? Do you realize you are programming yourself, your relationship and your children?
Truth. It sounds like science fiction, but it is not. Our brains are incredibly sophisticated computers, capable of taking in mounds of information and feelings and synthesizing them into our individual worldviews. And they can be programmed for good instead of evil! 🙂
Here are a few things that seem to work well for me. You are welcome to try them and see if they are for you, or check around and find some other techniques that resonate with you. The Internet is a great resource and I am sure you will find something that isn’t too “woo woo” for some of you, or too clinical for others.
- Start the day off right. When you wake up in the morning, before your feet hit the floor, get in the habit of thinking something positive about your day. It can be a prayer of thanksgiving, a little stretching session that glories in the wonder of a healthy body, or just a positive thought about something you are doing that day or about someone you love. It takes about 28 days or so to make a habit, so give it that long to become something that will forever be a part of your personal attitude adjustment.
- Take a moment before you speak. This is harder than it sounds, but if you take that moment before you let the words come out of your mouth, it is the moment in which you can shape your speech into something more positive, more affirming, maybe even just more tactful.
- Focus on the good things in your life. Again, this will be hard for those of you who are much more attracted to the drama of the negative. But I assure you, if you will give your attention to the positive in your life, your children, your relationships and yourself; the rewards are immense. There is an old piece of wisdom that says, “You are as happy as you decide to be.” Decide to be happy. You won’t regret it, and neither will your family.
- Give yourself positive thoughts. Monitor your “self-talk” and mentally cut off that little tape that may be playing in the back of your head with negative observations, comparisons or self loathing. You deserve better than that, and if you quash those thoughts in your mind, you will be much less likely to share that mental tape with your children. Do it for them, even if it is hard to do it for yourself.
Good luck and here’s hoping for a positive day for you and for your family!