How to change my attitude towards life

How To Change Your Attitude When You Can’t Change Your Situation

The phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” may not always be one you embrace—especially when an unexpected life situation arises. But no matter how difficult life feels, there’s something to be said for making the most out of the moment. 

This doesn’t mean you should lie down, get comfortable, and refrain from making changes in your life because everything is spiralling out of your control. What it does mean, is making changes to how you feel about it. When you can’t change your situation, you can make changes to your attitude. Roadblocks may make you feel out of control, defeated, and emotionally exhausted, but you don’t have to live there. 

Most of us feel uncertain and distressed when faced with situations we can’t change, no matter what personality type we are. The good news is, no matter your situation, you can learn to change your attitude.

1. Managing your stress

Stress plays a large factor in our emotions and how we handle them. Suppressing your stress or mismanaging it can provoke changes in your attitude, and lead to any number of things that affect your mood. 

For instance, unmanaged stress can result in physical ailments, anxiety, or depression. Prolonged exposure to stress may weaken the immune system, and when you don’t feel well physically, it can impact how you feel mentally.

The Mayo Clinic also points out that anger, restlessness, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and a lack of motivation are all physical symptoms of stress.

If your situation is causing you to feel stressed, the first thing to implement is a proper stress management regime to uplift your mood and attitude. Common recommendations include exercise, art therapy, journaling, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga,  meditation, and social activities. It’s normal for everyone to have their own techniques. 

2. Recognize negative feelings and thoughts  

Regardless of whether you type as a Feeler or a Thinker in the Myers and Briggs personality system, your emotions (and how you process them) will play a large part in your attitude. You can’t move forward with an attitude change if you’re still letting feelings of disappointment or unhappiness lead your day. 

If you’re a highly rational Feeler, you may feel you’ve already recognized your feelings and looked at them logically. Other types may struggle with this process. Either way, it is not until you deal with your emotions, rather than dismissing them or rationalizing them, that you will feel better equipped to begin the journey to changing your attitude. 

The best way to get your feelings out on the table is to write them down or engage in a hobby that allows for emotional expression. Running, for example, is a meditative activity that may allow yourself to engage in inner reflection.

After identifying your feelings and recognizing negative thought processes, such as blaming yourself for life events that are outside your control, ask yourself why you feel that way. Acknowledge it, and then give yourself permission to let go of thoughts that do you no good.      

3. Changing what is possible

While you may not be able to change your situation as a whole, you can always implement small changes in your life that help improve things. Ask yourself, “What can I change that’s been bothering me?” 

Think of small things that will make life easier, lighten your mood and give your outlook a boost. Is your home office too cluttered? Have you been putting off organizing? Maybe you have a small goal you’ve yet to implement, such as reading ten pages a day or starting a new exercise routine or cooking regimen? 

While implementing small, focused goals in your day-to-day life may not feel like the big-picture solution that types like ENFPs, ENFJs and ENTPs crave, it’s still a helpful tip for every type. Judging types especially may feel better when they meet small goals, because it gives them a sense of control and accomplishment. For Perceivers, different goals are always emerging. But it’s the act of doing something – rather than doing nothing – that helps you feel in control of a situation. Alphabetizing your new bookshelf can give you an attitude lift! 

As an INFJ, the recent COVID-19 shut down in California forced me to embrace these small goals I’d been putting off for months. And the steps I took, while small, have given me a feeling of consistency, peace, and accomplishment when I otherwise might have felt out of my comfort zone, with little control over my day-to-day. 

Most of the time, small changes are doable, so why wouldn’t you take them on? Take a look at your schedule, find a slot of ten minutes, and think, “What can I fill this time with to make myself feel happier? What changes can I make?” 

4. Practice gratitude and acceptance 

My mother told me that she never knew what acceptance was until she’d been through the fire after an illness she couldn’t control. Like many people, she used to think that “accepting what you can’t change” means to accept that you have no control over your life; a surrender. 

But acceptance doesn’t mean you take whatever life is throwing at you at face value. It means you’re aware of when a circumstance is inalterable, but you remain grateful and aware of other things you can change to pull yourself through. It’s recognizing that sometimes, we aren’t in the cockpit of the plane (yes, I know it’s hard Judging types). But you can, and will, get through difficult life events. 

Life doesn’t always hand out the easy cards. But if you accept that you can’t change your circumstance, you’ll find yourself more readily equipped to roll with the punches rather than sitting in a negative stew of blame. You’ll understand that you’re not surrendering control, but altering where you focus your control. 

Perceiving types may find more comfort in not planning, but even they can grow tired of feeling out of control. Accepting doesn’t come easy for everyone, especially when you’re a hard-headed INFJ who craves an odd balance of structure and freedom like me. But once you allow yourself the chance to accept life as it is, you don’t need to feel out of control. There is always something you can control, and always a way to make life brighter during the tough times.

5. Set affirmations 

Changing your attitude is learning a new habit. That means you’re going to have days that require extra patience and extra reminders. That’s okay. You’re allowed to have days where you feel down—we all are. 

One way to commit to an attitude change is to remind yourself daily. Voice your intentions, or affirmations, before you get your day started. Wake up and tell yourself that you’re going to have a good day and you’re going to be more positive. When you repeat something to yourself long enough, it has a lasting effect on your mood, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

6. Acknowledge your accomplishments

I am the first to say how much I hate giving myself praise, but there are times when it’s essential to give yourself a pat on the back. Whenever a situation has you down, acknowledging your past accomplishments gives you a chance to reflect.  

Try reminding yourself of the times you pulled through a tough situation; remember the things you’ve accomplished, no matter the odds. Take time to cheer yourself on and remember situations will eventually change.

7. Immerse yourself in things that make you happy

You’d be amazed how much lighter you’ll feel when you immerse yourself in things that make you feel joy. Although your day-to-day may make you feel negative, you can give yourself a boost by incorporating things you’re passionate about into your life. 

This can be as easy as singing along to a song you love, listening to a podcast that inspires you, practicing a self-care routine, cooking a favorite dish, or watching a film. 

Make the changes!

This year has been anything but predictable, and that can cause even the most unflappable person to feel out of kilter. Making these changes may not be easy at first, but once you’ve changed your attitude, you can better handle any situation life throws at you and learn to cope when you feel out of control.

5 Tips On How To Change Your Attitude For The Better

John N. Mitchell said it best when he said that, “Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.” We’ve all heard about the power of our attitude, and that it’s our attitude that determines how much we succeed in life.

If you look around you, you will see that people with a positive attitude enjoy life more and are generally happier and more successful than those who walk around grumpy and pessimistic. Our attitude is the driving force in our lives—it can either push you to do great things or pull you down to your demise.

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

While it’s true that humans are born with certain tendencies or orientations, our personalities and attitudes are developed through our relationships and experiences. Our attitudes begin to develop in childhood and constantly evolve and change over the years through day-to-day interactions and experiences.

All the things that you have been through, all the people you have met and interacted with can have an impact on your attitude. If you think that all these factors have molded you into a person with a poor attitude towards life, there is no need to worry as there is always an opportunity for change. Let me share with you how I did it.

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

1. Identify and understand what you want to change.

The first step towards change is clearly understanding what needs to be changed. Setting clear goals is the key to success in any endeavor. When it comes to changing your attitude, you need to do an honest and in-depth self-evaluation so you could point out exactly which of your traits need to be improved or totally changed.

2. Look for a role model.

We all need to know that what we’re trying to accomplish can in fact be achieved; that we can be more optimistic, more social or more patient. Find someone who has the kind of attitude that you want to have, and let his or her life give you inspiration and encouragement to move beyond your temporary failures in your journey towards becoming a better person.

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

3. Think about how your attitude change will affect your life.

To be able to hurtle through all the difficulties that lie ahead of you in your journey towards self betterment, you need to figure out exactly what this supposed change could bring to your life. Will changing your attitude mean a happier family or social life? Will a change in your attitude mean a more successful career or business? Fix your mind on the things that would come as a result of your attitude change and you will have a greater chance of reaching your goal.

4. Choose the right company.

As they say, “Bad company corrupts good character. ” You don’t expect yourself to be able to change if you go on surrounding yourself with people who possess all the negative traits that you want to change. Consider befriending new people, especially those who are optimistic and have a healthy attitude towards life. You will see that your effort to change will be easier with these kinds of people as friends.

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

5. Believe that you are able to change.

Often, the greatest obstacle between us and our goals is ourselves or our inability to trust in what we are able to do. If you don’t believe in yourself or believe that you or your life can change, it just won’t happen—you will either never start, or give up quickly so you won’t  have even given yourself the opportunity to succeed.

It cannot be denied that a positive attitude is very important for living a successful and satisfying life, so it is only right to strive to have a positive attitude. I have struggled with reforming my negative attitude as well, but over the years, through persistence and self evaluation, I have managed to change for the better. You can too!

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

⌄ Scroll down to continue reading article ⌄

How to change your attitude towards life: 7 tips for those who want to become an optimist

Alena Lepilina

People with a high level of stress resistance turn unpleasant situations into an opportunity to learn something new. But not all of us are optimists. However, our brain is designed in such a way that it can be reprogrammed and it is much easier to experience life's troubles. Here are some tips from John Arden, veteran neuroscientist and author of Taming the Amygdala.

Optimism and resilience: where to find them

Emotionally stable people adapt to circumstances by focusing on hidden opportunities. For example, due to a lack of finances, you get a new job and find that it is much more difficult, it takes a lot of time and energy, you have to work overtime. It’s hard for you to get out of your comfort zone, which is why discontent accumulates. But, probably, after a while you will find that the new field of activity is more interesting and better than the old one.

Perhaps you were lucky and something very close to your expectations happened, but did it really bring you pleasure? It is likely that you are too busy waiting for the next specific result.

If you are attached to expecting a particular result and something else comes out, you are frustrated.

As a rule, things don't turn out quite the way you want, and you have two options: accept what happened, or regret that the desired result was not achieved. In any case, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to live in the present and enjoy the here and now.

Resilience is about staying hopeful in the face of adversity and doing what needs to be done to change things for the better. This kind of optimism is part of emotional intelligence.

Unhealthy pessimism

A pessimistic attitude has a bad effect not only on mental health, but also on physical health. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania suggested that pessimism negatively affects health for the following reasons:

  • you do not believe that your actions can make a difference;
  • more bad things happen in your life because you react negatively to neutral situations, and also because you make efforts in vain or incorrectly;
  • pessimism suppresses the immune system.

Pessimists drive themselves into depression. Their negative perception of the world does not leave them the opportunity to positively evaluate at least some event.

Neuroscience and joy of life

Optimism is not just the belief that the glass is half full. Stress gives you a chance to try to do something differently, in a new way, like never before. And if you focus on this opportunity, then who knows where it will lead? No wonder they say that there is no evil without good. And what is most interesting, this saying is increasingly confirmed by science.

The ability to recover from a negative emotional state is an important characteristic of stress tolerance.

Interhemispheric asymmetry - it implies that the hemispheres participate in different processes (creativity, perception, speech) in different ways - is also associated with human emotions. Scientists have found that people who are dominated by the left frontal lobe, as a rule, are optimistic, active and believe that their efforts will bring results. But those who have the “more important” right frontal lobe are prone to a negative emotional style in behavior. They are more prone to anxiety, sadness, restlessness, passivity and refusal to take action.

The good news is that there are ways to "rewire" the brain. People who are dominated by the left frontal lobe (“positive”) are able to neutralize the negative. It turns out that a person’s resistance to stress depends on the ability to suppress negative emotions, including the emotion of fear, for the manifestation of which the amygdala (or amygdala) is responsible.

Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin was one of the first to study the phenomenon of hemispheric asymmetry and its effect on the emotional state of a person. He suggested that people who practice a positive emotional and life attitude, such as through mindfulness meditation, become more resilient.

How to change your attitude towards life

The way you approach life and your attitude to the events that happen to you greatly affect your stress level and your ability to change your emotional attitude. Here are some tips to help rewire your brain to a positive wave.

1. Don't wear a "victim shirt"

People who look positively at the world and cope with problems more easily have a realistic awareness that what they do is within their control. They consider themselves active participants in the process, and not helpless victims of the prevailing circumstances. They do not demonstrate learned helplessness and know how to take off their “victim shirt” in time.

2. Set ambitious goals for yourself

In line with the principle that moderate levels of stress help rewire the brain and provide a "vaccination" against more severe stress, set goals that require you to work harder

3. Treat change as a chance for a better life

Try to see change, even if it's bad (although it most likely seems so at first glance), as an opportunity to act in a new way, and not as a crisis to be protected from.

4. Don't Forget Social Medicine

The support of friends and family is more important than you think. People with a high level of stress resistance actively use social support, which mitigates the consequences of stressful situations for them. At the same time, it should be aimed at caring and encouraging, and not cause self-pity and dependence in a person.

5. Do what you love

Scientists have found that stress-resistant people put their time and effort into what they do. They are full of energy and interest in their work.

6. Don't let yourself get bored

Moderate stress will keep you from getting bored with your daily routine. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, has described how you can avoid anxiety from overstimulation and at the same time not succumb to boredom. Finding a balance between these two states creates a state of “flow” in a person, which brings real pleasure.

7. Be curious

Curiosity plays an important role in how efficiently the brain works. If you develop an insatiable curiosity in yourself, any environment you find yourself in will become a source of new impressions and knowledge for you. An emotionally and intellectually rich environment stimulates the property of neuroplasticity of the brain, while an environment devoid of these characteristics leads to degradation.

There are people who, after serious injuries, thanks to their resilience, have started a new life. They don't forget what they've been through, but they don't sit back and wait for something good to happen. Instead, they work hard. And you need yourself as well. They are worth admiring and remembering such examples when you find yourself in a series of failures. You can start rewiring your brain by creating a positive attitude yourself, and everything will work out.

Liked? Subscribe to our helpful newsletter. Once every two weeks we send a selection of the best articles from the blog

Based on the book "Taming the Amygdala"

I'm positive! How to change your attitude to life and others for the better: advice from a psychologist

The modern world is a place of incredible transformations, ups and downs, crises and new opportunities. How in all this turmoil not to lose yourself and remain a positive-minded person? According to many researchers, it is important to develop the ability to see positive changes and focus on opportunities, and perceive mistakes as just one of the ways that does not work. 9 told more about this0009 Irina Stafiychuk, specialist of the Moscow Psychological Assistance Service.

Learning to notice the good

« To begin with, I suggest doing a little exercise. It will show to what extent you have developed a positive perception of reality and whether it is easy for you to put it into practice”, — advises Irina.

Exercise: Say five positive things each day to your family members or friends. For example: " dear, I'm glad that I have you", "daughter, how beautiful you are", "son, I love you" . Try to do it sincerely.

At the same time, it is important to look at yourself from the outside: how long do you come up with such sentences, at what moment you speak, with what intonation you pronounce, what is happening to your face at that time, what are the bodily reactions. Such an analysis will help you understand what difficulties you are facing, and it is likely that you will be surprised by the response of your loved ones. If you continue to do this exercise, then soon you will develop a good habit and the ability to notice the positive in people around you.

More reasons to be happy

It is also helpful to observe how often you feel sad or happy. To do this, you can draw an emoticon corresponding to your emotion in your notebook every hour. The exercise should be done within three days, a week or a month . “At the end of the experiment, count the sad and happy emoticons. What more? Perhaps you have reason to think. But no matter what result you get, it is important to remember that our brain recognizes a smile as a signal for the production of endorphin hormones, which are responsible for joy and positive mood, and also help to cope with stress. Therefore, use this knowledge to manage your condition”, — says the psychologist. Try to come up with all sorts of reasons to be happy and smile - this is another important step towards becoming a positive person.

From minus to plus

In everyday life, you can use an interesting psychological technique - positive reframing. This is a change in the perception of something, a consideration of the situation from an unexpected side. See something positive in something negative. « For example, you are annoyed by a strict leader, but you try to be more attentive and responsible in your work. Or your bus is delayed, which means there is time to call loved ones, read a book or plan some business, ” says the specialist.

Be grateful

According to neuroscientists, another way to develop positive thinking is to express gratitude. Research in this area has shown that people who say thank you often are happier and more joyful than others.

To develop this skill, it is recommended to keep a diary in which every day for a month you should write down from 5 to 10 thanks. For example, " I thank myself for learning English, I thank myself for meeting an old friend, I am grateful for the successful resolution of my problem, I am grateful for a sunny day, I am grateful to my parents for an unexpected proposal" .

« For this practice, you can make your own bracelet to your taste. It should be used like a rosary. Touching each bead, you can remember what brought you joy and give thanks for it. And if you put it on your hand, then during the day it will remind you that the world is filled with abundance, kind people, wonderful situations and joyful moments , ”advises the psychologist.

Letting go of resentment

To become a positive person, it is also necessary to take into account the fact that you should get rid of internal blocks, psychological trauma and resentment. Perhaps for this you need to turn to professional help from a psychologist, but you can quite handle some of the above on your own.

For example, a very effective psychological technique for dealing with resentment is writing letters. First, you need to get rid of all negative experiences. To do this, you should write to the offender about your feelings, about everything that you have long wanted to tell him.

Next, you need to imagine yourself in the role of this person and write an excuse letter on his behalf, in which the offender will apologize and explain the reasons for his actions and behavior. Here you can also write all the kind words that you have wanted to hear for so long. It is important not to correct or reread letters. Write as much as you want, and until you feel empty, liberated.

And in conclusion, I would like to say that you should practice daily in a positive perception of reality, and for this it is important to remember the Losado coefficient. The fact is that there should be three times more positive interactions in business relationships than negative ones, and five to one in family life.

Learn more