How To Transform Negative Attitudes Into Positive Ones

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9 Steps to Change Negative Attitudes and Make Them Positive

A negative attitude implies a lack of awareness. You are not necessarily aware of a negative attitude that permeates your outlook on life, and because of this lack of awareness, your attitude affects your interactions with other people and with yourself.

And if you were aware? What if you could suddenly break out of the thought pattern that your attitude creates, choose a new pattern, and therefore a new attitude?

Think about your thoughts. Many sources of advice will not tell you this crucial point:

Changing your attitude is not about suppressing or eliminating negative thoughts. It's about changing your thought patterns through action.

Negative thoughts will come up, but when you meditate on them, it's like feeding and rewarding them so they come back and form a pattern.

When you change repetitive thought patterns, you change your attitude: it's a physical process, and with it comes the ability to change the world in which you live. You will achieve things you never thought possible before.

To effect this change, understand what to do with negative or unhelpful thoughts when they arise. This understanding will help you take action to change your attitude.

Harness the incredible power of retargeting

We often think limitedly in black and white. It's called binary thinking. Even thinking that thoughts are only negative or positive is a binary way of thinking.

You develop a negative attitude because you are convinced that this binary way of thinking is a true reflection of reality. When that way of thinking doesn't get good results, you blame it. Guilt doesn't help solve the binary thinking problem, it perpetuates it.

Binary thinking gives you tunnel vision when working on your goals. You think one approach is correct, but research shows that refocusing improves creativity. Redirection requires you to think differently when changing tasks.

Take a step back from what you are doing. Is there a different approach I can take? Who can you turn to for help? What haven't you tried?

Redirect your actions and you will find yourself thinking more creatively and positively when it comes to solving the original problem.

Amplify your positive talk

Positive self-talk is exactly what it sounds like: it's uplifting statements you make to yourself. So, you act on them.

The thing about positive self-talk is that it comes true. In other words, by focusing on your strengths and making positive affirmations about yourself, you become who you say you are and change your attitude.

Psychologist Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker identifies key statements made by mentally healthy people:

  • "I'm adorable"
  • "I am able"
  • “Most other people are also kind and capable”
  • "Success comes from doing"
  • "Challenges are opportunities"
  • "It is human to make mistakes"
  • “I have what it takes to handle change and make change happen”

Action creates change. Give yourself positive affirmations, act on those affirmations, and your outlook on life will change.

Be a change agent, not a victim

An agent is someone who is actively involved in making something happen. A victim is someone who suffers from circumstances beyond their control.

Being a victim is valid and real, but if there is no active search for a solution, you remain a victim: you remain passive and your attitude is bitter, helpless, or cynical.

You are an agent who can change your own attitude. Ultimately, your own actions are the only things you control.

You may not be able to control negative thoughts arising from a tragedy that was out of your control, but you can control how you react to those thoughts.

Consider the following methods for dealing with tragedies:

  • Talk to a counselor or someone who can give you an outside perspective.
  • Turn off the news, stop wallowing, and get active. Activities such as exercise, art, and games will help you better process your feelings, distracting your mind from repetitive negative thoughts.
  • Offer your support to others who have had a similar experience. If, for example, you are recovering from an addiction, find a support group.
  • Redirect painful emotions by finding an activity, such as volunteering, writing, music, or sports, that is emotionally satisfying and allows you to release pent-up emotions.

Sometimes tragedy is self-inflicted, which means you had a bad experience that isn't necessarily a tragedy, but you treat it as such. You become depressed, turn to drugs and alcohol, and reflect on your negative thoughts and feelings.

Be sure to recognize if this is happening and become a recovery agent instead of a victim.

Dream big, but set realistic expectations

This is the truth about your dream: it is real. What you really want out of life, call it a dream, a fantasy, or an ambition, is a real idea that you can and should stick with, no matter what.

To set realistic expectations, break your dream into achievable steps in the short term.

If you believe that you have the right, you expect everything to fall into place, you will not make your dream come true. Even if you are lucky and successful, you will not feel like a success because the law is a bottomless pit.

A negative attitude comes from expectations that don't align with reality. Again, your actions are the only thing you control. Science shows that you are not even necessarily in control of your thoughts.

But you are in control of the thoughts you choose to stop. Focus on your plans. You can expect to continue when you focus and mark the steps to complete a task. Focus on the tasks you need to complete to make your dream come true.

Turn negative thoughts into the last questions

Asking questions opens your mind to new ideas. This helps you start building trust. Positive self-talk can be difficult because your mind is like a broken record. You tell yourself you're great, but every time you say it, the thought that no one loves you comes up 10 times.

Forbes' Melody Wilding has an excellent recommendation: "When you find that your internal critics are making accusations, think: How can I turn that statement into a question?"

Here are some examples:

  • Instead of "Something must be wrong with me," say "What are the steps to success?"
  • Instead of "I hate going to the grocery store," say "How can I save time at the grocery store?"
  • Instead of "these people are annoying," say "How can I talk to these people to make this meeting enjoyable?"
  • Instead of "I was a complete jerk last night", say "What can I do differently in the future?"

In this way, you are opening up possibilities for new constructive thoughts. You are also paying attention to your thoughts and doing something with them.


In almost all cases, you will develop a negative attitude if you choose to be angry and depressed instead of laughing. But how can you choose to laugh when something feels horribly awful?

This is where imagination and mental exercise come into play. Choose to look at a disappointing or discouraging circumstance in a different way. What is ironic, absurd, or scandalous about this circumstance?

Is there an opposite circumstance you can imagine, one that is so fantastically cool that it makes you cry just thinking about it? Are there details that are just weird?

If you're down, go for comedy: Pick something that makes your face look happy. Train yourself to look for opportunities for good humor and you will train yourself to have a positive attitude.

Accept your emotions and release them with confidence

The moment you experience an emotion, there is a reason for it, and therefore it is valid.

Here's the challenge: You need to control what you do with that emotion.

You can bottle up the emotion and let it fester, but that leads to things like depression, suppressed anger, and low self-esteem.

You can release your emotion at the moment you feel it without thinking, but this creates problems in relationships with other people. Or, you can confidently release emotions in a way that affirms yourself and your boundaries.

  • Practice noticing your emotions when you feel them on a daily basis. Notice what the emotion is and be there with it.
  • When you feel a strong emotion like anger, take time to notice your anger, take a deep breath, and calm down.
  • Find out what or who caused your anger and why.
  • Make yourself count Don't be stingy, be confident. Say something like, "I would prefer that you treat all party members as equals. I can't speak for all party members, but it's very important to me."
  • Define your boundaries by repeating statements in the first person, such as "I don't want you to yell at me, I feel uncomfortable." If there is a problem, I prefer to talk about it calmly."

If you accept your emotions by processing them, asking who, what, why, and how, and then dealing with them by expressing yourself with confidence, your behavior will remain confident, calm, and positive.

Create, move, believe, and contemplate great things

Once you know you are in control of how you react to thoughts and emotions, and your actions in turn create a self-reinforcing pattern, a vast world of greatness is available to you.

Greatness is there because in every moment you can choose it

You can choose to listen to your deepest emotions, which are beautiful in their intense purity, and you can translate them into new things. New songs, poems, sayings, artwork, tours, workouts, food, friendships, jobs - it's all there for you.

Every negative thought is a positive response waiting to happen

Feel how your positive responses and attitudes are so good that you wouldn't change them for anything else. Believe that you are amazing and that your actions will have amazing results, even if you are not around to see the results blossom.

Behold great things because they are the best things to behold

What if your decision to appreciate the whims of others one day turns into love? What if your decision to write in your journal every day becomes a memory? You are capable of all these things and life can be great.

Leave with the four agreements but agree to always come back

A man named Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a book called The Four Agreements. With these agreements, Ruiz distills pearls of ancient Toltec wisdom. In order to transform his attitude, he commits to do the following:

  • Don't make assumptions
  • Don't take anything personal
  • Be impeccable with your words
  • Do your best

There you have it, think about how these agreements inform your actions.

If you are doing the best you can, you are in the moment.

If you are impeccable with your word, you say things that reflect the world you want to create.

If you do not take anything personally, you are not offended by other people's words and actions, then you do not attack them.

If you don't make assumptions, you have realistic expectations.

Check back for tips to help you again and again. With an attitude that says, "I'm always learning," you'll do just that, and your life will keep getting better.

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