Ten Ways to Achieve an Attitude Adjustment

With the economy being what it is, many of you may be feeling more down that up…even if you don’t follow the stock market! But—unlike the stock market—being down is a condition you can control. That is, assuming you are not clinically depressed.

We make ourselves depressed by comparing situations or events in our lives unfavorably to what we imagine they should be. Often this happens so quickly and subconsciously we don’t realize it. For example, you might might see a friend bought a bigger house or got promoted. Then you might feel depressed about not doing the same. Yet, all of us have many events, people, and circumstances in our lives, and we can purposely focus on the things that bring us happiness rather than sadness.

Use the ten ideas below to help change your attitude:

  1. Make a list of what’s good in your life right now. Things can always be worse, so be glad they aren’t. Think your life is miserable? Read the news. By and large there are many people around the world a lot worse off. This works for simple stuff too. For example, on the one hand, I’m not crazy about sitting in traffic jams, but on the other hand, I’m glad I have a working car, and I am still physically able to drive it. To break out of negative thinking, such as “everything” is bad, force yourself to list at least three things that are good. Then three more. Pretty soon, you will see there are many good things in your life. It’s all a matter of focus.
  2. Make a list of activities that change your mood. I’m not talking about getting drunk here. I’m referring to healthy things like going to the movies, having a coffee, reading the paper, playing golf, bike riding, and so on. Research has shown action creates emotion. The more you smile, the more happy you are, not the other way around as is commonly thought. Depression is a state of mind where one tends to focus on being depressed and thus becomes even more depressed. So, make a long list of activities that lift your mood. Then go and do one of them.
  3. Remember no one knows for sure what tomorrow brings. When we are depressed, we often assume that everything is terrible and it’s going to remain that way forever. But tomorrow can bring an entire shift in your life. To illustrate the point, here is a guy who was minding his own business and found out he was sitting on an oil field.
  4. Get healthy, both physically and financially. When we avoid eating right or let bills mount, it is really more stressful and limiting than the short term gain achieved. At first, going to the gym might seem hard, but you learn to adjust and then feel better. It’s the same thing for your finances. Here are seven ways to simplify your finances.
  5. Ask yourself: What’s the payoff for being depressed? In other words, why are you choosing to be depressed? Clinical depression aside, feeling down is a choice. Perhaps you are trying to influence others to come to your aid or finding excuses to avoid unpleasant activities. Regardless, there is often some underlying purpose. Look for that purpose and determine if it suits your needs.
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    The Creative Whack Pack
  7. Get out and do different things. Meet some new people. Find new activities or hobbies. There are a huge amount of low-cost or free activities available. Check out your community center, join Toastmasters, or volunteer at the local hospital. Or check out this Creative Whack Pack, a fun set of playing cards with ideas about how to change your life.
  8. Focus on what’s in front of you. A spiritual teacher once told me a great way to get unstuck in life: Do what’s in front of you as fast as you can. As we go through life, we often let little things pile up that we are putting off for some reason. These little things might seem insignificant compared with seemingly large and pressing demands, but the little unresolved things often represent psychological blind spots. Resolving them leads to insights that show a better way forward in life.
  9. Generate many possibilities for change. We are often stuck by our limiting assumptions. Many of the assumptions we’ve developed throughout life are probably obsolete. The problem is, we don’t know which ones. Generating many possibilities for what we could do loosens up those assumptions and opens the door for new, previously discarded, yet valuable ideas.
  10. Appreciate people and events around you. Appreciating people and circumstances leads to a virtuous circle—the more you do the more you get. The more you appreciate good things, the more you recognize the good in your life. The more you appreciate other people, the more they appreciate you.
  11. Destress, dejunk, and simplify. Having many time-consuming responsibilities can be overwhelming. Find ways to reduce your chores and unnecessary tasks. Junk also induces psychological stress, so clean out the garage and your closets. Possibly incorporate techniques for stress reduction into your daily routine. Finally, there are many good websites with other tips on how to simplify your life.
  12. These ideas work. I’ve used some of them for thirty years. For further reading, I also learned many of these ideas from Tony Robbins’ classic, Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!

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