How’s your attitude? I found myself second-guessing, making assumptions, and generally chasing Don Quixote’s windmills this week.

Attitude: “A manner of thinking, feeling, or behaving that reflects a state of mind or disposition.”

I try to keep my attitude on the positive side. That comes easily most days, but now and then, I feel the tug of fear or lose my confidence.

I call them the blahs. A blah day can creep in any time, usually sneaking in the back door without warning.

When our children were young, they often had days when absolutely nothing would make them happy. I would send them to their room with this task to adjust their attitude.

“Go to your  room, and don’t come out until you find your happy face.”

Oh, you could hear the wailing or stomping of little feet and the occasional slammed door. Without fail, in a short time, I might see a little smile behind a tear-stained cheek standing in the doorway.

The approach works for all of us, no matter our age. This week, I sent myself to my room to find my smile, a positive attitude, and gratitude for the day.

More Attitude Adjustors

No. 1 Go for a walk

Nature has a way of bringing out your best. Fresh air can clear the cobwebs and brighten your perspective. When I get stuck in my head, a stroll to the lake and several deep breaths send me on my way with a new outlook.

No. 2 Laugh — Watch a funny show or video

The phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine” is no exaggeration. Laughter relieves stress, and the long-term benefits include an improved immune system and resiliency. I have a 30-second video clip of my grandson and husband playing with squeals of laughter. My whole demeanor changes within five seconds and a huge smile embraces me, every time. 

No. 3 Write down three things that make you smile

Gratitude has a profound impact on the attitude you carry around with you every day. When we look for the positive in ourselves and others, we make the world a happier place. I’ve learned to include the “why” for my gratitude, which adds meaning to my thankfulness.

No. 4 Help someone

When we get out of our own space and heads, we can open the door to changing our attitude and perspective. “Helping others takes the mind and emotions off the self, allowing the mind to move past anxieties and rumination.”

No. 5 Say something nice — to yourself

A little self-care can go a long way in liking ourselves. Take time for self-compassion and treat yourself like you would a treasured friend. I say things to myself and criticize my efforts in ways I would never to do others, especially my family or closest friends. 

I also try to remember the advice of Maya Angelou.

“If you don’t like something, change it.  
If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Every day is an opportunity to become better, even if better is just brightening your attitude. You can always start over. We forget about the power and truth of new beginnings. Every moment gives a choice to begin again.

The tragedy in Chuck Harmon’s life didn’t break him. He could easily have given up, but he chose another path for his life because Attitude Is the Paintbrush of the Mind. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of my pity party, I search for inspirations like Chuck. He reminds me that I often create obstacles that prevent me from moving forward when I feel like a failure.

I didn’t add this to my top five attitude adjustors, but music, like pixie dust, erases my blues. Music has a powerful effect and can change how we feel and act. I have a playlist of “happy” songs, and like those little faces that came out of their rooms smiling, I can see clearly now—try it!

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you
as by the attitude you bring to life;
not so much by what happens to you
as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”
—Khalil Gibran

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

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Photo:  Looking for Clarity © Kathryn LeRoy