Top ten ways to improve your mental attitude[1]

by Bruce St. John

Personal energy is an important component of personal and business productivity. Most people cycle between positive and negative energy states during the work week. But the percentage of time spent in positive and negative moods varies significantly. Some people seem to be overwhelmingly negative, while others in similar circumstances can remain much more positive. Increasing the time spent in positive states will improve personal productivity.

The following ten tips suggest ways to facilitate a more positive attitude.

1. Work first on your relationships.

Relationships are both our best sources of happiness and our biggest sources of problems and frustrations. Developing good relationships and improving or ending the poor relationships in your life will increase your personal energy.

An effective tactic to start improving your relationships is to develop better personal boundaries and standards and work on reducing tolerations.

2. Develop a routine to start every day in a positive mental state.

It is very helpful to start the day with a routine that creates positive energy. Many people find activities like an early morning walk, exercise, meditation, quiet time, etc., effective in getting their day off to a positive start. It is easier to stay positive, if you can start with a positive attitude.

3. Learn how to monitor your current mental state and changes to it.

This is a complex area, but if you can link negative mood changes to a source or cause, then you are frequently in a position to quickly change back. The important point here is once you are in a negative state, get the message or value from the situation, then take some action to return to a positive state. This is discussed more in #6 below.

4. Create an energising physical environment.

Invest some time and money to make your personal surroundings pleasing and energising to you. Some small items may make a big difference to how your personal space affects your moods.

Poor lighting can lower your mental state, especially in the winter. I put 800 watts of halogen lighting in my workspace and noticed a big mood improvement. Some people report a big improvement in their mood just by cleaning up their bedroom and making the bed before leaving for work. Clutter is de-energising to many people. A sink full of dirty dishes is de-energising to some.

A small water fountain can create a feeling of energy. Music can offset feelings of isolation. Feng Shui is an entire discipline that addresses the harmony of physical surroundings. Further reading in this topic may give you some good ideas.

5. Carefully monitor your self-talk.

Negative self talk is a common source of low moods. When you are hearing negative self talk, be alert to the unrealistic, overly negative messages. Focus on getting any truthful message, then shifting out of overly self-defeating criticism. It is true that we are usually our own worst critic.

6. Develop methods of shifting yourself to a more positive state.

Once you are aware of your negative moods, and have developed your own method of getting the value out of the bad mood, then craft methods of moving back to a positive mood. These methods can include positive self talk, taking action towards a desirable goal, interacting with another person.

One creative method is to maintain a Truth Journal in which you write down your personal Truth about various topics. This Truth can include past successes, what you are really good at, things you enjoy, compliments you have received, progress towards goals, etc. Then, when you are feeling negative about a topic, read the Truth Journal.

7. Deal with problems effectively.

Problems are a part of life. Few people enjoy problems. But, in many cases we can learn from problems. It may help to ask yourself several questions, such as:

  1. What am I contributing to this problem?

  2. What Life Lesson have I been missing here?

  3. What is the worst that can happen and how can I improve on that?

  4. What am I doing right?

  5. What am I going to do differently?

Getting into a habit of using problems as learning experiences can help us avoid becoming de-energised when they occur.

8. Focus your energy on attracting more of what you want.

Time and energy spent dwelling on problems is frequently better spent pursuing desirable goals. It helps to examine your own contribution to any difficulties and understand how you may need to change. Then be sure to ask others directly for what you want from them; don't fall into the trap of under communicating.

In this way, you are always making course corrections and moving forward. I have found it helpful to print out a list of goals, and my theme for the week first thing Monday morning. This seems to help me get started on a positive note.

9. Be a positive energy source with others.

Negative energy seems to attract negative results. Keeping your own mood positive can encourage positive moods and suppress negative behaviour in others.

10. Avoid using negative energy as an energy source

Many people have a shortage of positive energy in their lives and use negative energy as their energy source. They create busyness, use deadlines, crises, and problems to keep them going. In many cases, their motivation patterns shift completely from seeking pleasure to avoiding pain. In most cases, serious burnout is the eventual result of becoming dependent on negative energy sources.

horizontal rule

This content my be forwarded in full, with copyright /contact/ creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from CoachU is required, with notification to the original author.

Email author Bruce St.John or visit his website