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5 Things to Do to Improve Your Attitude

Updated on August 6, 2020
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As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Charcoal drawing of my friend Lupe who is over 70.
Charcoal drawing of my friend Lupe who is over 70. | Source

A Positive Attitude

There are so many things that can bring your attitude and mood down: just the current news headlines can do it. Family, health, weather and so much more can kill a good attitude. However, the doctors say that good health is as much a matter of good attitude as it is in physical wellness. Cancer patients are instructed to keep their mood up as much as possible while fighting the disease. One doctor told us that a good attitude was 50% of the battle. How do you do that?

I have a few methods that have helped at my home and I am willing to share them.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

— William James

1. Soothing Uplifting Music

There is nothing like music to soothe the savage breast. When was the last time you heard a favorite tune and couldn’t stop yourself from singing along? How often have you heard some old melody that cheered you and brought images of a pleasanter time? The truth is that I have a few favorites that will also bring a tear to my eye because they are associated with a time and a sad memory. The key to uplifting attitude changers is to keep the music soothing and filled with happy memories.

In a study published in the Journal of American Medicine, children showed less distress and less pain during routine medical procedures while listening to music. Another study showed music therapy was useful in treating depression and some studies report it helps reduce high blood pressure as well. I believe that to be true. I know I always feel calmer and more clear thinking when listening to soothing instrumental music.

Before a child talks they sing. Before they write they draw. As soon as they stand they dance. Art is fundamental to human expression.

— Phylicia Rashad
Piano music is very soothing
Piano music is very soothing | Source

2. Yoga

Before this last year, I would have found the addition of yoga to my routine for a positive attitude to be of questionable benefit. However, after following a beginner’s routine for the past few months and having felt the value for myself, I can no longer argue. Unlike aerobic exercise, which I have tried in the past, it is calming and yet strengthening for my muscles. I have to face it. I’m getting older and spending more time in my chair than is good for me. The inclusion of this basic yoga exercise has made a huge difference in my health and mood. I feel better about myself in general and happier when I finish my routine each morning. My mind feels clearer and ready for my day to begin. Also, I am not afraid of getting down on the floor as I am much stronger to get up again; something that was problematic before I began.

Studies have shown yoga to decrease stress, help alleviate anxiety, improve health, fight depression, improve breathing, and reduce chronic pain. In my case, the improved balance is of the utmost importance as well and improved quality sleep. Actually, I think that many kinds of exercise bring all these benefits but yoga fits with my life right now and works for me.

I love when the yoga instructor I follow says to lift my heart to the sky. She means to arch my back lift my chest, but the idea of lifting my heart actually lifts my heart.

Dedicate 30 Day Challenge Yoga With Adriene

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give you happiness.

— Thomas Jefferson

3. Sunshine

It is well known in my home that long grey winters are depressing. My doctor has prescribed extra vitamin D because of my lack of exposure to sunshine. The truth is that as we grow older, our skin’s ability to process sunlight into the necessary vitamin D is lessened. However, beyond the vitamin requirements, a change of scenery every day is necessary to promote good mood and lift the attitude. Even a short walk for 10 minutes in the sunshine can improve the mood considerably.

One medical report says that the winter blues is a condition that happens because serotonin is not being produced in enough quantities to maintain a cheerful attitude. Medical reports aside, I know I always feel the positive effects of fresh air and sunshine on my face even in these brisk waning winter months.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.

— Anton Chekhov
Collage of my cousin Jessie sitting in the sun.
Collage of my cousin Jessie sitting in the sun. | Source

4. Play

Who knows about sheer happiness more than children? They seem to make even the simplest things a time of great enjoyment and pleasure. At my home, even mealtime became a game. I tried to discourage my delicate daughters from playing “See food” at the table, but it still made me laugh when they did it. (They often got me with this game. Someone would announce Sea Food? And I would reply, “no we are having chicken..” to which they would all open their mouths and show me the partially chewed “see food”. )

Have you noticed how many YouTubers publish home videos of their cats doing some cute, funny, playful thing? It often goes viral because cats can be so entertaining when they are playing. Why do we love to watch that so much? I think it naturally registers with the playful side of all of us. I know it makes my day when I have had a good belly laugh from one of those silly cat antic videos.

Collage of friends
Collage of friends | Source

5. Hugs

I can’t think of anything that does my heart good more than a good hug. I’ve always been a hugger. My mother used to say I hugged so much and wanted hugs so often that it made her uncomfortable. I had no idea. Some people just aren’t huggers at heart. Still, I think a hug is a warm, wordless affirmation that everyone needs from time to time.

According to a 2015 study by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University examining the benefits of hugging, they found beyond lowering stress and high blood pressure, it actually lowered the susceptibility to the common cold after being exposed to the virus. The researchers attribute the benefits to the release of oxytocin into the bloodstream, which influences mood, behavior, and physiology, lowers blood pressure, reduces depression and anxiety, and increases pain tolerance.

I could say I always knew the benefits without knowing all the reasons. If you haven’t had a hug in a while, you should hug it out with a friend today. You’ll be in a better mood for it, and healthier as well.

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.

— Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Collage of Agave
Collage of Agave | Source


Let me know if you agree or disagree with any of these points. I'd love to hear if you have any further suggestions for positive attitudes.


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