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Four effective ways of developing positive attitude

Updated on November 16, 2015

All of us know some people amongst our family members, friends and acquaintances, who mostly maintain a relatively positive attitude regardless of what goes on around them. They rarely lose their cool. That is why such people enjoy appreciation of others since they are able to focus on the positive in a pretty negative event. They see an opportunity even in the face of a challenging situation. This is possible because such people have positive attitude towards life. And, as a result, they are happier and have practically no stress. Many of such people have inherently built high threshold for stress, due to which they are not easily affected by stress related to their routine activities. In spite of our specific temperamental tendencies, a positive attitude can be developed with some practice. It will not be wrong to call brain a muscle since like any muscle it can also be developed by anyone with special training. One can develop one’s mind in terms of positive attitude, and thereby enjoy its benefits.

A pertinent question often arises why people develop negativity most of the time in difficult as well as normal situations.

One of the significant reasons for negativity is that we mostly compare ourselves with others and thus, inappropriately, we see what others have that we don’t have. But we fail to see what we have that others don’t have. Such unbalanced comparison with others gives rise to the feeling of negativity in us. We shouldn’t forget that no two persons are born equal or will be equal even in the same family. As a matter of fact, disparity and dissimilarity underlie the basic nature of things and, therefore, any comparison is likely to cause dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

Another significant reason for the negativity in us is that we don’t have faith in ourselves. Lack of faith in our abilities gives rise to inferiority and inadequacy that interfere with the attainment of our hopes. It saps us of our self-confidence, thereby interfering with self-realization in life.

Worry and anxiety also lead to negativity in us. Peaceful mind generates energy whereas worry and anxiety drain us off energy.

The following are four powerful ways of developing positive attitude by getting rid of negativity:

Gratitude – It is customary that we mostly use the yardsticks of others to measure our worth. And, as a result, we find ourselves lacking that fills us with negativity. The practice of gratitude is an effective weapon to fight negativity. We should always be grateful for what we have instead of being ungrateful for what we don’t have.

A common parable goes like this: There was a poor homeless vagabond sitting by the side of a road wearing tattered clothes. He was also not having shoes. He was very worried about his pitiable condition. As gloomily he was pondering over his despicable condition, he suddenly saw a man with both feet amputated also wearing tattered clothes trudging along with the help of clutches with a smile on his face. All of a sudden, his gloominess disappeared as he thought if the person without both feet is smilingly trudging along, why I am worried about my condition though I have both my feet.

The parable teaches us that we should be grateful for what we have and make the best out of it instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

Association of positive people – It has been found that the energy of positivity travels quite fast in the forms of waves. And that is why it spreads around quite fast and never fails to touch everyone in its vicinity. Even the gloomiest of people cannot remain unaffected by the energy of positive people around them. So, it is prudent for us, especially those having a proclivity to negativity, to seek the company of positive people. Their company will be a source of happiness for such people.

The Buddha tells us – Not to associate with foolish ones, to live in the company of wise, honoring those who are worth honoring. This is the greatest happiness.

It has been observed that when many positive people associate with each other, the collective energy of positivity increases many fold and greatly enhances happiness of the people, who associate together. This collective force of energy influences the psyche of such people, who experience some real transformation in them. The frequent exposure to such high collective energy gradually impacts the sub-conscious mind of such people and eventually it becomes their second nature to remain positive in all circumstances. Hence, they develop positive attitude in life by overcoming negativity by associating with positive people.

Nurturing the positive – We all have seeds of both positive and negative traits in us. It entirely depends upon us what we choose to do with them. Whatever we choose to do with them, that is seriously going to impact our life in many ways. If we water the seeds of negativity, the negative traits will grow to influence our personality. On the contrary, if we water the seeds of positive traits, we will influence our personality positively. Nurturing positive seeds is a continuous process since, like garden, weeds of negativity will grow all the time, which we have consciously to pull them out and throw in order to give space and nourishment that the weeds use prolifically.

Some of the effective ways of weeding out the negativity are reading and listening to positive articles, books, religious scriptures etc., and doing affirmations about positivity besides associating with positive people.

Accept the gift of the present – Human mind has a very strong tendency to slip back into the past and begin ruminating about its unpleasant events. We tend to relive our unhappy past automatically any moment, causing more unhappiness in the present though we are well aware of the fact that past is passed that cannot be changed. It is like chewing again the unhappy past that has already been chewed and swallowed. Chewing the unhappy cud of the past causes us more unhappiness.

Similarly, human mind also flits so often into the future, weaving many small and big plans. And when we fail to realize those plans as we desired, we cause ourselves unhappiness. So, worrying about what happed in the past and having high expectations from the future are sources of much negativity. By staying consciously in the present, we can harness our monkey mind and stay in peace. It is an irony that we don’t accept the gift that the present gives us.

Once we understand the power the present moment of Now has in developing positivity, we will make every effort to consciously stay in the present moment of Now.

The bottom line –

Once we understand the role of positive attitude in banishing the negativity, we will do our utmost to develop it. A positive attitude can help us to find more fulfillment and enjoyment in life. Time and again, it has been proven that negativity damages our physical, mental and emotional health. Positivity definitely slows or negates the damages caused by negativity.

People with a strong positive attitude recover from negative life events more quickly and bounce back to normalcy. In other words, positive attitude gives emotional resilience to the people, who possess it.

People with positive attitude have positive emotions more often than not. The benefits we receive from the positive emotions are durable and long lasting. The most significant benefit of positive emotions is happiness. So, the people with positive attitude have a “happiness reserve”, which they can draw on in negative emotional states and thus stay positive.


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    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Martha for your nice comments and liking my hub.

      Thanks Dana for your comments. Yes, remaining positive is very hard for some. It depends on basic temperamental make-up of a person.

      Thanks Carolyn for your nice comments.

      Thanks Denise for your nice comments. True that it is easier to chew on the cud of the past than to resist it.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I love that analogy, that "chewing on the cud" of the past puts us into a negative mindset. I often do this, especially when things have happened recently that set me on a negatives downward spiral. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      3 years ago from South Dakota, USA

      I believe that gratitude is key. Good hub!

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Remaining positive is very hard but being negative is very stressful. Great suggestions you have presented here.

    • HealthbyMartha profile image

      Martha Montour 

      3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Another wonderful hub by you Dr. Rangan! I agree absolutely with your thoughts and suggestions for cultivating and maintaining a positive attitude! I've made these changes in my own life and it is a wonderful shift and makes for greater happiness. Thank you for sharing.


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