Create Your Own Positive Attitude for Life

During the cold winter months, sometimes we feel unhappy and unmotivated. Many people sink into sadness or even depression because of the long days of cold and darkness. It may help to remind ourselves that we do have control over our attitude. We can choose to be happy and content. Here are eight tips to help you make that choice:

1. Remember that you are more than a label. Sometimes we have no idea how we are supposed to be feeling. We feel bad as a default for being confused. We play roles and cover up our true selves by identifying with “things” that end up defining who we think we are. I’m a doctor, a salesperson, a secretary, a lawyer; I’m sad, happy, lonely or miserable. I’m angry, jealous, afraid, and I can’t help it — it’s who I am. We are far more important than any labels.

2. Choose to embrace life. Let go and embrace the moment. Stop fussing over trivial matters and start focusing on what’s really important to you. Focus on the present rather than dwelling on what happened in the past or what may happen in the future. Learn to enjoy each and every moment as it happens.

Don’t go through life expecting things to change. Life becomes hard and unfair when we decide to complain about things rather than trying to change them ourselves. Wake up to the truth that life is not a practice-run.

3. Realize that you get to control your reactions. We create our outside reality by the thoughts and beliefs we maintain about life in general. What we believe in our inner thoughts, we project on our outer world. We all have problems, and we’re often tested by circumstances outside of our control. Even though you may not be in control of what’s going on outside of you, you most definitely can control your reaction to those situations. You have more control than you think.

4. Know that no one is better qualified. We place far too much emphasis on other people’s opinions about us, often to the exclusion of our own. This takes away from our own personal power. No matter what anybody says about you, it doesn’t hold any significance to who you truly are unless you agree with them.

Stop identifying with other people’s opinions and become aware of how you see yourself. Nobody knows you better than you do. Never accept another person’s reality as your own. Always believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. And, most importantly, never let another person’s opinion of you affect what you believe about yourself.

5. Believe that you are more than enough. Take a moment to think about just how abundant your life truly is. It’s just a matter of perspective.

You may find that you are not entirely grateful for what you possess. You may believe that you need more than you have right now to be happy. If this is the case, then you are absolutely right — you will need more, and you will continue to need more.

This cycle will perpetuate as long as your mind believes it to be true. If you focus on what you have, and not on what you lack, you will always have enough, because you will always be enough.

6. Love yourself. You have arrived. Everything you need is right here. Cut out the distractions, open your eyes, and see that you already have everything in your possession to be happy, loved, and fulfilled. It’s not out there. It never was out there. It’s in the same place it was since the day you were born. It’s just been covered up by all the external things you have identified with over the years.

Be yourself. Love yourself completely and accept everything that you are. You are beautiful. Believe it, and most importantly, remind yourself often.

7. Stay cool. If someone cuts us off in traffic or jumps in line at the grocery store, we may feel our blood pressure rise and feel the need to react in a negative manner. We get uptight with other people’s actions, and in the end we punish ourselves for their bad behavior.

We end up losing control over our own actions because of the way other people act. But we are responsible for our own reaction, regardless of how rude other people may act. If it’s hard to stay cool, remember: You are the one who loses in the end, if you allow others to control your emotions.

8. Journey well. We know life is about the journey and not the arrival. We don’t need to arrive if we accept that we are already here.

Be content with where you are today and don’t make the mistake of putting off being happy because you are waiting for the right moment to shine. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to enjoy the journey. Life has no guarantees. Every minute you are living is a blessing that has to be experienced in the moment. It’s not always easy, but it’s always an option you get to choose.

Carrie White spent over 25 years in the fitness industry as a consultant, club owner, fitness trainer and attorney. She is now a professor, yoga instructor and the director of the LaunchLab at West Virginia University.