Young woman doing yoga in morning park near lake
[Photography Provided]

One Key to Mental Health: Your Attitude

How are you doing on those goals for 2024? One goal people frequently think about but don’t often include on their list is improving their mental health. Even if we don’t face serious challenges, most of us wish we better understood why we react the way we do to certain situations, and how we can respond in healthier, more constructive ways.

Psychiatrist counseling his patient hands during therapy

Doctors and scientists are learning more about what drives our mental health, and have identified a long list of factors, from diet and exercise to tough experiences from our childhood, to traumatic events in our lives we haven’t completely processed. Those and many other factors affect how we feel and react, even though we may not have much control over them.

But there’s one major factor they’ve identified that’s largely up to us: our attitudes. How we react and respond to what life offers can transform obstacles into opportunities and foster much-needed resilience when we face tough times. Our attitudes create the lens through which we view the world, shaping how we see reality and influencing how we interpret events, challenges and interactions. They affect our lives in so many ways, including:

  • Stress management. You can’t escape stress, but developing a positive attitude helps us manage it by encouraging better coping strategies. Negative reactions to stress only deepen anxiety and tension.
  • Self-talk. The conversations we have with ourselves can boost self-esteem, enhance confidence and strengthen our emotional well-being – or they can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.
  • Resiliency. We may not be able to eliminate setbacks, but how we respond makes all the difference. A positive attitude helps us build resilience, so we get even better at responding to future setbacks.
  • Relationships. Our attitude significantly influences how we engage with others in our lives. Healthy connections with friends, family, and the community provide emotional nourishment during challenging times.
  • Self-care. People with a positive mindset are more likely to make self-care a priority, which improves both physical and mental health and helps to make more healthy choices. When illness strikes, a good attitude can lead to a faster recovery.
  • Pain management. Individuals with a positive attitude may experience lower levels of pain and become better able at tolerating the pain they experience.
  • Staying healthy. There’s a clear connection between what we think and how we feel, and people with positive attitudes typically have a stronger immune system.

How do you move yourself toward a more positive attitude? It begins with mindfulness and self-awareness. By becoming more conscious of your thoughts and challenging negative patterns, you can develop a more positive mindset. Instead of viewing challenges as roadblocks or deliberate attempts to hurt you, look at them opportunities for learning and growth.

You’ll develop resilience that gives you the power to transform setbacks into stepping stones toward personal development. Finally, regularly expressing gratitude for small moments of joy and acknowledging positive aspects throughout your day can remind you of the many good things in your life.

We can’t command many of the factors that make us who we are, so we need to focus on taking control of what we can. If taking charge of your attitude seems like a dream that’s out of reach, a professional counselor can share proven strategies that will help you gradually learn how to manage your attitude, and develop a positive and resilient mindset.

We invite you to reach out to the Care to Change team at 317-790-9396 so we can help you move forward.

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