Four Ways to Improve Your Attitude to Be Happier, Healthier, and More Productive

As the story goes, a couple is concerned about the huge gap in attitudes between their two sons.

happy-&-angry-boys

One lad is a confirmed pessimist, his sibling the decisive optimist. Wanting to advance the cynical child’s outlook and guard the other from disappointment by teaching him that things don’t always go as expected, the parents come up with a scheme.

On Christmas morning, each youngster awakens to find his own sizeable, wrapped present. The dour child opens his and discovers in it the ultimate building set. As if on que, his demeanor sours and he whines, “There are too many pieces, I’m know I’ll lose a whole bunch of them and then I’ll be sad. Why would you do that to me?”

The upbeat sibling, on the other hand, unwraps his only to find a dirty, rusty horseshoe atop wads of paper. Undeterred by what appears to be a mean, lousy gift, he eagerly starts digging through the papers excitedly proclaiming, “Wow! There’s got to a pony in here somewhere!”

Attitude, our outlook on the events that make up our lives, will either elevate or ruin us because it determines our actions and therefore the manner in which others react to us.

I normally don’t write “how-to” columns but a coaching client recently asked how she could become more upbeat, so I thought, “What the heck, might as well share it more widely.” Making our planet a bit more cheery, one reader at a time, here are four of the more common reasons one’s attitude can take a trip to the dumpster.

Reason #1: All-or-nothing thinking

[Read more…]

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Expect Success

What would it be like if you expected success?

Thousands and thousands of years ago, our ancestors entered a wooded valley with a river.

The optimists said, “This will be wonderful! We can build shelter by the river using the wood that surrounds us; surviving on the abundant fish living within our grasp. Life will be wonderful!”

On the other hand, the pessimists reply, “Are you crazy! If we live down here in the forest, animals might eat us or the river will could flood, or lighting could set fire to the trees and kill us all. We have to live at the top of the mountain where the animals won’t come, there’s no chance of a flood, and fires are less likely.”

Optimists: “You’re nuts! We have everything here at our fingertips. Why would be purposely make life more harsh?”

Pessimists: “A harsh life is better than no life.”

Finding no resolution, the tribe splits with pessimists moving to the mountain and optimists chillin’ by the river. Of course, what happens? [Read more…]

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Why are We in Such a Hurry to Lose Weight? (Part 2)

upset-woman-on-scaleLast week in this space, I posited the theory that, with almost seven out of ten people overweight (including over 30 percent obese), the reason most people don’t stick with their diets long enough to reach goal weight is because they give up when the pounds don’t drop “fast enough.” Logically, that makes no sense. After all, a slow weight loss is still preferable to no weight loss, which is the inevitable result when one throws in the towel altogether.

Of course, the motive for quitting isn’t rational; it’s one of two emotional reasons. The first reason we are so desperate to speed diet is that we fear motivation will vanish before we reach our goal, and we’ll end up spent, frustrated, and still fat. That is born of the false belief that motivation leads behaviors. Last week, I explained how motivation follows behavior and therefore we can motivate ourselves whenever we desire by engaging in behaviors. Due to limited space, I couldn’t address the second reason we quit, which I’ll do today.

That second reason we are in such a hurry to lose weight — as opposed to in a thought-out, healthy, and sustainable manner —

is complicated, but in part due to the fact that “fat shaming” is still accepted, even when so many other tactless slurs are now considered loutish and vulgar. The humiliation and guilt of being overweight casts its sufferers as lesser and out of control. The overweight are recipients of ignorant, countless wagging fingers — in person and throughout the media — proclaiming boorishly that if they possessed better willpower and a stronger moral character, they’d be thin. Condescending, hurtful, and hateful messages are hurled without end.

The unfairness of how society treats its citizens of size however is not the issue.

[Read more…]

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What You Say To Yourself Affects What You Do To Yourself

Habits Happen bumpersticker

In reality, habits do not just “happen.”

They are the end result of a chain consisting of thoughts which lead to feelings which lead to actions. If you wish to change the actions long-term, you must change your internal dialog first. [Read more…]

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