I really admire your commitment to a positive attitude that I see comes through in your blog. Cultivating a positive attitude is something I’m currently working on, as I’ve recently seen how destructive my negative thoughts and attitudes have been in my goal-setting attempts in the past. I’ve also become aware of how clearly a negative attitude does not line up with my Christian faith.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how to develop a positive attitude, especially for someone who is working to transform poor habits that perpetuate a negative attitude. Thanks for all you do and the inspiration you provide! -Anna
First off, I need to set the record straight. I don’t always have a positive attitude. In fact, there are definitely some days “positive” would probably be the last thing my husband would describe me as. 🙂
However, I do try to focus on the positive and keep an upbeat attitude about life. Because truly, life is so much more enjoyable when you look at the bright side, anyway!
1) Abide in Christ
As a Christian, I have a deep contentment that comes from my relationship with Christ. He gives me strength and joy in the midst of whatever circumstances I’m facing.
Beginning my day reading Scripture and meditating on God’s goodness really helps me to have Him as my focal point. I also am constantly praying throughout the day as I need wisdom, direction, guidance, and peace.
2) Bloom Where You Are Planted
We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can always change our attitude. Choose to make the most of wherever you find yourself. Embrace the moments. Live with zest. Find joy in the little things.
For more ideas, read my article on 16 Ways to Become More Content.
3) Surround Yourself With Positive People
Joy is infectious and contagious. Find some upbeat friends and people to spend time with on a regular basis and I can almost guarantee that their attitude will rub off on you.
4) Choose Gratitude
There is always, always, always something to be grateful for. Challenge yourself to find three things to be thankful for
Last week, when I was on day four of being in bed with the flu, I was really starting to feel discouraged. It’s hard for me to be sick, especially since I love to be busy doing… and I also knew I had a trip coming up at the end of the week that I needed to be well for.
As I was lying there in bed feeling really tempted to feel sorry for myself, I decided to choose gratitude instead. I made myself start listing off everything I could think of to be grateful for.
You know what? Within minutes — literally! — I had a whole change of perspective. Yes, maybe I still felt feverish and achy, but I realized that I had so much to be thankful for — a warm house, a comfortable bed, food to eat, pain relievers I could take, friends and family who care so much about me… and on and on the list went.
5) Laugh Often
Almost all of us need to lighten up more about life. Find the funny and silly and goofy and comical in the everyday and laugh about it. Call your husband at work to tell him that hilarious thing your child did or said. Share a funny photo you find with a friend. Or gather around the laptop and watch funny movies on YouTube before you head to bed at night.
Laughter is good for the soul.
6) Live a Life With Outstretched Arms
You know one quick way to help change your attitude, especially if you’re feeling down? Do something for someone else.
When you take the focus off of yourself and start reaching out to other people, all of a sudden you’ll forget about your problems and worries. And you’ll probably find you have a lot more joy and fulfillment, too!
What about the rest of you? What helps you to have a more positive attitude and outlook on life?
Choosing graditude definitely gives such a great perspective on anything! I’ve discovered how I don’t recover so quickly as I did in my 20s from all the little bugs I catch. As I went to bed last night, I gave thanks for this illness that our family has had the last week. Times of illness teaches us not to take our health for granted and to give thanks for it daily.
Crystal, I love this! My 3 year old son and I have been sick all week with the flu too….and I was feeling so down in the dumps and depressed….but, we have so much to be thankful for. His fever broke last night…we are home safe and warm and I have a wonderful friend and neighbor next door who has gotten my 7 year old off the bus each afternoon and brought her home to me so we didn’t have to venture out in the cold. Thank you for this list…I printed it out and will refer to it when I am having one of ‘those’ moments.
Brandi @ Savvy Student Shopper says
Honestly, my pets help me be more positive every day! They are never negative like some people, always there for you, so silly, comforting and I am so thankful for them <3
I agree, Brandi.
When I get home after a difficult day, my little dog is so happy to see me that it really makes me feel better. Playing with her and watching her super cute facial expressions is relaxing. Pets are truly a blessing. They don’t judge and only want to give us love. I am single with no kids, so my dog is my kid.
I love, love, love this post especially point #1 as I often think about what it means to really abide in the vine. I love having it spelled out for me.
It’s so important to me to stay positive. When I get discouraged, it helps me to find promises in God’s word that relate to my struggle. For example, when I was a dirt-poor single mom, I literally clipped scriptures promising God’s provision (and He never failed us) around my neck.
These inspirational posts are my favorite; thank you so much for sharing!!
Stephanie @ Mrs. Debtfighter says
Great list and I agree 100%! I try to follow all of these suggestions! 🙂
Lindsey Bell says
I resonate with the “choose gratitude” one so much. After my husband and I had our fourth miscarriage in a row, that was the only thing that got me through-being thankful for the one biological child I did have.
Katie L says
I love these. I would add #7: Get Some Perspective. I DON’T mean that because there may be someone worse off than you, you shouldn’t complain. I DO mean taking time to think: which will matter more a year from now (or tomorrow, or 20 years from now)? That I get to grumble about this issue or situation or that I’m able to enjoy relationships with my family members today? Am I modeling discontentment, anger, pride, and shame to my children, or am I modeling contentment, joy, forgiveness and forgiven-ness?
Frieda's Farmhouse says
Encouraging post Crystal! I agree with what you said & here are some other suggestions:
* Be Content ( Don’t focus on what you don’t have, be thankful for all you do have)
* Consider your Life ( Your breathing right now reading this, that is a Blessing)
* Love More ( Even when you don’t always get it back, Love truly heals)
* Smile ( It will make you feel & look better, never underestimate the power of a smile)
Hope these help. Hope everyone has a wonderful week! You all are special & loved~
Thanks so much for continuing positive reminders about gratitude. I am dealing with hypothyroidism and have not felt well. I try to be grateful each day about what I have. I start my day with healing scriptures and pray my gratitude about the day when I go to sleep.
Your blog always puts a smile on my face. I find joy in your words.
A #7 that I would add — start every day fresh. Give yourself the gift of a fresh start. No matter what despair you may be facing at end of a day, things will always look more hopeful in the morning, in the light of day. With this comes forgiving yourself for anything you’ve done that your regret.
This thought came from an inspirational book I read a long time ago, and it has stuck with me for many years. If I could remember the title or author I’d share that, but all I recall is that it was a Guideposts book. It has helped me through day-to-day stresses from the demands of juggling single parenthood, running a home, and a full-time demanding career, and also life-altering stresses including illness and death of a dear loved one.
Crystal encourages starting days in prayer. For me, it really helps my attitude to end days in prayer knowing that the morning will be better and tomorrow will bring the opportunity for a fresh start.
Great advice! Thank you for sharing, Susan!
I have also had struggles with staying positive and found the single biggest help for me was to deliberately fill my mind with positive messages. During times when my mind can “wander” (folding laundry, driving in my car, etc) I always have a teaching tape or inspirational music playing. I also have The Message and The Bible Experience to listen to. It’s the garbage-in, garbage-out idea, only opposite…good-in, good-out! I found that my negative mindset began in my thought life so that’s where I started cleaning house and it really helps a lot 🙂
Crystal, well said and thank you for words of such great encouragement. You enlighten me on a daily basis. I have had some health problems that have escalated over the years and they kind of gobbled me up the first few years. The way I stay positive now is to have a private reflection with God every night before bedtime. I always start my prayer by thanking Him..always. It can be difficult sometimes when the day has been extra difficult. Then, I thank him for bringing the difficulties to me since I know it is in his plan for me. I know that somehow it is making me stronger and more able to handle something bigger that will come my way in the future. It really brings me peace to know have someone in my corner and this in turn helps me to teach my son to appreciate every day and reflect on our blessings every night. Love this post.
I love this! Thanks so much for sharing!
Jamie Rohrbaugh says
Totally awesome post! I heard recently that John Wesley said, “I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” That makes me smile. I don’t always have “several hours” to spend, but I also find that spending time with God the very first thing in the morning really sets the tone for my entire day. It gives me a new, fresh start and a revitalized outlook on everything. Really couldn’t live without it! 🙂
And, you are completely right-on about being thankful. I’ve been trying to be extra-thankful this year, and I’m finding that the more things I thank God for, the more I experience those things. 🙂 Yay! Definitely helps increase the happy factor. 🙂
Thanks for the post!
What an insightful quote from John Wesley. Thanks for sharing and commenting here!
It may sound corny, but THIS BLOG helps me to have a more positive outlook!! 🙂 Anna was so right – your positive attitude really comes thru in your posts, and it’s one of the things that has kept me coming back almost daily! A deal is a deal is a deal, and those blogs are everywhere, but yours just has so much more.
Oh, you are so sweet! I am SO thankful that this blog has helped you to have more joy in your life.
That just puts a smile on my face this morning! Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Chimezirim Odimba says
One thing that I know will help everyone have a more positive attitude is living one day at a time and living it to the fullest. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “Sufficient unto the day is the evil therefore”. You can’t carry on tomorrow’s weights today and have enough energy to stay positive.
Leave tomorrow. Its time will come. Focus on today and give it your very best.
I have an app in my phone called Color Note. I keep shopping lists and prayer lists and other various notes in there. The list that has helped me the most is titled “Daily Thanks” In it I write something I am thankful for that day and put the date next to it. I do this every night before I go to bed. I can see all the previous entries and it has kept me in gratitude and thanksgiving. It keeps my focus on His goodness toward me, instead of on what I think I lack.
I have an app in my phone called Color Note. I keep shopping lists and prayer lists and other various notes in there. The list that has helped me the most is titled “Daily Thanks” In it I write something I am thankful for that day and put the date next to it. I do this every night before I go to bed. I can see all the previous entries and it has kept me in gratitude and thanksgiving. My attitude has changed so much because of it. Often I would find myself concentrating on the things I wanted or needed that were written in my prayer lists but making a list of things I am thankful for has shifted my focus. Now I see His goodness toward me in the midst of every circumstance, instead of just seeing what I lack.
That’s beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!
Jeanette C. says
Thank you for this comment–I tend to write my to-do list and focus so much on that it leaves little time to remember to stop and give thanks for the things in life that I should.
What a lovely post! Beautifully written. Portraying all that is truly meaningful and exemplifying a simple life.
Sara@Save Money, Live Joyfully says
Over the last year, we have been been faced with some overwhelming and nearly unbearable struggles and pain. In the midst of it all, I wrote a post entitled “Can You Still Be Joyful When Everything is Going Wrong,” (http://www.savemoneylivejoyfully.com/2012/09/can-you-still-be-joyful-when-everything.html)
While some days over the last year have been full of such anguish that just getting out of bed was an accomplishment, God taught me, and is teaching me so much more than I could have ever imagined. I learned that I have a choice in every situation…I can learn through it, and allow it to make me a better person, or I can be angry and full of self-pity and become a bitter person.
I’ve learned that God is the only one who can bring true joy, everything else is circumstance driven, and He never changes.
I remind myself daily that though my life has taken some twists and turns I would never have chosen for myself, if I hadn’t been down this road, I would never have gained the perspective and hope that I have. I am grateful for what I have, and I look less to what I don’t have. If God withholds no good thing from us, then that something we don’t have obviously isn’t what’s best for us.
I am more joyful now, through going through pain, than I have ever been. I think it’s because now I have a teachable heart and the realization that I really don’t want to be in control…and luckily I know Who is and He can be trusted 🙂
This was a post I really needed to read. My husband says that most days I see the glass half empty instead of half full. I do need to refocus and start looking at things in a different light.
Thank you so much for sharing that post. It’s so true that hard times can either make us bitter or better. It sounds like you are choosing well!
Love your list and so heartily agree with it! Choosing gratitude, laughing more, and doing something for someone else really stand out for me. They are things I enjoy and want to embrace more fully in my own life. And of course, none of it works nearly as well without doing #1 on your list-Abiding with our Abba!
Thank you Crystal!
It is so true there is no safer or better place to be than in His will! He has our best interests in mind and we need to be content in our circumstances. Someone would be so happy to live your life so do not look to another but yourself and be happy in your current field.
Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. Always giving thanks to God the father for everything, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph 5:19-20
Thank you so much for encouraging women in their roles as wives, and mothers. I love your site, it is all about frugal fun and CONTENTMENT!
Things are just that, things and they do not bring true and everlasting joy.
Kristen | The Frugal Girl says
I so agree about choosing gratitude. When I’m tempted to fall into the depths of despair over things, meditating on my blessings really, truly does help.
The Prudent Homemaker says
Your words, “The depths of despair” reminded me of those same words that Anne Shirley used in Anne of Green Gables. She asks Marilla if she has ever been in the depths of despair.
Marilla says, “Of course not. To despair is to turn your back on God.”
A sobering thought. If you’re further away from God today than yesterday, who moved?
Jamie Rohrbaugh says
Brandy, I can’t hear those words without thinking about Anne of Green Gables. 🙂