This is your glimpse into chapter 3 in Catherine’s book, “LIVE IT! Mastering Positive Attitude Habits, 15 Tips for Managing Your Mindset”.
This article corresponds to the 15 Day Attitude Challenge produced on Catherine’s podcast, The Relatable Leader. LISTEN here:
As a trainer I’ve read thousands of quotes and this one is in my top five favorites:
“It isn’t what you have or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
This message is essential to managing your mindset with the goal of establishing positive attitude habits!
- What are you thinking about?
- How do those thoughts make you feel?
- If your thoughts are making you feel good and empowering you, keep thinking those thoughts!
- If your thoughts are bringing you down and making you feel negative or powerless, or overly stressed, think about something else!
Seems easy, right?
Until you try it. And then you will probably experience how quickly we return to negative thoughts. Try again…and a few minutes later your thoughts may turn back to that negative topic.
LIVE IT! is a reality check: we aren’t always feeling what we are feeling because of what has happened around us, but rather, how we think about what has happened around us.
The solution, even if only short-term, is simple and somewhat scientific. You have the power to trick your body into chemical responses that will make you feel better – and, if you are an average person without medical issues, you don’t even need drugs or alcohol!
You need to think about something other than the stressful topic. The more SIMPLE the topic, the better!
Don’t go from thinking about a parent who is dying to thinking about how you, alone, can create world peace – that’s too complicated and will only frustrate you further!
Don’t go from thinking about your stressful teenager to thinking about how you, alone, can cure world hunger! That will only bring you down.
Choose three topics that are so simple and powerful, when you think about them a happy chemical response is triggered in you. For example, here are three simple topics that create a happy chemical response in me, even as I type this:
- My little half Dachshund, half Chihuahua, dogs when I get home from work: exciting! Wag, wag! So happy to see each other! Love! Love! Love!
- My nephew’s hands when he was little – I have a paint print of them, as well as photos I took. There was something especially sensitive and sweet about his little hands! (He’s in his twenties now and those same hands grip Harley Davidson handle bars and free weights).
- Being at the ocean: this is an especially powerful thought because it involves so many senses. The sounds, the smells, the misty breeze and sand under my feet all conspire to create a peaceful wave I let wash over me.
Other examples common in my client and student groups:
- The smell of grandmother’s house or the smell of specific foods she cooked
- Favorite hiking or fishing spots
- Kids – though this is also a topic they are sometimes trying to STOP thinking about
- The laugh of a loved one
- A special car: sometimes people talk about a car they are restoring or a car they especially love to drive and the way they feel when they are driving with their favorite music blasting.
- Many people mention shopping: this works as one of your simple and happy thoughts, and I caution people to have additional happy thoughts that don’t include spending money because that may eventually lead to more stress.
- Many people mention food and adult beverages of one type or another: this works as one of your simple and happy thoughts, and I caution people to have additional happy thoughts that don’t include eating or drinking because that may eventually lead to more stress.