Stress affects every part of our life, in both positive and negative ways. We can’t avoid it, so being able to cope in a healthy, productive way is essential for our wellbeing. Anyone can learn the skills it takes to cope with stress. This article’s focus is on just one skill used in coping with stress – attitude. Or more specifically a positive attitude.
When we develop and nourish an attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness, we open ourselves to finding the positive in even the most difficult of situations. Our family recently experienced a stressful situation. A 13 year old family member required an emergency appendectomy. After the event was over, we discussed what a great weekend we had. Yes, he did have a ruptured appendix. But his mother recognized this was more than a stomach ache. His doctor recognized he needed to go straight to the ER. He had an excellent doctor that knew to keep looking after the first test came back normal. He had an excellent surgeon, caring nurses and family and friends for support. This was not a “good or fun” event, but with the right attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness there was hope for a successful outcome. Hope can overcome negative stress.
In John C. Maxwell’s article, It Only Takes 6 Steps to Change Your Life, steps 3 and 4 relate to attitude. According to John C. Maxwell our expectations affect our attitude and if we can change our expectations, we can change our attitude. If we can change our attitude we can then change our behavior. The goal here is to change our behavior in how we react to stress.
How do you change your attitude? You can’t always control what happens around you or to you, but you can control how you respond to it. A positive attitude is not about being happy or having fun all of the time. Those are fleeting moments and feelings, but a positive attitude is not dependent on the circumstances happening around you. When things are going wrong you can choose to focus on everything that isn’t working the way you want. You can constantly dwell on all the negatives. Or you can choose to consciously seek to find the positives in every circumstance. When you choose to respond with thankfulness and gratefulness, you will find you can harness your stress into a more manageable part of your life. Managed stress will give you greater strength, energy, enthusiasm, confidence, success and joy.
If you would like help in managing your stress and to learn more about the steps to take to improve your coping skills, please call our office and schedule an appointment with one of our counselors.