Is the glass half empty or half full? We’ve all heard it a million times. And we all know that attitude is everything and how you see things determines how you deal with them. But is having a positive attitude really better? Or should we all strive to simply be realists—to see things as they really are and deal with them accordingly.
One good reason to cultivate a positive attitude has come to light. According to Newsweek, “Researchers at Yale University found that people with an optimistic outlook lived 7.5 years longer than those with a gloomy view of what lies ahead. In their study, a positive attitude was more important than lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”*
But is attitude predetermined, like the color of our eyes, or is it something we can moderate? To find out, we talked to Charles Kovess, author, lecturer and expert in motivational behavior (kovess.com). Charles has dedicated his life to helping people find the passion and positive energy within them. According to Charles, “Our actions are driven by our beliefs. So how we see things drives our behavior. If we have negative feelings, we will have negative behaviors.”
A positive attitude is better, says Charles, “because it gives us greater energy.” While negativity is draining and paralyzing, a positive attitude gives us the will to work around obstacles and ultimately succeed.
And the road to attaining a positive inner attitude? According to Charles, it’s a challenging process. “It’s like training to run a 26-mile marathon. It requires similar amounts of dedicated work and repetition. The key is to understand balance in life. There cannot be positive without negative. There cannot be up without down.”
Charles offers tips for cultivating and maintaining a positive attitude:
1. Become aware of your feelings and choose positive, not negative. Initially you might feel like you’re faking, but eventually it will be real.
2. Remind yourself that there is always balance. You are bound to meet negative people. Don’t let them throw you.
3. Be grateful for all experiences, because we grow through the negative more than the positive.
4. Get some exercise. Go take a walk! The fitter you become, the less negative elements impact you. And fitness increases our energy so we have more energy to handle whatever the universe cares to throw at us.
The bottom line is, you can choose to have a positive attitude. And when you do, chances are you'll have a longer, healthier and more successful life.
Charles Kovess is a well-known motivational speaker and author of Passionate People Produce (Hay House). To learn more you can visit his website at www.kovess.com.
*Newsweek, Health, Web Exclusive, January 9, 2005