Having a positive attitude, which is choosing to approach difficult circumstances with a productive mindset, can benefit you on several levels. The Mayo Clinic states that a positive attitude can lower your stress level, which is good for your health. A positive attitude can also improve your relationships and change how your boss perceives both you and your work. An article published in the January 2007 Gallup Management Journal notes that the components of a positive attitude, collectively called positive psychological capital, can be learned.
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The Gallup Management Journal defines hope as the ability to stay focused on your goals and change paths when needed to succeed. Hope is perseverance. People with a positive attitude are able to look through the difficulties they face today and believe they can find a way through or around those difficulties. To learn hope, focus on goals that are challenging, yet attainable and brainstorm multiple ways to achieve those goals. Recognize that you can influence your forward movement and sustain your activities until you reach your goals.
People with a positive attitude exhibit optimism, the belief in the best possible outcome of a decision or action and that negative circumstances are temporary. Optimism must be grounded in reality; for example, a person cannot jump from a tree and optimistically expect to overcome the laws of gravity. Optimism can be taught, according to the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center. Teach yourself to challenge failures, analyzing the components that led to the failure. Take ownership for the components that you control and recognize and release the components that you could not have controlled.
Positive people exhibit resiliency, the ability to “bounce back” from difficult circumstances. The American Psychological Association found that resiliency, or hardiness, has three attitudinal components: commitment, control and challenge. Commitment is the willingness to stay engaged rather than become isolated during hard times, choosing to be involved in life’s next step. Control is the willingness to try and influence the outcome of challenging circumstances, such as talking to your boss about the many different roles you can fill when the possibility of lay-offs occur. Challenge is the ability to view each situation as an opportunity to learn.
Confidence, or self-efficacy, is the belief that you can influence the outcome of a particular situation, according to Carleton College. People with a positive attitude are confident that they can face challenges and believe that overcoming them is within their control. To increase your confidence, put yourself in situations that you can master, break difficult tasks down into manageable pieces, and mimic behaviors of people who have achieved success.
- Mayo Clinic: Positive Thinking–Reduce Stress, Enjoy Life More
- Gallup Management Journal: Hope, Optimism and Other Business Assets
- University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center: Teaching Optimism
- American Psychological Association: Hardiness Helps Turn Stressful Circumstances into Opportunities
- Carleton College: Self-Efficacy–Helping Students Believe in Themselves