An Attitude Adjustment — The Practical Side

Attitude affects everything. Really it does. It affects the way we think, the way we act and even our non-verbal behavior (think body language). A positive attitude or outlook fuels positive thought processes, encourages us to make beneficial life choices and positively influences those around us. A negative outlook does just the opposite. A pessimistic perspective increases the occurrence of negative thought patterns. It does little to encourage helpful life choices and negatively influences our loved ones, co-workers and peers.

A “bad attitude” (as my mother used to call it) can sadly do even more than just hurt us and those around us. A negative attitude holds the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have never heard the term self-fulfilling prophecy, here is an example that may help:

An NFL football coach loses his job and takes a job as a college football coach. He is upset about losing his job (insert negative outlook here) and also believes that younger players (those who are college age and particularly freshman) are unskilled and poor performers. As a result of this thinking, he rarely lets the freshman practice. When the freshmen are permitted to play, they ARE rusty because of their lack of practice. This just reinforces the coach’s belief that younger players are not as good as older ones. The cycle continues as he continues to not let the freshmen practice or play much.

I must pause here to say that there is a vast difference between a “negative outlook” and major depression. The coach in the vignette above IS NOT suffering with depression. He just has a poor outlook. However, if you are experiencing major depression including symptoms such as changes in your eating and sleeping patterns, feelings of hopelessness, trouble concentrating, fatigue and loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, you are dealing with more than a poor attitude. You are most likely suffering with depression and need professional help from a trained therapist to begin your path to healing. If you just find yourself dwelling more often on the negative than the positive or thinking bad thoughts more than you like, a skilled psychotherapist can help you too.

An Orlando licensed mental health counselor can help you identify your negative thought patterns, including their source, AND teach you how to change them. She can support you as you learn how to create the positive life you want—a life that will bring peace and joy not only to you, but those around you. Whether you are just feeling a little down lately or believe that you are severely depressed, an experienced mental health counselor can help you. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey