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Developing a positive mental attitude

Have you ever wondered how a positive mental attitude affects your wellbeing?

Try putting yourself in each of these scenarios and notice how you feel, react, and what thoughts come up for you:

1) Imagine that you have just lost everything you have in your life; your money, job, business, home, car, friends, family, loved ones, country of origin, everything. In one moment, everything you call dear, have built, take for granted has crumbled away to nothing.

2) Imagine now that your doctor has just told you that you have a terminal illness and you would have to live a restricted life for the rest of your life.

3) Now look at yourself in another scenario. You just got a text from someone you love, perhaps a life partner of many years, that goes somewhat like this: "it is over between us, never call or try to reach me again". No reasonable explanation for why they're leaving you, and they won’t respond to your calls or messages. It is truly over, and you may never know why.

Now take a couple of deep breaths and let out a sigh to release some of the tension you may be holding. Perhaps stand up and move your body a little. Notice where you are right now. Notice what you can see hear and feel around you.

The three examples above are extreme, but they could happen, and they do happen to people around the world often enough. So why did I ask you to consider these painful scenarios, since most people never bargain for such unpleasant situations or outcomes?

The answer is simple – the way our mind reacts to the situations we find ourselves in has a massive impact on how we feel and how we survive and move forward. In other words, in difficult situations our wellbeing is greatly affected by our mind.

However, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore reality and try to pretend that life is somehow different to how it is. Sticking our head in the sand or in the clouds is not the same as reacting with a positive attitude. We can, even in the midst of such things, chart a new course for our lives. We can live our best days, unleashing our full potential and surpass our past outcomes and become a great support to ourselves and to the people around us.


What is a ‘positive mental attitude’?

Positive mental attitude is a psychology concept that can easily be traced back to Aristotle (385-323 BC) and more recently to one of the original modern self-help authors, Napoleon Hill 1883 – 1970). A ‘positive mental attitude’ can be described as ‘how we see ourselves generally in life as well as our good disposition towards it when things don't go our way’. Viktor Frankl (1905 1997) is notable for showing how the way we think and react changes our world, for better or worse. His 1946 book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, written about his experiences in World War II concentration camps, explored how to bring the best of humanity in the worst of situations.

Positive mental attitude recognizes the fact that things have gone awry, while also acknowledging the reality of: the broader scope of our life outsi