A bad attitude isn’t all in your head. Sometimes it’s very much in your body as well.
A bad attitude certainly spills over into your spirit. And it certainly affects the people around you also.
Choosing your attitude may seem impossible at first, but it’s a skill you can develop. A good attitude doesn’t mean denying the negative things in your life, family, or world. But it means you actively choose how you will think and act in relation to them.
One of the most powerful positive attitudes is hope. The Bible says we are saved by hope! (Romans 8:24) Science has been able to demonstrate the powerful positive effects of hope. Believing and expecting that something good can happen can block physical pain. Even a little hope causes the brain to release endorphins and enkephalins that can eliminate pain and provide a sense of well-being.[i] Hope can change the function of portions of the brain and nervous system, vascular system, gastrointestinal system, and your response to stress.
Hope, specifically, does not mean ignoring reality. Hope means looking clearly at the challenges you face, moving beyond the fear, and focusing on what you CAN change.
For example, in the face of cancer hope does not mean denying the diagnosis. It does mean understanding all you can about your illness, and grabbing hold of every available treatment (medical help, nutrition, prayer, etc). And hope may not always mean a cure; it may mean getting the most out of every day you have left on this earth.
When challenges come some people naturally feel more hopeful than others. Emotions can change slowly. But you can choose to focus on things you do have control over, on whatever is positive around you, and on the differences you can make in your world. Those things may seem small, but choosing to focus on them will have a positive impact on your physical and your mental health. You’ll feel better, and so will those around you!
So what does a biblical, godly attitude look like? Check these points:
|What it is NOT:||What it IS:|
Paul said it this way: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4,5) We CAN be in charge of our thoughts.
Positive thoughts do not always and automatically cause good things to happen. But you do have much more control over your thoughts and attitudes than you realize. God gave you the ability to choose what you think about. Here’s a list of some good things to think about.
One of the best sources of good things to think about is God’s word, and what He has done for you.
Here’s a tip for today: Keep a record of good things – good things God has done for you, other people who have been kind or helpful, or other positive happenings. Use a journal, note cards, a Note on your smart phone, or anything that will help you remember.
Your Turn: What thought do you find it hardest to conquer? Can you find a positive thought to replace it? Leave a comment below.
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[i] Jerome Groopman, The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness (New York: Random House, 2004), 170.