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The advances in technology in a lot of ways have made our lives more convenient. We have access to information at our finger tips. We can communicate with almost anyone at any given time. We can share our lives with the world through various social media apps. However, the same advances have also complicated our lives by placing more demands on our time. People have access to us 24 hours a day. We have emails that come in non stop. People are constantly checking social media to see what's going in in their world. The stress of these demands can lead to negative thinking.

One final step to creating a positive mental attitude is to simplify your life. The busier and more complicated life is, the more difficult it becomes to remain positive. When you have too many demands on your time and too many obligations, you have little time for fun, spending time with people who can lift you up, or just having down time to reflect or be at peace.

Take an inventory of how you're spending your time and see where you can drop things from your to-do list or other "stuff" you can get rid of. Reducing the demands on your time and in your life will lighten your load and allow you to feel more positive. You'll find you have more time for family and friends, fun, or just time to relax and rejuvenate.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Oct 28, 2018 at 5:56 PM
  
Over the last two years I have read a book entitled The Positive Dog with students I mentor. It's a book that emphasizes which dog are you feeding, the positive dog or the negative one. One of the strategies recommended in the book was to take a daily gratitude walk and reflect on what you are grateful for in life. Starting each day in this manner fills your mind and soul with positive thoughts.

One of the next steps to creating a positive mental attitude to practice daily gratitude. You can take a gratitude walk or keep a gratitude journal to reinforce your thinking. For this to be effective, it must be intentional and become part of our daily routine. We are creatures of habit and creating a habit of positive thinking can have a tremendous positive effect over time.

Another step is to stop reacting. Small negative events may occur during your day and can cause feelings of frustration or anger.Someone may something rude to you or cut you off in traffic. Don't let that ruin your day. You still own your actions to the thoughts you have. Teach yourself how to control your reactions and find other ways to respond to minimize the negativity. One strategy is to find humor in those situations and chalk it up to experience.

Another strategy is to associate with positive people. We tend to take in and reflect on the emotions and attitudes of those we spend the most time with. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, who are confident, who find the silver lining. and who support you.

Next week's post will complete this series on creating a positive mental attitude.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Oct 21, 2018 at 9:00 PM
  
Dawn Staley, the current women's basketball coach at South Carolina, played her college ball at the University of Virginia. During her time there she wore a rubber band on her wrist. Anytime she made a negative play, she would snap the band on her wrist as a reminder that it was a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and play on. That simple action allowed her to control her thoughts.

We have the same power. Negative thoughts come into our minds and are usually tied to something in the past or something in the future. It could be a mistake you made or thoughts about a future event you're not looking forward to. Either way you no longer have control over what happened or what the outcome may be of a future event. You can only control your thoughts and actions in the moment.

The first three steps to creating a positive mental attitude are awareness, breaking the negative thought, then replacing it. Find your own "rubber band" by recognizing the negative thoughts, "snapping" out of it, and then re-framing the thoughts with more positive words of action. In other words, identify the source of the thoughts, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move forward. 

The next series of blog posts will focus on other steps to creating a Positive Mental Attitude.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Oct 14, 2018 at 6:37 PM
  
There is really nothing like experience.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Michael Jordan.
"I have failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."

He learned to fail forward. The mistakes he made as a basketball player or in business taught him valuable lessons. He chose to turn those lessons into new learning. He took time to reflect on his experiences and how he could improve himself toward greater success.

Often times young people who fail at something tend to develop a fear of failing especially if it's a similar task or situation they have failed at before. When there is a fear of failure, the tendency is to either not try again at all or give a half-hearted effort so the excuse becomes "I really didn't try." It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When your mindset shifts to failing forward, you develop the courage to move past the failure by focusing on what you learned from the experience. Your reflection on your past mistakes or failures is key to establishing your next steps and overcoming your fear.
Posted by cestevens@hcps.us  On Oct 07, 2018 at 2:19 PM
  
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