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#271: Can Positive Thinking Be Learned?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I was recently presented with interesting and intriguing questions:

"...is positive attitude something that some people get more of at birth and others don't? Is it something we learn from our surroundings as we grow up; something our parents convey to us? Is it something that we can feed off of our environment as 'grown-ups'? Or is it all of the above?"

For me, I can see how my positive mental attitude (PMA) has grown over the years. I believe this is because more and more I seek the good in all circumstances and situations rather than wallow in self-defeating despair. But it wasn't always like this.

As with any habit, my PMA has grown and strengthened as it it has been nourished and reinforced with use. But I believe that environment does play a great role in our way of thinking. Someone raised in an atmosphere of positive thinking and positive reinforcement will then become a positive person.

Consequently, a person who constantly receives negative reinforcement will grow up with an impaired self-image and will repeatedly expect bad things to happen. When they do, as they will as part of life, these people will not have the coping skills a positive thinker will have.

The comment continued:

"No matter though, what our "positive-attitude-level" is today, I'm sure that it is something we can influence TODAY and going forward if we put our minds to it."

What a wise observation.

We daily "practice" tennis or golf. We "practice" law and medicine and other sports, even yoga.

Why not practice positive thinking as well?

As with any exercise, creating a positive mindset will take effort and concentration but will eventually become second nature. Remember learning to drive a car? Every aspect was robotic. Then came a day when we could drive, listen to the radio, talk with a passenger and watch traffic all at the same time.

Looking for the good in situations will develop in the same manner. Give it time. Nourish it. Practice it. Soon, you, too, will find that living life with a PMA will make you happier and able to more easily cope with the problems that are sure to come our way.

Won't you give it a try? One positive day at a time?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Excellent analogy you drew with driving. I hate to admit I am pessimistic, but I am working on positive feeding my self.

    Thanks for the reminder.
    3990 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    I definitely think you can cultivate a positive attitude, but you have to gotta wanna.

    3991 days ago
    Great message! I try to convey this to my nieces and nephews constantly!
    3991 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4114015
    I agree with you, Lou. I believe that the more one uses PMA, the more it is positive reinforcement and it just GROWS.
    3991 days ago
    My first reaction to your title was "I hope so" But once I read the blog in its entirety I found that it definitely can be learned.

    Thanks Lou for your PMA... it is having a positive affect on all your spark friends, especially me.

    :-) Kim
    3991 days ago
    I believe, like anything else, PMA is a choice we make. So, why not be positive? It sure beats the alternative!
    3991 days ago
    Flex those PMA muscles!! emoticon
    3991 days ago
    Thanks Lou. You know I choose PMA over PMS any day :-)
    3991 days ago
    Most definitely it can be learned, changing outlook and patterns of thinking. I am learning, Lou! I am feeling so much better now that I have decided to fight this feeling that I am stuck forever in any situation. Yes, I learned early that I was not valued, that I needed to be better, that my life was going nowhere. Now, if the thought "I hate my life" comes along, it is almost immediately followed by "but my life is changing." I still have not figured out the "positive affirmation" thing, but I am battling my tendencies to feel victimized. It is spring, and I am looking forward to the gifts coming my way.

    3991 days ago
    Great Blog! I believe as you said, it is learned. Whether from your parents or later in life, by practicing. My pastor always says "You have to change the record in your head! I also believe God is a big part of being positive too! I think the more you seek him, the more positive you become!
    Thanks for sharing this! It was awesome!
    3991 days ago
    Lou, you know this could have been written about me in many ways. I have longed for it; yearned for positive thinking after a life of thoughts and reinforcements on worthlessness and despair. You are so profound! Yes, I was engulfed in negativity and hopelessness...yet the soul, unless damaged beyond repair, will reach and grasp for what is pure, and what is true. The truth is, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I am beautiful! Thank you, Lou!
    3991 days ago
    Great post. I sure hope that it can be learned. My whole adult life has been consumed by self-imposed negativity. I have tried since arriving at SparkPeople to change that around. I hope it lasts!
    3991 days ago
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