Can You Change Your Attitude?

I am totally depressed by rain. Gray days make me gloomy and lethargic.

So when we headed out the door to go see James (and Ben) Taylor in Richmond last night, I wasn’t excited. Now I love JT, so this was kind of unusual. I found myself grumbling about how cold it was, how I would get wet walking from the car, how much traffic there was on 95–actually, I grumbled about everything.

About 45 minutes into the drive, I remembered a post I had read recently about our attitudes. How often a simple reframing of a situation can make us see the world in a different way. Usually, if I’m in a bad mood, nothing helps but time. However, I decided to give it a shot. Three or four minutes later, and I was on my way back up, getting excited about the concert, trying not to worry about the weather, and feeling a little sheepish that I’d let it all get to me.

How did I reframe this?

I reminded myself that the weather would break soon. It wouldn’t be gray and cold for months!! ( I tend to exaggerate.)

I focused on how lucky I was to be able to go see one of my favorite singers in person.

I reminded myself that I have this great job that allows me flexibility to do things like this–AND sleep in a little in the morning if I want to.

In other words, I stopped being negative. And I had a terrific time.

In our school culture, we often face negative people.

“I don’t have enough time.”

“There’s too much on my plate.”

So often, these attitudes could be changed by a reframing. That doesn’t always work, as our genes, our DNA, have much to do with whether we are able to move beyond the “glass half empty” mentality.

But imagine if we could help our students understand that their ability to recognize and “control” thoughts will change their attitudes.

(Aaron T. Beck, M.D., is the President Emeritus of the non-profit Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research, and University Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.)

“…helping patients identify and evaluate these thoughts and found that by doing so, patients were able to think more realistically, which led them to feel better emotionally and behave more functionally.”


That’s powerful information.


image credit: by Karin Beil