What is an Attitude?

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It is easier to change the way you think than your emotions.

What is an attitude? An attitude is a point of view about a situation. An attitude has three components. An attitude is made up of:
  • What you think.
  • What you do.
  • What you feel.

No matter what situation you are in you always have certain thoughts about it. You also have an emotional response to it, and you behave a certain way in it. To begin changing your attitude you either change your thinking, the way you act, or the way you feel. Two of these choices are easier to influence than the third.

It is easier to change the way you think or behave than to change your emotions. However, it is usually our emotions that get our attention in regard to the situation. It is our emotions that we most want to change. When we feel sad, angry, anxious, or frustrated we don’t like it. We want the feeling to quickly go away. So we start trying to change the emotion. We often begin by trying to change others so we can feel better. It doesn’t work. We engage in behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse to numb the feelings. It doesn't work. Working all the time or excessive shopping are attempts at avoiding emotional distress. They don't work.

Our initial tendency is to focus on the feeling level and to change it first. The feeling or emotional level, however, is the most difficult to work on. You can’t "grasp" a feeling and force it to change. Feelings are powerful but vague. You can not get a grip on a feeling. If you want to change your feelings you must start elsewhere. You must begin with either your thinking or your behavior over which you have more control. The secret in effectively changing your emotions is knowing that feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are all related. When you change one of them ( for example, thinking) the other two (feelings and behavior) will change as well. Since it is easier to get a "grasp" on thoughts and behavior this is the place to begin your work of staying resilient. Change what you think! Change what you do! The emotions will change and you will be creating resiliency.


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