April 14, 2020 | Miami, Florida, United States | By: Lidia Belkis Archbold, Inter-American Division
As we face the current crisis, besides making essential preparations and taking care physically, socially, and spiritually, we must prepare ourselves emotionally as well. Our attitude is very important to surviving the current crisis, especially during the lockdown.
Our attitudes can make a difference in our way of seeing the world around us, and can significantly impact our lives. We can’t always choose what is happening to us, but we can always choose what attitude to show.
Every day, our most important decision is what attitude we will show during that day. It is more important than our past, our education, our bank account, our business success, our standing and the opinion of those around us.
Attitude is a demonstration of the emotional mode we show when facing our life events. For instance, our attitude when facing problems could be one that is full of stress or calmness, assertiveness or nervousness, etc. Our attitude is related to our emotional intelligence, to knowing how to react assertively, balancing our aggressive and passive way of communicating.
Positive or Negative Attitudes
Be it in our homes, workplace, school, or community, every day, we are likely to face two types of people, namely.
- Optimistic and positive people, those who jump out of bed in the morning and say, “Good morning! Thank you, Lord!”
- Pessimistic and negative people, those who say, “Oh, dear God, it’s another day… full of sorrow!”
It is beneficial to develop a sound attitude, because, according to Galatians 6:7, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” If we choose positive thoughts, we will get positive results. In the same vein, if we choose negative thoughts, we’ll get negative results.
A study published in August 2012, by researchers at University of Kansas, found that positive emotions are essential to keep people in good physical health, especially low-income individuals.
Another study showed that positive emotions such as joy and fulfillment are connected to better health outcomes, even when basic needs are not met.
Dr. Carol Ryff, professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin, wrote, “A positive attitude is not just a mental state; it is also connected to what happens in our brains and bodies.” She suggested that people who show higher levels of well-being have a lower risk of suffering cardiovascular conditions, lower levels of stress hormones, and lower levels of inflammation, that serve as markers for the immune system.
In her book Ministry of Healing, (p. 241), Ellen G. White wrote, “The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize.”
Let me share four tips to keeping a positive attitude.
1. Do Not Worry in Advance. Are you worried? All of us are at some time, and feel uncertainty and fear, but, “do not cross the river before you get to it.” Matthew 6:34 (NLT) says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
This attitude does not imply that we deny our fear, since fear is one of our basic emotions. However, we should be careful that it does not become uncontrollable fear, which includes high levels of anxiety, which leads us to become frantic and panic. Panic negatively affects our health since it weakens our immune system, which is our defense against disease.
Again in Ministry of Healing, p. 241 “Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death.” Incidentally, physical exercise is one of the best tools to fight our worries, stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Keep an Attitude of Thankfulness. Gratitude provides meaning to our past, gives us peace for the present, and creates a vision for the future. We often wake up in the morning without thanking God for the many things He gives us even though we don’t deserve them: being able to listen, our sense of smell and touch, being able to walk, pure air, sunshine and many more things I could list.
Ellen G. White says, “Let us now bring all the beauty, love, and kindness we can into our life. Let us be thoughtful, grateful, patient, and forbearing in our intercourse with one another.” (Testimonies for the church, vol. 5, p. 490).
3. Surround Yourself with Positive People. From time to time, you will find people that just complain and complain about their lives, and are constantly searching for negative and horrific news to share. Try either to avoid them or help them, but do not encourage their behavior.
- Surrounding yourself with people who have a positive attitude is to recognize that they have a different and meaningful perspective on life.
- Positive people not only help you change your attitude towards life and things; they also have the power to improve your well-being and quality of life.
- People with a positive attitude usually have better interpersonal relationships and more friends.
- Try to pay more attention to the good things in life and stay away from things that are not worth it.
4. Apply the Golden Rule. Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore,whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” This is a very clear rule.
- It is the simplest, deepest, and most universal for human interaction.
- Treat others how you would like them to treat you.
- If you receive negative messages and stressful news, do not share them.
- Do to others — especially those who are special to you — what you would like them to do to you.
If you show a negative attitude, others will react to you similarly, but if your attitude is a positive one, you’ll be surprised by the response you’ll get.
From the moment sin entered the Garden of Eden, dissatisfaction, wickedness, and bad thoughts also entered. Satan will make any effort to instill and develop a negative attitude towards everything around you. The good thing is that we have a loving Savior who offered to come to rescue and save us.
When you feel like falling into a negative attitude, breathe deeply, make it stop, and remember what is written in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Lidia Belkis Archbold is health ministries director for the Inter-American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
Translated by: Marcos Paseggi