More than anything else, your fulfillment and success depends on your attitude.

Attitude, positive or negative, is self-fulfilling. For example, when people are treating you badly or things aren't going well, it's easy to take it personally and treat yourself and/or others badly. It's a negative loop. Life gets crunchy.

Free yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

- Bob Marley

On the other hand, when someone treats you well it's easy to get in a positive loop and treat yourself and others the same way. Life feels good.

It can be a real challenge to keep a positive attitude when life isn't going well. It's worth pursuing though because the benefits are huge.

Here are some things you can do to create a positive attitude. Choose the ones that work for you.

  1. Volunteer to help others who are in hard situations or something else that interests you. This cuts through the negative cycle of experience and gives you some work experience at the same time. If you can't find an official volunteer position right away just help somebody for kicks. Pay attention to how it feels when you do this.
  2. Do the skills exercises on this site. They'll help you identify the kinds of work you do well and the skills you enjoy using.
  3. Give yourself a break. If people judge you for how you look, your grades, your past, your position in life or whatever realize that this is their negative attitude. If it triggers your own negative attitudes that's totally human. Just take note of it, take a deep breath or do something else below that brings you into a more positive state. Be patient with yourself, you're worth it.
  4. Breathe. When people get upset their breath tends to get shallow. When this happens it's harder to think straight. Breathe deeply and slowly, all the way down into your belly. Do this repeatedly when you are feeling nervous, scared, or starting to get angry. It should help even you out and stay focused. More info...
  5. Laugh. Sometimes it's really hard to laugh but the bottom line is that laughter is good for you.
  6. Move your body. Get some kind of exercise even if it's just walking. Exercise creates endorphins which are chemicals in your body that help you feel better. More info
  7. Create. Write poetry, a song, draw, dance, sing, play an instrument (harmonicas are cheap and portable). Use the internet to get information about how to create in the way that pleases you most. Express whatever is important to you. Don't show it to anyone unless you really want to. It's your thing.
  8. Seek help. If you're having trouble with things like school, work, or people ask yourself who or what could help you. Mentors are available to help you with a variety of things (not just financial aid) and they might know about others who could help you in other things.
  9. Accept whatever is happening at the moment even if it is totally unfair and miserable. This is not giving up. It's accepting reality so you can choose what to do about it. It's easy to resist whatever is going on and stay stuck there as a result. What you resist persists.
  10. Visualize good things. When you have a moment take some time to picture yourself with a completely positive attitude. Picture yourself feeling content, happy, successful and surrounded by people who love and respect you. Picture the scene as vividly as you can. Practice this often. Just before you go to sleep and just after you wake up are two good times to start.
  11. Meditate. It's not just for gurus anymore. Meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and create a positive outlook. It's very simple. Just find a good place to sit for 15 minutes or so. Keep your back straight because meditation is about paying attention. Drop your shoulders because meditation is also about relaxing. Now, while breathing deeply and slowly, pay attention to what you are thinking without getting attached to it. Let the thoughts or feelings that appear float by like clouds. If you find yourself getting attached or worried about something simply notice it and let it go. Remember you are the one observing these thoughts and feelings. Practice regularly, at least every other day, and see what happens. More info...