51 Attitude Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Positive Mental Fortitude

Attitude, as they say, is everything.


Getting into and staying at a peak mental state is the prerequisite for high performance and achievement.

Here’s a cheat sheet to get yourself into a peak state and/or to change your state when you find yourself in a bad place mentally.

(By the way, these are in no particular order.  They all work and are all appropriate at one time or another.)

 Powerful Questions:

One of the best ways to get yourself right mentally is to ask powerful questions.

1.  What am I grateful for?  We can grow myopic quickly and lose sight of our many blessings.  Recalling all the gifts God has given us can bring us back to objectivity and restore our positive mental state.  There’s power in an “attitude of gratitude.”

2.  What else could this mean?  We often work ourselves into a mental state based on a circumstance involving other people or institutions.  Someone does something, says something, or as is often the case, doesn’t do something and it rubs us the wrong way.  Instead of applying meaning where there is no meaning, we should open ourselves up to the possibility that we’re reading it wrong.

3.  Now what?  When things don’t go our way we can go in circles focusing on the negative and obsessing over what’s happened.  Learn to turn the page by asking, “now what?”

4.  Where’s the gift?  In every circumstance there is a gift.  It’s up to us to find it.  Asking this question creates a mental quest that gets our brains heading in a positive direction.

5.  What’s the lesson?  We don’t learn by succeeding.  We learn by failing.  When things aren’t going your way, ask what lesson this provides that is going to make you better.

6.  What must I believe is true to feel this way?  Sometimes we feel defeated, frustrated, or heartbroken.  This question exposes the fallacy of the underlying beliefs we must hold to feel those emotions.  Here’s some example answers.  “I’d have to believe this is the end, which it isn’t.  I’d have to believe there is no where else to go from here, which is ridiculous.  I’d have to believe the past equals the future, which it doesn’t.  I’d have to believe God is no longer in control, which He obviously is!”  When you pursue this line, you change things VERY quickly.


7.  Move  – Tony Robbins says that motion creates emotion.  If you’re down, your physical body will reflect that.  Get up!  Put your head up!  Pull your shoulders back.  Create some motion and your emotion will change as well.

8.  Do A Good Deed – This is best when you don’t tell anyone, especially the person who benefits.  You’ll feel great all day!

9.  Forgive Someone – You want to turn things around quick?  Take an old hurt, forgive, and be done with it once and for all.

10.  Ask for Forgiveness – Go to someone you’ve offended and offer a sincere apology.  Ask for their forgiveness.  You’ll be amazed.

11.  Say Something Nice – When you are down, make a point to start complimenting everyone you see.  “I like that blouse.”  “You have the best smile.”  Complimenting others will turn you around in no time.

12.  Get outside – Go sit on a bench or just walk outside for a bit.  Take in the sunshine and enjoy the view.  Really tap into the beauty all around us; the clouds, the trees, the wind.

13.  Crank up your favorite tunes – Music is the balm for your soul.  It transports us instantly.  You will find it difficult to stay in a bad mood when your favorite up-beat music is playing.

14.  Sing – You can choose to combine this one with #13 or not.  It doesn’t matter if you are a good singer or bad, when you belt it out you feel better.

15.  Pray – Prayer is powerful for so many reasons, not least of which is the impact the discipline has on the one praying.  Your prayer doesn’t need to be long, eloquent, or impressive.  It just needs to be real.   Did I mention that prayer has power?

16.  Exercise – Exercise gets your endorphins flowing.  Even something short and simple near your desk such as push ups or jumping jacks can make a huge difference.

17.  Take a walk – This combines #7, #12, and #16.  If you have an iPod you can bring #13 for a ride as well.  Come to think of it, going for a walk may be one of the most powerful things you can do.

18.  Turn off the news – The news is negative.  Even stimuli like sports talk radio which for many people revolves around a pastime they enjoy is mostly negative.  “Everything is going to crap,” is the sum of all headlines.  Turn it off.  It’s not helping you.

19.  Look at your vision board – Don’t have a vision board?  Make one.  When you’re in a negative place stand in front of your vision board for 2 minutes and your mental state will change.

20.  Get away from negative energy – If you’re around people who are being negative, it will affect you.  If you’re in a group of people who are complaining or whining, politely dismiss yourself and go somewhere else.

21.  Recite affirmations – If you don’t know the power of affirmations, now’s the time to start.  This isn’t the lame, Stuart Smalley variety of affirmations.  Doing affirmations right is one of the most powerful things you can do to ensure your own success.

22.  Listen to Personal Development – Everyone should have some “go to” personal development audio from Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, or whoever your favorite success coach happens to be.

23.  Recite Scripture – As with prayer, Scripture has a supernatural power to transform us.  Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Psalm 37:30-31 tells us that the righteous man doesn’t slip because the Word of God is “in his heart.”

24.  Take deep breaths and relax – Negativity breeds tension.  Breathe deeply and feel the vibrancy of your life.  You are ALIVE.

25.  Recall your achievements – When you “lose” in life begin to immediately recall those times when you won or were at your peak.  See yourself as the winner from those images.

26.  Do it again – This one is for those times when we fall on our face.  Maybe it was a sales call or an attempt to pitch an idea to the boss or a conversation with a distant teen.  If it doesn’t go well, the worst thing would be to let it just sit and fester.  We need to pick ourselves back up and do it again as soon as possible.  Get back in the ring!

27.  Speak to your coach – Call your coach and tell them your in a negative place.  Let them work you through it.  Don’t have a coach?  What??? Click here.

28.  Recount what went right – When you have a negative experience and things have gone badly, you can easily start beating yourself up.  Instead, start listing everything that went right and congratulating yourself for it.

29.  Eliminate Generalization Words – We move quickly to hyperbole when we’re negative.  We always do this or never get that right.  Eliminate always, never, completely,  and other generalization words from your vocabulary until you’re positive again.

30.  Eliminate All Negative Talk – Don’t insult yourself.  Don’t whine.  Don’t say ANYTHING that is negative.  Go immediately to your power questions to fill up your inner dialog.

31.  JournalJournaling some power questions like, “where’s the gift,” and “what’s the lesson,” is an excellent way to both stay positive and create a powerful feedback and reflection loop.

32.  Eliminate Profanity – Profanity is a cop-out; a mental crutch.  When we are cursing, we are not having to think.  If you force yourself to NOT use profanity in a bad moment your brain will have to fill in the blank with something else.  That something else will almost always be more productive.

33.  Imagine Your Hero – Picture your hero in the same situation.  What would they do?  How would they handle it?  Did they have any adversity in their life?  How did it compare to what you are experiencing?

34.  Surround Yourself with Positive People – You should do this as much as possible to keep yourself in a positive state.  But when you are in a negative state of mind, it is critical!

35.  Avoid Alcohol – Though I enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, I am not someone who drinks on a daily basis.  Even still, I have a rule.  I NEVER drink when I am sad, frustrated, or upset.  Alcohol is a depressant and will only make things worse.  Moreover, it doesn’t take much for a drink when sad to become a crutch and then a dangerous habit.  Don’t do it.

36.  Eat Something REALLY Healthy – The counter-point to #35 is eating something really good for you.  I have a BlendTec that I love!  I make homemade smoothies with organic greens and fruit and clean proteins.  You always feel great about yourself when you are doing something healthy, and a burst of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in your system will have a positive effect on your brain.

37.  Write a Thank You Note – The more you can find an attitude of gratitude the better.  When you’re down, think of someone who you’re thankful for and write them a note to let them know.

38.  Get Excited – The possibilities are endless!  Get fired up!!!

39.  Laugh Out Loud – Watch your favorite hilarious YouTube video, put on a comedian like Brian Regan or Tim Hawkins, or get around your kids.  Whatever will make you really truly laugh out loud.

40.  Don’t Blame – The blame game is the easiest card to play in adversity.  Don’t do it!  The buck stops with you.  Embrace that and refuse to let yourself blame others.  It will keep you from a negative spiral.

41.  Don’t Play the Victim – Don’t let yourself go do the path of “woe is me.”  Use the responses below and take charge.

42.  Dance – We’ve said move, and exercise, and listen to favorite music, but when you put it all together and just shake your groove thing you’re going to feel really good.  Lock the door, pull down the blinds, and have your own little Ren MacCormack moment.

43.  Stay in the Present – Negativity can breed worry.  Our brain will race down a rabbit hole of “what-ifs” and we’ll start seeing every bad consequence we can imagine falling like dominoes before us.  We’re not at the mercy of fate and worry is a worthless exercise.  What happens from here will be determined by the choices we make right now.  So stay present and make a good next move.

44.  Turn Your Negative Statement into A Power Question – We often say negative things like, “I can never lose the weight,” or “I’m never going to win that deal.”  We need to turn these types of statements into a power question by putting the word, “How,” in front.  “How can I lose the weight? or How can win the deal?”  The key to this one?  Listen to your answers.  Make a list because your subconscious genius will spit out some gems.


45.  Awesome!  – I like to say something positive immediately when something doesn’t go my way.  It keeps me in a positive vein.  “Mr. Ross, you were not selected to speak at the conference.  Thank you for your interest.”  AWESOME!

46.  Yes!!!  – This is similar to awesome but for me has a different underlying meaning.  “Yes” is my reminder that this setback is an opportunity.  It causes me to look for the gift and the new open door.

47.  That’s all you got?  – When something bad happens such as a flat tire on your way to the appointment or the projector going out right before your big presentation, just say, “That’s all you got?” and laugh.  It’s a reminder that you’re so much tougher than what life has to dish out.

48.  I welcome this! – This is my wife’s favorite and I love it as well.  We know that there is no testimony without a test, so when those trials come, we say, “I welcome this!”  It means good things are to come.

49.  I’m so glad it’s me! – The underlying thought behind this one is that I am a strong person who can handle adversity, so I’m glad that if someone has to have this happen to them today, it’s me.

50.  I got this! – Have the attitude that you are in control.  Just because something has set you back or knocked you off course doesn’t mean you aren’t going to win.  Say it twice just for good measure.

Just One More

51.  Bookmark this page – When you get a little negative, you can get back here fast and get on track.

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