Growing up between Europe and the U.S. required a lot of air travel. Unfortunately, I was an airsick child. Even more unfortunately, my family had spread out quite a bit and required travel between the U.S., France, Germany, England and Greece.
I dreaded each time I boarded a plane, and as a result, each flight became more miserable than the last. Near the end, I felt ready to crawl beneath the seats and wait for my misery to end.
Despite how wretched flying had become, I still wanted to see my family and I still had to board a plane to do so. Then, one day as I was headed to the East Midlands Airport for a trip back to the U.S., I told myself that I was done being miserable. I would not be sick. I believed in myself. I could do it. I could board that plane, breathe that wretched air and not feel ill until my feet touched Miami.
And I did it. That was the day I discovered how powerful attitudes and beliefs could be. I boarded that plane, adjusted to the awful smell of fuel, sat down and made it all the way to Florida like every other passenger. The only difference between that flight and all the others before it was my attitude.
Our attitudes affect how we perceive the world around us. A positive attitude trains the brain to be happier and more optimistic and improves mental health. It reduces anxiety and depression. It means that we not only perceive the world more joyfully but we also act in ways that maintain those feelings of joy and optimism.
Pessimism creates feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, depression, anger and fear. When you are hopeless, you give up, and when you give up, things cannot get better. We isolate and become mired in our issues so that we only make life feel worse.
Deciding I was entirely capable of experiencing the flight just as every other passenger did was the first step in recovering from my discomfort. With each successful flight, I became more confident and more comfortable.
So it is with our mental health. We take it into our hands through out attitudes. When we decide that we are worthy and deserve health and happiness, we are able to walk the path and reach those goals.
Which of your attitudes support goals of health and happiness? Which undermine your recovery? We are ultimately responsible for ourselves and our mental health, and our self-talk and attitudes can make all the difference between happiness or despair.