During times of challenge, it is easy to fall prey to a negative mindset. The fastest way to turn around hard times is to change your attitude—your perspective is where all your power lies. Inspiration and optimism are infectious. Try the ten tips below to empower yourself with a positive mindset:

1. Get an attitude of gratitude: Gratitude is one of the fastest ways to become inspired and increase your happiness. Make giving thanks a regular practice in your life and watch your inspiration soar. Try making a gratitude list before bed, encouraging your family to name things they are grateful for at the dinner table, or taking a ten-minute+ gratitude walk, where you spend the walk noticing things to be grateful for like the flowers in bloom, the adorable dog strutting his stuff or the friendly neighbor waving hello.

2. Up your endorphin levels: In case you need another reason to get your cardio in, do it for your mindset. Studies show that your brain gets marinated in powerful, positive endorphins when you get your heart rate up. I know, I know, it can be the last thing on your list when you’re stressed out, but make a commitment to get yourself to the gym, go for a hike, clean off the home workout machine and feel the power of your body’s natural stress reduction system.

3. Practice radical self-care: Stressful times often mean that you put yourself last on the list. I encourage my coaching clients to practice radical self-care and make themselves a top priority. Begin by making a list of five things you know refuel you (they don’t have to cost a dime). Is it a hot bath by candlelight? A walk around the block? Morning meditation? A foot rub from your spouse? Do at least one thing a week to recharge your batteries. When you are in a place of well-being, you’ll be able to give more to those around you.

4. Give back: There has never been a more important time to give back than now. Donating your time, energy, ideas, unused items and/or money to others who are less fortunate gives you a valuable perspective on your own life and encourages a state of gratitude. You don’t need to make a huge monetary donation to contribute—volunteer your time and make giving back a regular practice. Even just taking the time to smile to a stranger can be a blessing to both of you.

5. Experiment with affirmations: Affirmations are a powerful way to program your subconscious mind with positivity. They take very little time and are easy to do. To begin, write down five positive statements in the present tense. These statements are meant to be an antidote to negativity, so they should make you smile, feel optimistic and encourage a cheerful attitude. For example:
• I am a master at creating money.
• It is easy for me to attract great team members.
• The Universe is conspiring in my favor.
• I have vibrant health.
Say your affirmations aloud three times per day and see how your attitude shifts. I know that affirmations can sometimes conjure up images of the SNL skit with Stuart Smally, saying, “Gosh darn it, people like me!” Don’t let feeling silly stop you from this powerful practice. It truly will make a positive difference in your life.

6. Do a news fast: When my clients are overwhelmed with negativity, one of the first “prescriptions” I write for them is to do a news fast—to literally stop reading and watching the news. The media can bombard us with negative messaging and catastrophic thinking. With tools on the internet like ticker tapes and IM and cable equipped with 24 hour news channels; it is easy to allow news to interrupt you throughout the day. Take a break for one week from all media and see the difference it makes in your life. If your job requires you to watch the news, see how much you can limit your intake. You may just discover that you’ve been needlessly reacting to every bit of new information, causing undue stress and inner turmoil.

7. Stop complaining: During tough times it is easier than ever to complain, magnifying what you don’t want and creating more of it, because “misery loves company.” Instead, make the decision to be a positive light that shines brightly. Be a leader. Make a commitment to stop complaining and you’ll notice how your quality of life improves. Notice how much more goodness you attract to your own life, despite the prevailing challenging circumstances.

8. Focus on what you want: What we focus on grows. In brain science terms, this phenomenon is due to your Reticular Activation System (RAS). This is the area of your brain that determines what is important. You’ve seen it in action when you buy a new car—all of a sudden you notice how many other people own the same car. It is not that your model of a car wasn’t on the road before, it is that you decided it wasn’t important information to focus on until you owned one. We are always collecting evidence to prove our point and contribute to our story. So if we focus on what we don’t want, like the poor economy, our RAS will find evidence to support how poor the economy is. If however, you make a deliberate conscious decision to focus on what you want, you’ll put your RAS to work for the good of your life.

9. Surround yourself with positive people: Now is the time to be vigilant about the people you surround yourself with. Say goodbye to the “energy vampires” in your life and spend your time with positive, inspiring people. If you have a co-worker or family member that drains you, limit your interaction as much as possible and make a conscious effort to protect yourself from their negativity. Lead the conversation with questions and topics that evoke a positive conversation.

10. Take advantage of free inspirational resources: There are so many programs and offers of free daily inspiring quotes (I especially love http://tut.com/ and http://www.gotvision.com/), why not allow your day to be interrupted with positive thoughts? My company, Wake-Up Call Coaching, is pleased to be offering a FREE Tele-Seminar featuring high-profile woman experts called The Women Masters. Register for free now at http://www.TheWomenMasters.com. You’ll be glad you did!

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