I find that happiness is contagious…most of the time. Even when I’m in a crummy mood if I’m around others that are upbeat and positive, their actions tend to lift me out of my funk. I especially find that true when I’m around Tanner, my Golden, but I digress…. However, I do wonder if it’s their positive happiness factor that changes my outlook, or is it a conscious decision to change (or not change) my attitude?
Can a person choose to be happy…or unhappy?
Do I change my attitude, which affects my behavior…or do I change my behavior, which causes my attitude to improve? My background in advertising has drilled into my head that behavior is influenced attitude. And attitude can be influenced with the right message, delivered in a way to provoke an action.
Merriam Webster says attitude is “a mental position with regard to a fact or state; a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state.” Behavior is “the manner of conducting oneself; anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation; the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment.
Not so much.
Like it or not, my attitude is usually shaped by the behaviors of others. Snip at me and I’m likely to snip back. Bring me chocolate and my mood immediately improves. So, your behavior affects my attitude…which most likely affects my behavior…which will affect your attitude about me…which will…….well, you get the idea.
So is it ever possible to choose your behaviors in spite of your attitude?
Yes, I think it is possible.
I hate to diet and exercise. Left to my own attitude, I’d easily weigh in at 300 pounds. But, despite my attitude about those two things, I have to watch what I eat and make sure I occasionally move. And the better I start to feel about how I look, the better my attitude becomes.
So which is it for you? Does Attitude determine your Behaviors, or does doing the Behaviors change your Attitude.
Either way, it’s a contagious cycle.