How we handle stress depends upon our attitude

Attitude can also affect the way stress handles us. Optimists are able to cope more effectively with stress. It also reduces their chances of developing a stress-related illness. When optimistic people do become ill, they tend to recover more quickly.

Pessimists are likely to deny the problem, distance themselves from the stressful event, focus on stressful feelings, or allow the stressor to interfere with achieving a goal. People with a more pessimistic attitude tend to report poorer health compared to people with optimistic attitudes.

People with positive attitudes view situations differently from those with negative attitudes. Here are some general statements. Think about how you would respond to them:

  • In times of uncertainty, I usually expect the best.
  • In times of uncertainty, I usually expect the worst.
  • I look on the bright side of things.
  • I look on the dark side of things.
  • I hardly ever expect things to go my way.
  • I do not always expect things to go my way. When they do not, I try to learn something from the experience.

Attitudes can even be detected in the words we use. For example, “I won’t,” indicates choice, whereas “I can’t” indicates powerlessness.

Our attitudes develop from the time we are children. It is difficult for pessimists to change overnight. One way to start developing a more positive attitude is through “thought stopping.” Start by noticing your attitude in various situations to see if you have a more negative or a more pessimistic view.

The next time you are thinking or saying a negative comment, picture a big, red STOP sign stopping the negative thought. Then replace that thought, or the statement, with a more positive or optimistic statement.

If you feel that your negative attitude toward life could be affecting your health, you should contact a natural health care practitioner. They may refer you to a person who specializes in the area of change in attitude or in the area of wellness.

I have found that the book entitled: Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim F. LaHaye to be very enlightening. My husband and I, as well as many of our friends and staff members at Caring Medical, have read this book and taken a “temperament inventory.” This book divides us into 4 temperaments – Sanguines, Melancholies, Cholerics, and Phlegmatics. This book will help you figure out why you do the things that you do. We found that it helped give insight into why we react the way we do. It has helped us be much more positive people. It’s available on if you’re interested.

God could have made us all Sanguines.
We could have lots of fun but accomplish little.
He could have made us all Melancholies.
We would have been organized and charted but not very cheerful.
He could have made us all Cholerics.
We would have been set to lead, but impatient that no one would follow!
He could have made us all Phlegmatics.
We would have had a peaceful world but not much enthusiasm for life.
We need each temperament for the total function of the body.
Each part should do its work to unify the action and produce harmonious results.

–Florence Littauer in The Gift of Encouraging Words