What does it mean to have a healthy attitude? Well, if you have a healthy body, it means your body is well and full of health. To have a healthy attitude means you have an attitude that is positive, good and well. But how can we have a healthy attitude and why does it matter?
The American medical journal called 'Circulation' published findings in August 2009 that women who are optimistic have a lower risk of heart disease and death, than those who think negatively. This was similar to the findings of a Dutch team that showed optimism reduces heart risk in men. The research on nearly 100,000 women, found pessimists had higher blood pressure and cholesterol. Even taking these risk factors into account, attitude alone altered risks. Optimistic women had a 9% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from any cause after more than eight years of follow-up. In comparison, cynical women who harboured hostile thoughts about others or were generally mistrusting of others were 16% more likely to die over the same time-scale. Find more on this report here...
The British Heart Foundation put the research into context saying that making healthy choices such as not smoking and eating well, will have much more of an impact on your heart health than your outlook. Nevertheless, a healthy attitude can help create a healthy body!
The website - oddee.com (A blog with over 3 million visits a month, it features the odd, strange and bizarre things of our world) - has some great photos for use with this assembly - inspirational people - click here for 8 inpsirational people...
One of the stories is of 'Patrick Henry Hughes'. For more on Patrick, visit youtube for a moving 7 minute segment...
A bad attitude and a good attitude
The Bible says something very simple but profound - 'as a person thinks, so are they' (Proverbs 23.7, paraphrasing King James translation).
I have met some people who seem to have problems, no matter where they live. He thinks people are often too unfriendly, never there for them or misunderstand them. They end up lonely, unhappy and bitter. Off they move to another job in another town and have the same problems. The trouble is... them!! Someone once said that "wherever you go, there you are!"
Another friend of mine makes friends really easily. He has travelled all over the Middle East, even getting off a plane with nowhere to stay. He met a family when shopping and he stayed with them. Wherever he has been he makes friends. What's the secret? His attitude.
While my one friend has a bad attitude, this other friend has a great attitude. He always thinks the best of people, always expects to make friends, is always happy to get stuck in, willing to chat to people and help them out. As a result, people respond well to him! What kind of person would you prefer to be mates with? Someone who is always being nasty, criticising others and bitter? Or someone who thinks well of other people, says nice things about people and is positive?!
In the context of loving your enemies, Jesus said, "do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6.31). Basically, this can be summarised as, "treat others the way you want to be treated". If you have this attitude and live life in this way, you will honestly see your life transformed for the better! People long to be listened to, loved and understood. If you are able to do this for people, you will find that they will give back to you!!
You could show any number of clips from movies where people show a positive attitude, despite circumstances (or a negative one...)
Shrek 2. (00:10:46 - 00:17:41 / 00:18:22). Scene 4 on the DVD. Clip starts as the horse & carriage with Shrek, Fiona and Donley approaches Far Far Away. Clip ends as Fiona leaves the table after the family 'eat' together - or as she cries in her quarters, the end of the scene. There are lots of bad attitudes in this!!
There are also scenes in other animated movies like Robots, as Rodney continues to keep a good attitude and help people...
Castaway with Tom Hanks may be another good choice of movie for example.
Someone once said that "you can't control what goes on outside you, but you can control what goes on inside you."
Imagine that you are out in town and you decide to grab a coffee at Starbucks. You sit down at the table with your coffee and suddenly you spill the drink over your new jeans. You are annoyed and get grumpy, maybe swearing at the coffee as you've ruined your jeans! You've ended up reacting badly to the situation.
Now imagine exactly the same situation. You've just spilled your coffee over your new jeans. But there's one different thing. Sitting at the table right next to you is that girl / lad that you've fancied for ages and have been trying to impress. They are very cute. They're watching you as the drink spills on your jeans. Question: are you going to react in exactly the same way by shouting and swearing? Or are you going to pretend you're not really bothered, that you're cool - as you're trying to impress them...
You see, we can choose how we react to situations. If we can react differently to impress someone, we can react differently at other times!!
Choose the right attitude
An expert on the subject of attitude is Dr Alan Zimmerman. He tells us that attitude is the key indicator in life as to whether or not we will be successful or not. It matters more than family background, education or how intelligent a person is! He lets us know that around 80% of what people say in their heads is negative, "I can't do this and I can't do that..." Having a good attitude is a positive choice that you make. You can choose how to respond to any situation. The famous US President, Abraham Lincoln once said, "People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."
A mate wanting to decide which university to go to asked me, "which Uni should I go to?" Having been to university I told him "it doesn't matter where you go. Just make the most of wherever you go and whatever you do." In school and in life, the same thing is true. Imagine getting to the end of life and regretting what you'd done or not done. Don't be like that, have a good attitude and make the most of every opportunity, even if it's not ideal.
There is a great book in the Bible called Ruth. In this, we learn about a woman called Naomi who had 2 sons. Her sons married 2 women from another country called Orpah and Naomi. Sadly, over a period of 10 years, all 3 women lost their husbands. Naomi said to Orpah and Ruth to go back to their countries and their families where they'd be well looked after. Orpah went home. Although Naomi pushed Ruth to go back to her home, Ruth made a choice, did the right thing and chose to stay with Naomi. As a result of this, Ruth married a great (and well-off!) guy called Boaz. Through Ruth's good attitude and positive outlook, she found a great husband and was provided for.
Life isn't always this easy. But, if we choose to have a good attitude, then we will start to see things improve. It's better to be positive and happy than to be pessimistic and sad, right?!