Attitude Change At the Flip of a Switch

Ever feel like you’re trapped in a particular mood or attitude and can’t get out of it? Well, sometimes I think it’s all in your head. Literally. For instance, this evening I found myself feeling irritable and cranky (still do, in fact). It was getting to the point where I was starting to get snippy with my wife, and I knew I didn’t want to do that. I walked out of the room for a moment to get a grip over myself before coming back and trying to act civilly. I even forced myself to make a joke. And the funniest thing happened — I found myself mood actually changing for the better. I had made the decision to behave better, I forced myself to actually do so (even though I didn’t feel like it), and ultimately I found my mood shifting to match the behavior.

And of course, now I’m reminded of the social psychology principle that states that people’s attitudes tend to actually shift toward their behaviors and not the other way around. In my own Christian walk, I have often forced myself to do those things that I knew I was supposed to do, even when I didn’t feel like it. And 99% of the time, I quickly found my attitude shifting to match. (That last 1% of the time was when I was just bound and determined to
rebel.)

Moral of the story: If you want to get out of that slump, try doing what you’re supposed to do anyway. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at the result.

4 thoughts on “Attitude Change At the Flip of a Switch”

  1. Oooo, behaviorism… and, it’s funny, I find that in my own immediate family we’re all a bit critical of each other at times, and I think the only reason is because we’re used to it and it’s a cycle. Like with my sister, sometimes I absolutely *hate* her and I pick apart every single negative quality she has, yet later I have to realize… everyone has bad qualities. It’s the countless good qualities we have to pay merit too.
    Ryc: Well, like I/my prof said, it depends on your own business philosophy. Is your primary responsibility to the shareholders, and thus their personal factors don’t make any difference? Or are you obligated to perform your duties in an ethical manner, giving something back to society?
    I guess it’s just how you run your business. Mr. Yancey said that the corporate way to do it (with 6 supervisors waiting outside your office door, expecting a decision within 5 minutes) is just to give them each the same amount – split it evenly. Or did I already mention that…?
    Anyway, yeah, it’s interesting. My team at first chose to let Fred go, but the more thinking I do…

  2. It’s funny how much Christians speak out against psychology, but even just studying for this afternoon’s mid-term, it’s crazy how much stuff there is there that is so useful for therapy that is still wholly consistent with the Bible. But because it’s psychology, Christians are so quick to dismiss it as useless and even evil.And I think I would have to seriously consider what my goals and business methods would be before I start to run a company.

  3. You ever think Freud just lends the entire field a giant demerit in their eyes?
    And, heh, yes, ditto – I’d like to hope anyone would be seriously considering that before they started their own business…

  4. Yes, and no. On the one hand, Freud had a lot of good ideas. He just took them to the complete wrong extremes. What I find so frustrating about Freud is that he’s not even recognized as psychology in the field anymore, but whenever you poll the average layman, Freud is the first stereotype most think of.And yeah, leave it to me to make the ‘duh’ statement of the day.

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