Right after college I was on staff at a large camp in northern Michigan. Over a ten week period of time we had over 10,000 summer campers, and I learned the importance of positive mental attitude (PMA) that summer. Periodically during the mealtimes and various activities, the staff and campers would stop whatever they were doing, and chant in unison, “How’s your PMA?” It seems like a silly camp ritual, but looking back, continually keeping a check on one’s positive mental attitude was a great habit to develop.
Many have a natural tendency to become negative under stress; and stress is just a simple word for, “Life’s the pits right now, I’m overwhelmed, and things aren’t going the way I had planned.”
When negativity wraps its ugly claws around our minds, we typically don’t want to make good choices, because negativity causes us to feel sorry for ourselves. Poor me. Self-pity mentality can be detrimental to our well-being and to those around us.
How do I know? I experienced it first hand last weekend. On June 3rd I had what was ‘supposed’ to be a simple arthroscopic knee procedure to mend a meniscus tear. No big deal. A couple of days off of it, and then a couple of weeks of TLC, and I would be good to go again. Well, the surgery ended up being more involved, and upon discharge I was instructed to not bear any weight on the injured leg for six weeks; and also be on a continuous passive machine (CPM) for eight hours, every single day, for those six weeks.
It’s summer-like weather now in Indiana. We just endured a long, cold winter and spring, and the weather is finally nice. I had a full summer of activities planned. Being indoors, hooked up to a CPM machine was definitely not on that list. Worse yet I can’t even prepare a simple meal or wash a load of dirty clothes without enormous effort . . . for me, that’s stress!
Two days post-op I was feeling sorry for myself, and guess what? I really didn’t care two cents about my health. Apathy had set in, and the negativity affected my rational thinking and well-being, big time. Who knows, I might have even resorted to drowning my sorrows in a hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen; but thankfully I couldn’t drive!
I have no choice but to continuously check my positive mental attitude right now. I must focus on the positive blessings in my life and not the negative circumstances; otherwise I’m undone.
So when those moments of stress hit, and life gets overwhelming, or when it’s not going the way we had expected, that’s the time to evaluate our positive mental attitude. That's the time to list everything that we are thankful for. Our perspective will always affect our choices; and choices will always determine the difference between marginal health and incredible health!
How about you? How’s your PMA today?