The breakfast of champions is “rise and shine.” The unspoken motto of losers is “rise and whine.” You have a choice, unless someone else in your head is controlling you. Being positive at the crack of dawn is simple but not easy.

Anyone can be positive at the crack of noon. You may wake up with pains, but that doesn’t mean you have to be one. Instead of complaining that it’s too early, too cold, too dark, not Friday, try to be less complaining about your circumstances, or at least neutral upon wakening.

Before your feet hit the floor, make a mental list of the things you are grateful for — more than one item. This list could include the fact that you woke up, that you weren’t homeless on a park bench, that you could see, hear, feel, and eventually rise.

If you do happen to get up on the wrong side of the bed, keep negativity to yourself. Negative attitudes are very contagious and people don’t like to catch them. When tempted to whine, just remember the Swiss proverb: “speech is silver; silence is golden.”

Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the most important figures in mental health, stated that “attitudes are more important than facts.” Perhaps that’s overstated, but attitude is the only thing in life you have complete control over. In fact, the only thing you can control about your past is your attitude about it.

So, if you want to help rather than hurt the people around you, choose to be positive.

Seasons change and so can you. And optimism is a more productive, intelligent way to think. So skeptics, fake it until you make it, — your positive attitude, that is. Optimism is linked to better health, relationships, and all aspects of job success. In today’s market, it’s good to remember that the “squeaky wheel” gets replaced.

By Dr. Ron Rubenzer- Fellow: American Institute of Stress.

Originally published in News & Record, Greensboro, NC