Lesson Five
How To Get Moving -
Changing Unproductive Ways of Thinking and Feeling

Objective:

To help participants learn to develop and sustain a positive attitude.

 1. Introduce the topic and ask participants to describe the differences between "positive attitudes" and "negative attitudes." Make two columns on news print or chalkboard and list characteristics suggested by participants.
 2. After a brief discussion of the differences, ask participants to tell you what an attitude is. After they discuss the concept for a few minutes, suggest this definition. "An attitude is what you have learned to say about yourself, other people, or the situation in which you find yourself." Attitudes describe you, other people, and situations." Attitudes suggest the kind of response you should make, and they energize you to act. Point out that attitudes are acquired habits of thinking. An attitude may or may not be true. More importantly, attitudes may or may not be useful for action. If you have learned something that is not true and/or not useful and realize it, you can learn something more true and useful.
 3. Ask participants how we get our attitudes. The most immediate answer is likely to be past experience. Press participants to consider other sources of their attitudes. Some of the sources that they should consider are parents and family members, peers, cultural stereotypes, personal misinterpretations, misapplications of prior experience, and unrealistic thinking. After the discussion, make this point: Regardless of the source, our attitudes influence our thinking, feelings, and behavior. Stress this idea: Our attitudes say something about us - who we think we are. A person must be responsible for his/her attitudes and be vigilant against attitudes that rob him/her of power, choice and satisfaction of his/her achievements.
 4. Ask participants to make a list of specific areas in their lives where they have negative attitudes. A negative attitude is a set of negative statements ("...no good," "...worthless," "...wrong," etc.), negative feelings (fear/anger, distrust, frustration, disgust, etc.) and/or negative actions (avoid, abuse, take advantage of, etc.) directed toward a person or situation.
 5. Distribute the handout Obstacles to Positive Attitudes. Discuss the four obstacles to positive thinking. Make sure participants can recognize in their own behavior which of these obstacles are most commonly operating.
 6. Ask participants to identify the positive attitude obstacle that they would most like to overcome. Have them write this obstacle down. Encourage participants to make a list of the specific situations to which the obstacle applies. "When is it an obstacle for you?"
 7. Review the "Positive Thinking" column. Identify the specific skills and habits that the participants will need to begin cultivating in their lives. Have them develop a plan and a monitoring program for this specific obstacle.
 8.

Homework

Ask participants to make lists of negative attitudes they observe themselves or others expressing between meetings. Instruct them to write these attitudes down exactly as they were expressed. Participants should also record the circumstances under which the attitude was expressed. Then participants should rewrite the attitude in a more positive fashion. Afterwards, repeat the attitude out loud in the presence of others to see their reactions.

 9.

Self-Assessment

Distribute the Self-Worth Checklist. Ask participants to reflect on their behavior during this session and to honestly rate themselves. Ask them to place their evaluations in their portfolios and return them to the file cabinet.

 10.

REMINDER: Time for Mid-Review

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with each participant at the end of this session. Have prepared the Progress Review and self-worth scores for each participant.