How to Identify and Change a Negative or Toxic Attitude

5 Things You Can Do When You’re Not in a Healthy Mental State

The ability to identify and change a negative or toxic attitude is essential in supporting us achieve what we want.

Our daily interactions and obligations can cause us to experience high levels of stress, which can affect our attitude.

When stress builds up, it can cause us to behave in uncharacteristic ways, which can lead to a negative attitude.

Examples of Negative Attitudes

Signs we may have a negative attitude can include:

  • Whining and complaining.
  • Criticising others.
  • Not owning up to mistakes.
  • Being impolite to others.
  • Not willing to accept feedback because it’s taken as an attack.

When these things are playing out, we have to identify the triggers or causes of our negative attitude.

How to Identify a Negative Attitude?

The ability to identify a negative attitude is beneficial because we can then do something about it. Some consequences of having a negative or toxic attitude can include:

  • Not feeling well mentally or emotionally.
  • Constantly agitated or annoyed.
  • Focusing more on what’s wrong rather than what’s going well.
  • Finding it hard to concentrate on what needs to be done.
  • Replaying events in our minds from the past that haven’t gone our way.

When we change our attitude, we’ll feel better about ourselves and be more relaxed.

identify a negative attitude

Recently, I was speaking to a friend who shared a situation she was experiencing at her workplace. She described the infighting and nasty comments employees were making about fellow employees.

She recognised the effect being in a toxic environment was having on her attitude. It was also affecting her ability to sleep well at night and work effectively.

Fortunately, she could notice the signs she didn’t have her normal attitude. It will be easier to change her attitude so she can be more upbeat and optimistic again.

5 Things You Can Do to Change a Negative or Toxic Attitude

Whenever we notice signs we have a negative attitude, there are things we can do to change our attitude. As our attitude is determined by what’s going on inside our minds, we have to make a mental adjustment.

Here are five things that will change a negative or toxic attitude so you can create the experiences you want.

  1. Get out of the victim mindset. When we have a negative attitude, it usually means we’re reluctant to take responsibility to create what we want. This puts us in a victim mentality or mindset. We can shift that by asking, “How do I see myself?” or “How do I want to see myself?” Another question we can ask is, “How do I want others to see me?”
  2. Redirect to your focus to what you can control. A negative attitude also means we’re focusing on what we don’t want or what we cannot control. When we shift our focus to what we can control, we’ll focus on what’s possible for us.
  3. Feed your mind with positivity. We can take the power out of negativity by giving attention to its opposite. We can use positive affirmations or turnaround statements to change our negative self-talk. Our intention should be to focus on what we want instead of what we don’t want.
  4. Manage your expectations. This is about accepting and forgiving ourselves for mistakes we’ve made. Sometimes, we have a negative attitude without realising it, so we must learn to forgive ourselves. Accepting we’ll let ourselves down sometimes is helpful, but our aim should always be to improve.
  5. Be careful who you surround yourself with. Our environments affect our attitude. If we’re around people who constantly moan, whine and complain, it will affect our attitude. Having a supportive peer group and holding ourselves accountable will help us maintain a bright attitude.


If we know we’re not in a healthy mental state, it’s our responsibility to change our attitude. A positive attitude will create positive results, whereas a negative attitude will create experiences and results we don’t want.

If we can identify and change a negative attitude quickly and easily, we’ll have a more enjoyable life.

Action Step: Assess your attitude by reflecting on what you’ve been giving attention to recently. Have you focused more on what’s not going well instead of what’s right? If you have, identify one thing you’ll do to change your attitude.

Question: What are more ways to identify and change a negative or toxic attitude?