People have a bad attitude for many reasons, and it isn’t always a reflection of their character. Bad days happen to everyone, and sometimes, the stress of life can become overwhelming. They may react by complaining or venting to loved ones or attempting to numb the pain somehow. It isn’t realistic or fair to expect everyone to have a perfect attitude 24/7.

Humans naturally have a wide range of emotions, and it’s healthy to express them in a safe, loving environment. However, it can become a problem if your bad day turns into a bad week, month or year. In other words, if you allow that negative experience to shape your entire worldview, it could change your personality for the worse.

Usually, people have a bad attitude because of things entirely outside their control. For example, some like to blame politics, the economy, coworkers, or any other external stressor for their behaviors. But, we can choose how to respond to situations and people and become more aware of how our actions affect others.

4 Things That Cause a Bad Attitude (And How to Reverse It)

Below, we’ll go over a few common behaviors that can lead to a negative outlook. Also, we’ll list some steps you can take to increase your optimism in life.

bad attitude

1.     Frequent Complaining Transforms to a Bad Attitude.

If you complain to friends and family when something terrible happens, that’s one thing. But, if you make a habit of complaining about every minor inconvenience, it can darken your outlook on life. This occurs due to neuroplasticity, or the ability of the brain to form new connections or pathways. When you complain, your brain begins to rewire itself for negativity.

It might feel better to vent your frustrations, but it can harm you in the long run. Complaining raises cortisol levels, but it could also even shorten your lifespan! A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry discovered that optimists tend to outlive pessimists. They have a 55% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 23% lower risk of dying from heart failure.

How to Fix it:

Try to focus on positive things that happen each day. Or, limit your venting to a small window of time to get something off your chest. That way, you can move on quickly while still being able to express your emotions.

2.     Blaming Others For Problems Can Lead to a Bad Attitude.

Blaming others for difficulties or avoiding responsibility can also cause a bad attitude. It puts you in a victim mindset and makes you feel powerless to change anything in life. It may feel better to blame others in the short term because it liberates you from responsibility.

However, once you realize that the problems persist anyway, the victim mindset becomes a liability rather than an asset. The only way to take charge of your life is to tackle problems directly rather than running from them.

This builds character and increases confidence, helping to stave off a bad attitude. It also makes it easier to get along with others, as positivity makes you more magnetic and agreeable.

How to Fix It:

If you have a defeated mindset and don’t believe in yourself, it can cause a bad attitude. However, it starts by looking within for answers and having faith that you can overcome obstacles. You may have learned helplessness from your parents if they didn’t give you guidance or responsibility early in life.

But, you can still change this perspective by practicing resilience and getting outside your comfort zone. Ironically, having too little to worry about in life can lead to stagnancy and avoidance behaviors.

3.     Negative Self-Talk.

If you have a bad attitude, perhaps your self-talk is stealing your shine. Unfortunately, humans have a negativity bias, making negative thoughts or experiences stand out more than positive ones. This helped us survive in the wilderness when we constantly had to scan for threats. However, these negative thoughts no longer serve us, except for rare life-or-death situations.

Studies show that negative self-talk can exacerbate mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. So, not only does it rob you of mental wellness, it also can lead to a bad attitude.

How to Fix it:

Your perspective on yourself represents how you view the world, in many cases. So, if you can learn to love yourself, you will have a much brighter outlook on life. Practice self-compassion and rid yourself of any feelings of guilt or shame. Remember that you’re worthy and deserve to take up space on this planet just like everyone else!

4.     Comparing Yourself to Others.

Finally, seeing how you measure up against others can lead to a bad attitude. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, but it rarely leads to happiness or peace. If you feel jealous of someone else’s accomplishments or possessions, it can be bitter and resentful. You may feel inferior or behind in life by comparing yourself to others constantly.

How to Fix it:

However, remember that we’re all on a unique journey in life, and there isn’t just one blueprint to follow. If you have found inner peace and contentment, you’ve already won the game of life. Comparing yourself to others will only lead to disappointment, insecurity, and information overload. You’re enough already – you just need to realize that within.

chronic complaining

Final Thoughts on Behaviors that Cause a Bad Attitude

No one truly enjoys having a bad attitude; it happens unconsciously most of the time. We all deal with stressful situations, and if we’re overwhelmed, it isn’t easy to remain positive. However, we should remember that we can only control our reactions to life. We have no control over events or people outside ourselves, so we shouldn’t waste energy on them.

Only by changing ourselves can we alter our perception and, therefore, positively influence the world around us. So, try to see the silver lining in every situation, believe in yourself, and don’t play the comparison game. Also, talk to yourself the same way you’d talk to your best friend. By practicing these habits, you can stop a bad attitude and improve your mental well-being.