Proof Positive: La Jolla author pens guide for improving your attitude

When the New Year rolls around, most people resolve to lose weight or get in shape. But La Jolla author Kat Cowley has a different exercise routine in mind — one for the attitude.

What if, she poses, we resolved to get better about not nagging, being a more encouraging friend or not comparing ourselves to others?

“The angle I wanted to hit home with my book is that positivity needs a regimen,” she said. “It’s not just ‘oh, that’s your personality’ or ‘that’s your disposition’. It’s just like physical fitness, you need to be exercising a healthy attitude daily, just like you would for physical health.”

So she penned “Week to Strong: Thought-Shifting Mental Shape-Up Plan,” a week-by- week guide to exercising positivity. Each chapter offers mental exercises, journal topics and discussion questions, to spur a positive mindset.

As a personal development writer and ghostwriter, Cowley, a WindanSea resident, said a positive attitude is something “I’m truly passionate about.”

A guide designed to be implementable by anyone, Cowley said her book comes from a “real place,” which she compared to places where everyday people exchange recipes. “You see all these blogs with the premise of ‘if I can cook this, anyone can.’ Well, this is me sharing a recipe for living,” she said. “I don’t have a Harvard education, I don’t have ‘doctor’ in front of my name, the Dalai Lama has not invited me to dinner any time, I’m just an everyday person.”

Having an overall positive attitude benefits “every strand of life,” she said. “Imagine if when people walked into the post office line ... they walked in and thought, ‘I want to have a positive effect on these people.’ So you watch your tone or skip sighing because the line is long or you thank the very busy postal worker.”

Hoping her book spurs discussions among groups of people or friends, Cowley said, “The more open we are about our shortcomings or what we might need help with, and the more we talk about it, the better off we’ll be. So much conflict and hurt feelings would be eliminated if we were as passionate about our mental health as we are about our physical health.”