Changing Your Thoughts
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Changing Your Life
- Abraham Lincoln
As the new year begins we all want it to be better – happier – stronger than the year that has passed. Practicing and acquiring knowledge on positive thinking is a win-win commitment to obtain anything that you desire – everything starts with the thought process.
When tapping in to the power of positive thinking, the most important step is to create a mindset that allows you to think positively. Once you have pulled the weeds (negative thoughts) from your mental garden, you can begin to sow the seeds that will anchor your new way of life.
Creating a positive mindset takes training. In much the same manner as runners train their bodies to endure long periods of sustained activity, you can train your mind to sustain positive thought, and naturally defer to pleasant or optimistic paths. At first, thinking positively may feel awkward or ridiculous (particularly if you’re the type of person who believes perky morning people should be shot). Keep in mind, though, that it does get easier the more you do it, and eventually, sustaining a positive mindset will be as natural as breathing.
Like any training program, there are steps you can follow to achieve your optimal results: in this case, a positive mental outlook. It takes 21 days to form a new habit. Therefore, you should focus on each change for at least 21 consecutive days.
Step up to your mental treadmill, and let the training begin!
Warm-up: Shake Out Negative Kinks
When you think about it, it’s obvious: negative is the opposite of positive, so in order to instill a positive mindset you need to get rid of negative thoughts. Sounds simple enough, right? The process is an easy one, but it takes practice to make it stick.
The first step in clearing negativity from your mind is to really pay attention to your thoughts. Whenever the words can’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t, won’t, not, or never enter your mind, concentrate on what you’re thinking and turn it around to eliminate the negative wording. For example:
Your spouse and children are gone for a few hours, and you have the place to yourself. You’re indulging in one of your favorite activities. In the midst of your enjoyment, you start to feel guilty. You think: I really shouldn’t be doing this. I could be getting started on the project I promised someone else I’d take care of. Your enjoyment starts to fade, and you stop what you’re doing, resentful that you have to tackle this boring project when you have so little time to yourself...
Does this sound familiar? The moment you hear yourself think shouldn’t, stop right there and change direction. In this scenario, you might instead think I really should be doing this. Taking time for me is important, and when I’m relaxed and satisfied I will be able to do a better job on that project I promised someone else. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to do something I enjoy.
Try to do this every time a negative thought creeps in. The more often you banish negative ideas from your mind, the easier positive thinking will become. You will be more relaxed and receptive to positive solutions.
Do Some Reps
When developing a positive mindset, the importance of repetition cannot be understated. Exercise is the key to building any muscle, so by viewing your optimistic outlook as a muscle, you can develop a reserve of happiness that will carry you through the most grueling events.
This is not to say you shouldn’t worry about anything. Ignoring troubling events won’t make them go away. It’s important to face your problems while looking at them through a positive lens. The positive mindset itself doesn’t erase your troubles. It is simply a tool to allow you to find a solution without burning yourself out through stress and anxiety. You will find it far easier to solve problems when you can step back and look at the situation in a positive light; and often the solution will present itself with little effort, simply because your mind is clear and open enough to notice it.
The more you practice positive thinking, the more naturally it will come to you. You will find that frustrating everyday occurrences dwindle to minor nuisances, and eventually cease to trouble you altogether. Keep practicing positive thought processes, and you will be well on your way to a low-stress, high-energy lifestyle that will allow you to accomplish anything you desire.
Cool-Down: Feel the Burn
As you come to the end of your daily positive thinking workout, look back and reflect on your progress. Was there anything that seemed easier to you? Were you able to find a faster solution to a problem that would have ordinarily eaten up a lot of time in worrying? Do you feel more relaxed and ready to try again tomorrow?
Congratulate yourself on your victories. By reinforcing your accomplishments, you help to firm the foundation of your new positive mindset and lay the groundwork for your success. Every positive thought brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal. You will soon realize that you can do this, and you will have much greater enthusiasm as you proceed.
So start the New Year with the commitment to keep positive thinking a primary goal and all of the rest of your desires will be easier to accomplish.
Happiness Always, Susan
Best Selling Author, of
Creating Balance in a World of Stress
Cobwebs of the Mind
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