Does thinking positively really have any benefits? Can the power of the human mind have control over your health, attitude, or emotions. Psychologists have begun studying the affect that positive thinking can have on an individual ever since the advent of positive psychology in the late 90’s. Whereas the concept of positive thinking was largely left to self-help gurus in the past, rigorous psychological and psychiatric studies are being conducted on positive thinking.
Positive thinking is an attitude cultivated within the mind that only allows thoughts, words, and images that are conducive to growth, expansion and success. Positive thinking tries to eliminate the negative self-talk that most people experience on a daily basis. Instead, a positive mind anticipates health, success, joy, and happiness in every situation. What we are beginning to see is that what the mind expects, it finds. Why not expect happiness?
Some people scoff at the idea of positive thinking. At first glance, you can understand their position. Blind belief in positive thinking without any positive action to back it up sounds suspiciously like a “miracle pill” for happiness. If that’s only what positive thinking entailed, I’d have to agree. However, positive thinking allows for a whole range of positive outcomes that are directly related to taking a positive outlook on life.
For example, lets imagine that you are being interviewed for a new job. You are sure you’re not going to be hired and on the day of the interview you got up late. As you were rushing around to get ready for the interview, you didn’t have time to eat breakfast and you realised the shirt you were going to wear was dirty. Your only other shirt option was very wrinkled, but what else could you do? You leave your house harried and dishevelled.
Upon arriving at the interview you are tense and display a negative attitude. You’re sure you’re not going to get the job, so why does it matter, right? You’re hungry because you didn’t have time to eat in the morning which results in you being distracted and giving an overall poor impression at the interview. Sure enough, you end up not getting the job, thus fulfilling your negative prophecy.
What would this scenario have looked like if you were thinking positively? Lets say you spent the week visualising doing well in the interview. On the day of the interview you wake up early and make sure you take care of everything you need to do to feel good before you arrive at the office. You are confident that you will get the job and that confidence carries over into how you conduct yourself at the interview. You give an overall good first impression and you end up getting the job.
There is no magic or huge difference, other than mental state, between these two examples. Thinking positively will indirectly affect a whole slew of characteristics and actions that will engender greater success in your life.
If you are interested in tapping into this source of power, there are some things you can do to improve your capability. Like nearly everything else, taking the time to practice this skill is key. Unfortunately, positive thinking cannot be turned on like a light switch. It requires you to slowly replace negative attitudes and thoughts with more positive alternatives.
At first, try focusing on just very minor negative thoughts and attitudes. If you find yourself being annoyed by something, try to become aware of that and replace the negative thoughts with something more positive. The more you do this the more you will become conscious of how you’re thinking and when negative thoughts are entering your mind. Gradually, begin to work on larger negative thoughts and attitudes that pervade other areas of your life. With practice you will learn to replace the negativity with a more positive outlook.
Written by Karen Bell