Practicing Positive Thinking
“I wish i could be more like my friend, always happy and successful”
“If only i had more money, i know i would be so much happier and popular”
We all have negative thoughts like this from time to time, some of us may think like this more frequently then we realise.
Throughout the day we are constantly thinking. Our conscious mind is the part of the brain that is alert and is responsible for our perceptions and feelings in the moment of awareness. Closely allied to this is the unconscious mind, which consists of our automatic thought processes which are therefore not available to introspection - self observation of thought.
Each and every one of us has an internal dialogue that plays over and over in our minds everyday of our lives. This dialogue, what we say to ourselves, alongside all the sensory information and feedback is an important part of our conscious way of thinking.
Our thoughts frame our lives and how we react to situations and circumstances that we meet.
All to often we feed our thoughts with negativity, this constant way of thinking forms a repetitive negative thought pattern which becomes embedded in our unconscious mind and leads to a negative sense of self, we then start to believe that our negative thoughts are real , the truth - thus creating negative belief systems.
We tend to remember and replay negative thoughts , feelings and events more so then positive ones. How often have you found yourself reliving a negative conversation or interaction you had with someone, dwelling on it, picking it apart, playing it over and over in your mind? This type of thinking provokes feelings of anger, fear and guilt inside of us, generally leaving you experiencing a bad day.
As a coach, part of the therapeutic process involves looking deeper into a persons thought processes, and identifying any negative patterns of thinking that could be the root cause of their daily stress and anxiety. If often brings about a welcoming relief to my clients when we analyse their way of thinking and discover that the patterns that have built over a life time can in fact be changed with practice of a few simple techniques.
One of the techniques that i would suggest is the use of daily Affirmations.
What is an Affirmation
An affirmation, put simply, is a short powerful statement that can be repeated over and over in your mind - you can say it out loud, or think it. ( if your going to say it out loud, best to chose an appropriate place to do so!) .
The main aim of using positive affirmations, if used frequently, is for you to reinforce positive thoughts, as opposed to the negative ones, and in time these thoughts will become the new default.
You will be creating new, positive pathways of thinking that will in time help you to cope with situations and react in a positive manner no matter what life throws at you.
How to create an Affirmation
The easiest and simplest way to create your own Affirmation is to do just that, keep it easy and simple. Something you will easily remember at will. You can, of course write your affirmations down on a piece of paper, in fact i would recommend that this is what you do initially, that way you can use the written information as a visual reminder of what it is you want to achieve.
Some examples of what language you may use for your affirmations, and new way of thinking :
“ I will feel more confident everyday "
“I am becoming more and more aware of my skills”
“ I welcome happiness and joy in my life”
“ I can feel more relaxed”
The above are just a few examples of what you may use, of course the list is endless and must be personal to YOU, however its important to NOT use words that will contradict what you are aiming to achieve.
Avoid using negative or insinuated words such as :
“ I wish i had more money”
“ I am going to succeed overnight”
“ I should always be happy”
To “ Affirm” something you are enforcing its truth, and that is what you are doing with this simple exercise.
For best results aim to practice as often as possible, the more you do this, the better.
I suggest to aim for 5 minutes, three times a day - Morning , Noon and Night, which are realistic time frames. You could say your affirmations to yourself whilst getting ready for work in the morning, over breakfast, during your lunch break and last thing at night. It only takes a few minutes and so can really be done at any time that is convenient to you.
You can even incorporate affirmations into relaxation exercises. During relaxation your brain is more receptive, relaxation increases its ability to remember information, therefore if you use an affirmation when you are totally relaxed it is more likely to become embedded and form a memory. Further information about relaxation , affirmations and practical use can be found within my stress management programme.
I used affirmations myself last night, as i needed a reminder of a certain direction in my life. I too have written them down and have them by my bed, so at night, just before i go to sleep i can go over, and over them.
Give it a try, what do you have to lose ? I would love your feedback on the exercise so please do comment and subscribe below.
Harriet Piercy MAC, S.A.C.Dip. ( Life Skills Coaching - Advanced), S.A.C Dip. (Anatomy & Physiology) ,
(Always use any relaxation exercises where it is safe to do so, not whilst driving, or operating machinery or where it could be hazardous to feel sleepy).