“Most folks are about as happy as they
make up their minds to be.”
This statement has the essence of what positive thinking is all about. It is our mind which tells us whether to be positive or negative in our thinking. So if we are indulging in negative thinking, how do we change it? Changing ingrained ways of thinking is not easy and will take some sincere and systematic efforts from our side.
Three C’s approach: One approach is called the three C’s: Commitment, Control and Challenge.
Commitment Make a positive commitment to yourself, to learning, work, family, friends, nature, and other worthwhile causes. Praise yourself and others. Dream of success. Be enthusiastic.
Control Keep your mind focused on important things. Set goals and priorities for what you think and do. Visualize to practice your actions. Develop a strategy for dealing with problems. Learn to relax. Enjoy successes. Be honest with yourself.
Challenge Be courageous. Change and improve each day. Do your best and don’t look back. See learning and change as opportunities. Try new things. Consider several options. Meet new people. Ask lots of questions. Keep track of your mental and physical health. Be optimistic.
Commitment, control and challenge help build self-esteem and promote positive thinking.
Visualization: Always visualize only favorable and beneficial situations. Visual imagery has a lot of power. What we visualize helps us shape reality also in the same way i.e. as we want it!
Replace negative thoughts: Once a negative thought enters your mind, you have to be aware of it and endeavor to replace it with a constructive one. The negative thought will try again to enter your mind, and then you have to replace it again with a positive one. It is as if there are two pictures in front of you, and you choose to look at one of them and disregard the other. Persistence will eventually teach your mind to think positively and ignore negative thoughts.
A learning experience: No matter what goes wrong, we can always say “well, it’s a learning experience.” A learning experience means that it will be better next time, that it wasn’t all for nothing, that a lot of learning took place from that event or incident. And later it always makes for interesting conversation.
Letting go of the “protection” of cynicism: Negativity is, in a way, a kind of defense against things that go wrong or people that treat you badly. It is a way to fight back and probably underlies anger and fear. Letting go of negative thoughts is difficult, because it feels like you must let the other win, accept defeat, drop your weapon and lower your shield, leave yourself vulnerable and let yourself be walked on. But most of the time though, those negative thoughts are your biggest enemy. They don’t protect you really, not in the long run. In fact, they are the very means by which the upsetting events in your life get to you. Hence you need to let go of these negative feelings and thoughts first so as to emerge as a winner in the long run.
Solutions, a pleasant surprise: Usually our view of life is centered on the sense that problems demand quick solutions, and that happiness is merely a matter of finding solutions to every problem, and that one of these days we can find all the solutions, and then there will be no more problems, and then we will be happy finally. But soon you begin to realize that if you expect to find all the solutions to all your problems, you will never be happy.
When you expect to find a solution to every problem, you end up feeling very disappointed, because of course problems continually arise and solutions are not always possible. But, if you know and accept thid truth, happiness is easier to find.
Ways to Appreciate
Cultivate thoughts which stop you from taking things for granted.
Some questions that you can ask are:
– Ask myself what I would miss if anything happened. If I was suddenly relocated to the planet Mars, what would I miss?
– Ask myself what I would have thought of my good fortunes in the past when I had much less. Years ago, when I was working in a minimum wage job, I would have considered my current occupation a miracle.
– Ask myself, if I could wish on someone one of my fates, what would it be? Good health? There are so many who would appreciate that. A beautiful son? For those who are trying to bring a child into their lives and having difficulty, he’s a miracle. The list is infinite.
Practice: Positive thinking is a habit, like cursing, so it takes practice to develop. The nice dinner ruined by a rude waiter and a slow cook? It’s just another opportunity to exercise my positive thinking muscle. We’ll get the food to go, leave after an hour of good conversation, and eat our food on a bench by the beach overlooking the sea. It starts to rain. Another opportunity to exercise your positive thinking muscle. How about taking the food home, and spreading a blanket on the floor like a picnic but without bugs? The baby enters his cranky hour, and several rounds of feeding, consoling, and diapering eat away the evening. Another chance for positive thinking. Put the food in the fridge for tomorrow, something to look forward to, and bask in the fact that we’re a family. The nice thing about cranky babies is that if it gets bad enough, it’s funny. Trying to think positive, it keeps getting easier and easier until you don’t have to try so hard.
Use positive words all the time in your inner dialogues or when talking with others. Smile a little more, as this helps to think positively. Disregard any feelings of laziness or a desire to quit. If you persevere, you will transform the way your mind thinks and reap the benefits of the same.