We want positive events and circumstances in our lives. So why is it that we don’t always get them?
The Power of Thought
Our minds are computers which we have programmed. Sometimes our prog
ramming is deliberate, but most often, we’ve programmed our minds through our thought patterns — those streams of conversation that take place in our heads to which we pay little or no attention.
We take in data of all sorts. We take in what others tell us from a very early age, analyze it, and create files, sort of like a filing cabinet. We store data so that we can make sense of things that go on around us.
Here’s the problem. A large portion of the data that we process is negative, or interpreted that way.
Think about this: from a very early age, we are told, “no.” “Don’t do that,” “Not a good idea,” etc. We’re told this by parents and other adults who try to protect us from harm, an
d while the intention may be good, it starts to condition us early on to accept negative programming. We then continue to accept it throughout life, often without even realizing it, unless we make a concerted effort to change how negative words influence us.
In the article, “The Most Dangerous Word in the World,” by Andrew Newb
erg, M.D., and Mark Waldman; (Psychology Today, 8/1/12), the authors suggest that we process negative and positive events and words differently. They state that negative words have a profoundly greater destructive effect on a person than positive words have in producing positive effects. Negative words expressed with passion can trigger stress chemicals that take a toll on a person both psychologically and physiologically.
They go on to say that negative thinking is self-perpetuating and can be difficult to stop. Humans seem to have a propensity to worry, and it might just be hardwired in us from a time when we associated distinctly negative events with threats to our very survival.
Interestingly, the brain reacts differently to positive thinking. While we can overcome negative thoughts with positive ones, our minds respond with less vigor to good thou
ghts. One of the founders of “Positive Psychology,” Barbara Frederickson found that for each negative expression, we would need to generate at least 3 positive ones to combat the effects of the negative one.
With this in mind, is there any doubt as to the power of thought, and why we need to consciously work on reprogramming them to benefit us?
How Do We Begin to Reprogram and Make Positive Thinking Habitual?
We begin by listening to our self-chatter, and catching ourselves when realize we are generating negative thoughts. We can then consciously redirect our thoughts. But…
Ponder this: If we want to redirect from negative thinking to positive thinking and we “catch” ourselves thinking negative thoughts, aren’t we giving attention to the negative thoughts?
Obviously, the answer is yes. However, many people go through life paying no attention to their self talk and the negative thoughts perpetuate.
Tony Robbins, international professional speaker and motivator focusing on manifesting a positive life, wholly believes in mind power. He says, “As soon as I start to get stressed, I kill that monster while it’s little…I don’t wait until it’s Godzilla eating the city, and my life….” Tony Robbins believes that reprogramming your mind [consciously eliminating the negative and focusing on positive] is part of taking an active approach in designing the life that you want.
Catching yourself in a negative stream of thought enables you to make a conscious decision to redirect; produce a positive thought, focus on it, repeat it at least 5 times, and do it with as much positive emotion as you can muster. The positive emotions help to counteract the “threatening” forces of negative influences.
Want to read more on how to reprogram your negative self-talk focusing on positive thinking? Check out the book by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.: What to Say When You Talk To Yourself,
or the book by Jennifer Rothschild,Me, Myself and Lies: What You Say When You Talk To Yourself. Both books are great reads and can really help you redirect thought in positive ways.
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