Your ability to be happy and successful in life is directly related to your ability to control your own thinking. Research has shown that typically we have over 60,000 thoughts per day. Our thoughts create our lives as we go and define who we are. There is nothing that you do in life that has not been preceded by a thought. Science (quantum physics specifically) has proven that your thoughts create your reality; something spiritual teachings have been saying as truth for hundreds of years.
Your 60,000+ thoughts each day, therefore, are creating your life as you go along. Many people allow their mind to just think without thinking about what they are thinking about. Does that sound like you? It is very easy to do. So easy, in fact, that most people go through their entire lives simply allowing their minds to meander without purpose, thinking all sorts of unedited and unsupervised thoughts. This unsupervised thinking mind can get us into all sorts of trouble, or with a little guidance and education, can turn our lives from misery to ecstasy instantaneously.
The first step to gaining a positive mental attitude is awareness. Simply become aware of your thoughts instead of allowing your mind to do its own thing. Listen to the voice in your head and take note of the types of thoughts that you have. Pretend that your thoughts are your best friend and listen to what your friend is saying to you all day, every day. Does your best friend support you totally and absolutely? Does she have sympathy for you when you make mistakes? Does she have patience? Does she know how to have fun or is she only a taskmaster? Does your best friend condemn you incessantly?
To become happy and successful you need to think as if you are the most patient, compassionate, and supportive friend that you have. Your thoughts need to be based on non-judgmental self-love. If you find that you are not having thoughts that are patient, compassionate, and supportive towards yourself, then the next step is to clean house.
Getting rid of habitual negative thinking is easier than you can imagine. After all, you have total and complete control over the process. One of the easiest ways to start eliminating negative thinking is to first become aware of those thoughts that are negative, and then to stop your thoughts mid-stream and change them into positive thoughts. For example: “I’ll never get that raise. This company hates me.” This thought is actually two negative thoughts; one about your ability to get a raise, and one about your company and how it may or may not feel about you. If you believe that your thoughts create your reality then you can quickly see how your future is laid out before you - it is unlikely that you will ever get a raise because you have already decided that your company hates you. Whether or not you believe these thoughts, you must start to change them to change your life. So, next time you start to think, “I’ll never get that raise.” Change it instead to something like, “I am an excellent employee and I know that I am going to be paid fairly for my efforts” As for your thoughts about your company, change them to, “My company appreciates me.”
At first, it may feel like a falsehood to you because your mind has convinced you that it knows the truth. But keep this thought in mind: The truth is what you make it. If you really want to be broke and constantly looking for a new and better job, then keep thinking negatively. If you want more money, to be appreciated, and paid fairly, then you first have to start with yourself, with your thinking.
Another great way to start eradicating habitual negative thinking is to use affirmations. Affirmations are simply positive statements said in the present tense. An example of a positive, present tense affirmation is, “I am a great employee.”
One of the most effective techniques that I have personally employed to reverse a life-long habit of negative thinking is to tie affirmations to flooding. Flooding is a training technique, often used on animals, and entails continually subjecting yourself to a new way of thinking. I committed to using flooding with affirmations for 28 days, and within only a few days, had very good results. Each day upon awakening, I would start with silent affirmations. With each breath out, I would say an affirmation that I made up on the spot. “I am beautiful.” “I am creative.” “I am capable of anything.” “I have good friends.” “I am compassionate.” “I am trustworthy.” I just made them up. As the day went on, whenever I would find my mind wandering to negative thinking, or just thinking about something that wasn’t valuable or directly related to my life, I would start in again with the affirmations.
Another aspect of flooding that I used involved reading inspirational books or articles every day. Whatever you may be interested in, find the best, most positive authors on the subject, and read at least 10 pages each day. For instance, if you are interested in making more money, start reading some of Napoleon Hill’s books, such as Think and Grow Rich. If you want to learn how to harness the power of The Secret, try The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer. If you want to improve your diet or exercise, search for inspiring stories, books, or role models that you can learn from.
Changing your habitual thinking will require a concerted effort on your part, but it won’t take nearly as long as you think if you make a promise to change and employ some of my suggestions. There are also many books available on positive thinking. Go to Amazon.com and simply search for “positive thinking.” Changing from a negative mindset to a positive one will have far-reaching effects on your life, all good. So, good luck!
By: Anne West, Ph.D.
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