Breaking the Bad Habit of Negative Thinking
article by Jerry Lopper
Positive thinking--being optimistic and hopeful--is a habit anyone can adopt with some practice. Why might you want to do so? A positive attitude and optimistic thinking are healthy. The power of positive thinking is that hopeful, optimistic people are healthier, live longer, and report greater satisfaction with life than those who might be labeled pessimistic.
Positive Thinking and Reality
Positive thinking is not ignoring reality. Bad things happen to positive and negative people alike (though Law of Attraction advocates may disagree). The difference is that positive thinkers tend to look for the best in a situation. That doesn't mean they ignore the negative
event, just that they accept it and look for ways to make things more positive.
Positive thinkers believe that good things abound, that opportunities exist aplenty, and that the majority of people are positive and well-meaning.
Breaking the Bad Habit
If your habit until now has been to think negatively, to expect the worst in situations, and to be cynical about life in general, ask yourself if this way of thinking is bringing you happiness. If not, perhaps it's time to explore a new way of thinking--positive thinking.
As with any life change, it's critical that you are committed and ready to make the change. Changing an habitual life process is no small feat. It will take your full commitment along with the support and help of others.
Positive Thinking Suggestions
Once you've decided to think more positively, the following steps will help you re-focus your thinking. Expect some set-backs. Habitual behavior is hard to change, but it can change with effort, commitment, and practice.
1. Declare your intent to think positively. Intention is very powerful, even more so when declared publicly. But at the least, write down your intention. Get it on paper in strong, direct language. This is not the time to be tentative.
2. Tell one or two friends of your intention and ask for their support. Don't tell anyone unless they are positive and supportive themselves.
3. This positive affirmation may help you get started: I am an optimistic, hopeful, positive thinking person. I accept that bad things may happen in my life, but I look for positive opportunities in the midst of anything negative.
4. Research the literature for benefits of positive thinking. Knowing that it is good for you will help reinforce your commitment. Suggested sources: PsychologyToday.com, WebMD.com, and the books Authentic Happiness and Learned Optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman.
5. When some negative thinking occurs, examine all the facts you know. Be clear about what is fact and what is fear, what is known and what is assumed. If you find you've jumped to a negative conclusion to the facts you know, ask yourself what other situations might fit the same facts?
6. At the end of each day, reflect on the positives of the day. What went right and why? Rather than focusing on what went wrong, focus instead on what you learned.
Become very aware of your thinking. Notice when you think positively and congratulate yourself. Also notice when you think negatively and convert your thoughts to a more positive view.
7. At the end of the day repeat this affirmation: I am an optimistic, hopeful, positive thinking person.
8. Before going to sleep, reflect upon what you're looking forward to the next day.
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