Change Your Thinking Change Your Life

If your life is tough, a drag of daily burden with a boring, unfulfilling job and family not much more inspiring, take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if you could be at least a part of the problem.
It turns out, you could be the entire problem, not that you’re a bad person, or one whom fate has singled out for failure, but you could be someone who has fallen into negative thinking habits that have brought you where you are today. Don’t scoff. It’s that simple, but it’s not that easy to change the way you think.
Can it really be so simple that changing how you think about things can change your fortune? Is this some new-age woo-woo magic? Well, spiritualists have been telling us for centuries that we attract the lives we’re living by how we think and by the choices we therefore make. It’s easy to ignore the words of philosophers who lived hundreds of years ago, but current-day scientists are now confirming that what we think about and how we think of things can cehange the current realities we experience.

Positive Thinking and the Law of Attraction

For some non-scientific, but easy reading on this try Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn (Hampton Roads, 2000) and Ask and it is Given by Jerry and Esther Hicks (Hay House, 2004). A bit tougher, but more scientific is The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton(Hay House, 2005).

These books explain the how and why of the ways thinking can change reality. Regardless of the how and why, other scientists are measuring whether this actually works in practical everyday life. The answer is a resounding yes. The scientists of the new field of Positive Psychology—the study of human well-being—are delving deeply into human behavior, especially how to be happy.

In his ground-breaking book, A Primer in Positive Psychology (Oxford Press, 2006), Christopher Petersen, PhD, says, “…optimism has demonstrable benefits, and pessimism has drawbacks.” He goes on to say, “…optimism…has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to perseverance and effective problem solving; to academic, athletic, military, occupational, and political success; to popularity; to good health; and even to long life and freedom from trauma.”

Positive Attitude is the Way to Happiness

Fellow researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky’s recent book, The How of Happiness (Penguin Press, 2007), provides valuable and usable to anyone seeking to become happier. Lyubomirsky provides a plethora of easily implemented suggestions for becoming happier by engaging in simple exercises and activities that involve more positive ways to think and behave.

How to Become a Positive Thinker

Positive thinkers are not pollyannaish, seeing only the good in everything around them. Positive thinkers recognize both positive and negative aspects of life. Positive thinkers are sad at times, frustrated, angry, and anxious.

What sets a positive attitude apart is that the positive thinker refuses to dwell on negativity. There’s a time for anger and a time for grief, but life goes on until it doesn’t and there’s no need to ruminate over the past. Christopher Peterson advises that a positive attitude can be learned. Pessimism is a habit, says Peterson, and habits can be changed. Peterson advises using this process to become a positive thinker.

  • When faced with a pessimistic thought about a life event, first evaluate the evidence. What are the facts—not the fears—but the facts?
  • Think of alternate explanations that might also account for the event.
  • Don’t settle for expectations that the worst outcome will result. Consider all the positive outcomes that can result.
  • Adopt a daily affirmation such as this: When faced with a negative thought I immediately evaluate the facts and think of positive alternatives.

Habituating a Positive Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude and approach to life is powerful, attractive, and healthy. Becoming a more positive person is a matter of conscious attention to your thoughts and behaviors. Over time, new, positive ways of thinking will become habitual.

Sources: Image courtesy Flikr user Brian Hillegas, CC license

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