Tag Archives: positive thinking

creating a more positive image

“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life,it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
― Robert T. Kiyosaki

SONY DSC

What do you believe about yourself?   Do you believe that you are the total sum of what others have said about you?   Did you believe the teachers, parents, relatives, friends or others that said, “You are ___________”?

Most people believe what others say about them and then build their internal story to match what the outside world has told them they should be or what they shouldn’t be.  Teachers may have told you that “you’ll never amount to __________” and left an indelible mark on your story.   You may have believed that “I won’t be able to live my dreams.”   That story became your life.  Others may have influenced you as well and killed your biggest dream.   Think about it for a few minutes.  What did others say you were going to be or do in life?   What story do you still carry around with you?

The story becomes a belief, the mask hides the true self from the authentic self and life becomes less than what it could really be.    There are three key beliefs that impact your personal image.

1. Personal.  The belief that what you hear is true and that is the truth about who you are.   With enough repetition there is a shift in some people to a mode of helplessness.

2. Pervasive.    The idea that all external messages are pointed to you and are negative.   That all negative things are in a sense apply to all things, as in “everything is bad.”

3. Permanent.  It’s not that things are bad, things are going to get worse.   The tide of woe is only going to grow and there is no hope at all.

One way to improve your self-image is to look at the things you do control and the things you don’t control.   Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center.  On the left write “control” and the right write “don’t control”.   Write down all the things you do control and then write down all the things you don’t control.   You can manage what you do control.   Leave what you can’t control behind.

Listen to Professor Seligman describe the state of psychology here:

Advertisements

positivity for greater success

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it”
— Stevie Wonder

SONY DSC

What would it mean to you to improve your mental outlook?   What would it mean to feel better, have fewer headaches, fewer pains and aches, and less stress?   It is all available to you by changing your thoughts.  Change your thoughts and you change your emotions.   

Your thoughts produce your emotions.   It may take a few minutes to think about that so do just that, think about what that means.  Let’s say something happens outside of your control, like a rock hits your windshield as your driving down the road.  “Smack” … it’s loud, and for a second you may not know what has happened.   The car is still moving forward and you are trying to figure out what has happened.  You brain is in overdrive.  The adrenaline is rushing out through the body.   Flight-Fight-Freeze, which action are you going to take.   Your brain wants you to do something but you don’t know what that something is.    Now you see a crack on the window starting to form … and now you’re wondering what the cause was.  What is it that you are saying?   What words are you using and what thoughts do you have?   The more you think perhaps the angrier you get, or maybe you’re thankful that it wasn’t worse.   You’re thinking about what happened and generating emotions of relief, anger or something different.

What if we thought positive thoughts rather than negative ones, what do you think would happen?  Well, you’d start feeling better.   A bad day could become a great day.  Whatever it is you’re making a conscious choice to feel or be something.

Listen to Barbara Fredrickson explain how to generate positive emotions.

the subtle difference

“Humans are fragile.  Mistakes are guaranteed.  Our concentration is always shifting.  There’s no reason, except that this is the natural constitution of the mind.”  Sean Foley (Tiger Woods golf coach)

Tiger Woods

The difference between winning and losing is small.   The physical skills to master the game are well practiced, the data is analyzed, the numbers studied and it turns out the key factor may be the psychological attitude.   The mind.  The skills may be tweaked to maximize every opportunity but the mind can be the adversary that can’t be conquered by numbers alone.

Small changes in brain patterns can mean the difference between achieving your goal or not.    Think about your attitude when you are trying to do something important.  What  do you notice about your own internal self-talk?    Do you have a sense of excitement or a sense of dread?

Your mental framework does matter.  It matters everyday.   How you start your day and how you finish your day matters.   If you start your day with complaints, irritations (such as slow traffic),  or anxiety you’ll find that your timing if off, your words aren’t clear, your patience low and your tension high.

Find a way to shift the negative postures to positive ones.  Relax, reframe and re-engage in the world.   You’ll find that with a more positive outlook that pains will go away, tension will fade, your smile will be genuine, your word kinder and supportive and your results will be larger.

The subtle difference is in how you think and what you think.   A small change in your psychology can make the difference in the day.   Find time to be grateful in the midst of disappointment.  Find the time to say “Thank-you”.   Find the time to smile.   Find the time to say a kind word.   As you shift your attitude towards the positive so will your day shift to the positive.

Shift your brain patterns so that you are thinking and doing more positive things.   Think about the possibilities.  Think about the opportunities.  Think about making your life better.

Notice what the subtle difference can do for you here:

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
― Ashley Smith

energy factors

“The sage produces without possessing, acts without expectations, and accomplishes without abiding in her accomplishments. It is precisely because she does not abide in them that they never leave her.”
― Lao Tzu

B

Our brain influences more powerfully with negative messages. Have you noticed those days when your energy levels just seem to be depleted? What makes one day significantly different from any other day? What engages you so that you have energy?

Your thoughts play a big part in how much energy you have and how  you feel.   The good part is that you can change your thoughts at any time.   You’ve already done this before, you’ve turned a lot of negative energy (anger) into neutral energy in a second.    In flash you can go from angry to kind and kind to angry.     You can go from being filled with energy to feeling totally drained.   What changed?

Bad news.   Someone conveys bad news to you and suddenly a sense of fear or loss stirs within you.  Just before that you were energized, happy and motivated and in an instant it drained away.

Would it be a true statement to say that all of your negative feelings, lack of energy is self-generated?    Your energy (or lack thereof) doesn’t come from the circumstances you face, but rather to the attention you give the circumstances and judge as good or bad, favorable or unfavorable.

You have the ability to tap into your positive energy by noticing that you have within you a capacity for empathy, exploration, innovation, direction and action.   Putting a focus on each of those five elements enables you to build internal energy.

The first step to reducing energy zapping moments is to acknowledge those moments.   This isn’t a time to judge the event.   It is a time to notice the event and looking at it without a filter of being either good or bad, just notice it as an event.   “this event took place and I feel ____________”.

When you focus on the event with judgement it clouds your ability to look for opportunity in the event.   In other words it narrows the focus to a point where all the energy is focused on one thing … “you”.    Depending on the state of mind you are in that high focus could be negative or positive energy.   The likelihood of having a negative feeling is far greater than having a positive one.

To activate the positive, consider approaching the negative circumstances you experience in a new way.   Consider treating yourself with a dose of empathy.   Look for new ways to interpret your feelings.   Develop a new story, a story that has the ability to energize you.   Look for the opportunity in the situation.  Turn the energy into positive action.     Do something creative with your energy.

To take this topic a bit further listen to Chamine Shirzad explain the concepts of Positive Intelligence.   Find something you can do today to implement a part of PI in your life.

find self-compassion

“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”  Tara Brach

You spill the cup of coffee you just brewed and it splashes over your clothing leaving a nice brown stain.    What are you saying to yourself?

What do you say to yourself when you don’t meet your expectations, when you are late, when you say something you shouldn’t, when you forget an important meeting, when you oversleep or when you get a speeding ticket? What are you telling yourself?

Many people find that their message to themselves upon any unmet expectation is filled with insults and derision that would never be heard by someone else.   People become their own worst enemy and call themselves names that only reduce their ability to succeed.   Some people believe telling themselves that they are “not good enough” as a way to motivate themselves to better results and often it only yields more of that same message … “you’re not good enough”.   Before long that becomes their internal truth and all they do by yelling at themselves is provide confirmation that they aren’t living up to the world’s standards or their own.    If they are “not good enough” then that means people around them aren’t good enough either and it sours those relationships as well.

What do you tell yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations?

What if you could tell yourself a different message?    You can.   New research is being done in the area of self-compassion.    It might be worth reading about or learning more about.   Practicing self-compassion just means that things can go wrong and that it is OK.

You can change what you tell yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned.   Instead of beating yourself up, try this just say it to yourself:

“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of my life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.”  (From Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff)

Just repeat those lines and practice it for a week.   See if you can notice a difference.   Go ahead every time you are ready to condemn yourself say those lines above instead.

To hear more about self-compassion listen to this video:

 

What I think I become …

“A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.” -Mahatma Gandhi

 

Values, beliefs and experiences drive our thoughts.   What we think about we become.  Our thoughts are transformed into emotional energy, fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, or happiness, peace, joy, confidence, self-assurance, and contentment which ultimately shapes how we live our lives.  Most people experience far more negative information in their lives than positive.   The messages that are received from others begin to transform our beliefs about ourselves over time.   Messages that we receive as children enter our mind in the formative years and become a strong part of our story.   It is not that the story is true, it is that we believe that the story is true for us and we start living in that story rather than the story of our own making.   In other words for some reason we focus on the impacts of negative thoughts more so than positive thoughts.  It is as if we are taught to believe negative thought as being true and positive thought as wishful thinking.   Martin Seligman writes “Frequent and intense negative thoughts about the past are the raw material that blocks the emotions of contentment and satisfaction, and these thoughts make serenity and peace impossible.”

What can one do in order to shift the thoughts that drive emotions so that there is more positive thinking being done?  

  1. Focus on positive events in life and  opportunities to be grateful.
  2. Forgive the people in the past that may have strongly influenced the negative thought patterns.

Positive emotions lead to better health, both physical and mentally according to research done by Sarah Pressman.  

Positive thinking leads to positive emotions which increases the overall satisfaction with life.   Who wouldn’t want more of that?

What can you do when a negative feeling or thought comes screeching at you?

  1. Take a deep breath.  Acknowledge the emotion (“I feel …. “)
  2. Shift the energy of that emotion.   (This is mental Aikido …) and gently push the emotion to a different place.  
  3. Replace the thought with something better,  a favorite vacation, sunset, something admirable, peaceful, enjoyable and inner smile event.
  4. Take another deep breath.

Read the words of David Whyte and see what message is trying to convey.   We are often trapped, bombarded by information, and most of it is negative information, sensationalized news, stories that are all designed to pull us into believing everything in the world is negative.   Negative information sells and is profitable but it is not the world of truth, it is only a speck of truth in the total amount of information that is available.   Sometimes it is the negative news that provides momentary relief from personal suffering that people seek.  However a constant bath of negative information soon becomes the truth about the world and about the self and it takes more depressing negative news to feel just a tiny bit better.   

Surround yourself with positive news, positive thoughts and positive people and you’ll start feeling better about whom you are, and what you can accomplish.  It turns out that the more positive things you bring into your life the better your life becomes.  

Loaves and Fishes

This is not
the age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.

People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.

  — David Whyte
      from The House of Belonging
     ©1996 Many Rivers Press

messages to myself

“We are what we imagine ourselves to be.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

What messages are you sending to yourself?

Where are you putting your thought energy?

How are your thoughts serving you today?

For many people they are stuck in their thoughts.   Their thoughts instead of leading them to accomplish great things drain them of the energy they need to move forward in life.

Think about how you thoughts control your emotions.   How do you feel when you think poorly of yourself?

What if you changed one thought today, just one, to something more positive and more beneficial for you?

Change a thought “I don’t have ….”, to “I desire to have …”.
Take the old negative pattern and replace it with a positive image of what you do want and focus on it for a day.   Shift your thinking patterns from worry to problem solving.

After creating a place for positive thoughts, thoughts that direct your life to positive outcomes, you will start to produce the results you desire.

A good place to start would be to turn off the TV, turn off the radio, stop reading the newspaper and any other source of information that is not building up your character.    Eliminate some of the negative information smog in your life and start the day with something that inspires your imagination.

Napoleon Hill wrote, “First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”    What a great place to start.