Recent studies into how our minds work have revealed you can now be shown precisely how to think positively.
You can discover, to your delight, you have a powerful Friend just waiting and willing to help you through your life. This Friend, when asked in the right way, will be happy to make thinking positively a truly effective part of your life. Your Friend is your unconscious (or subconscious) mind. Your unconscious mind likes to support you by carrying out what it thinks you do want to achieve. It obtains this information by listening into your thoughts and internal conversations.
Unfortunately however it often hears thoughts and internal conversations like the following:- "I'm going to fail" "I'm going to panic" "I feel sick" "I feel trapped" "it could go wrong" etc. Your unconscious mind hears "I'm going to panic" so it says to itself.. "Oh - John wants to panic…fine - I know how to make John Panic - I've been successfully doing this for ages"…and before you know it you are panicking, because your unconscious mind is carrying out what it thinks you want it to do. Similarly, thinking "It could go wrong" effectively instructs your unconscious mind to think of all the ways "It could go wrong" which causes the unpleasant feelings and bodily reactions you know so well, simply because it thinks this is how you want to feel. And so on with all the above examples.
Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophesy? That is precisely what you experience because your unconscious mind reacts according to your internal thoughts and conversations, by creating the subsequent actions and feelings to fulfill your prophesy So how do you change things? Actually it is very simple and you have probably already deduced the answer, but you need to incorporate it into your daily life to make it effective.
The solution is to always think about and say what it is you do want to do or how you do want to feel. For example instead of the thoughts shown above you need to use words similar to the following:- "I will be successful" "I am calm and relaxed" "I feel fine" "I am calm and safe" "It's getting better" However, we now come to a "quirk" when we look at how your unconscious mind processes instructions which many people consider to be positive such as "I'm not going to worry" "Don't be tense" or "I'm not going to get it wrong" etc. You will notice that all these "positive" instructions actually contain a negative word – either "not" or "don't". You will also observe that each of these instructions also contain the words which may cause you a problem i.e. "going to worry" "be tense" and "going to get it wrong" so you are actually drawing your problems to the attention of your unconscious mind which is the last thing you want to do.
In addition and rather interestingly our unconscious minds do not process negative words at the first attempt. In fact when it hears "Don't be tense" the process is as follows:- It hears don't… but at that moment it doesn't know what it is it hasn't got to do … it could be anything, and it tends to disregard this word. Then your mind hears the words "be tense" which it takes as a command and you are left thinking about and becoming tense which is the total opposite of what you actually want.
Many people say to me the harder they try not to think about a particular thing, or try not to feel a particular way, the more they seem to be drawn to doing that very thing or feeling that way. You have probably noticed this yourself and you can now understand the reason for this phenomenon. So again, the solution is to rephrase your thoughts into what you do want i.e. "I will keep myself active" "I am calm and relaxed" "It will go really well" It will certainly pay you rich dividends to always think about precisely what you do want, because you will then harness the wonderful power of your friend, and make thinking positively a really effective part of your life.
Similarly, with children we should always say to them what it is we do want them to do and not what we don't want them to do. For example instead of "Don't drop it" (Crash!!)…say "Hold it firmly…instead of "Don't forget your sweater"…say "Remember your sweater" …instead of "Don't touch"…say "Keep your hands off " …and so on. How many times in a day do you hear children being told "don't do this or that"? Instead, always ask children to do what it is you do want them to do.
Parents and teachers can benefit enormously by practically applying this information because it helps children to improve their behaviour. If you still experience difficulty in thinking positively this is probably because you regularly experience in your life one or more of the following negative emotions– Anger, Sadness, Hurt, Rejection, Fear, Anxiety, Stress, Worry or Guilt. If this is the case have you ever considered just letting go of these disabling emotions, or have you thought that it is "just the way you are" and consequently it is not possible for you to change and let go?
The good news is there are a number of therapies which are able to help you to remove these unpleasant feelings. The ensuing calm, resourceful and happy states of mind will then allow you to become totally positive by using the above suggestions. So - always remember – don't don't !! - and start training your friend to always think about precisely what it is you do want and how you do want to feel. It is definitely worth the effort because this will help you to produce positive self fulfilling prophesies…and how good will this make you feel?
By John M Ellis Master Practitioner of both NLP and Time Line Therapy
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