ouldn't it be great if you could control how you handle certain situations? What if I told you that you could and that it's relatively simple to do? It is all about what you say to yourself in those certain situations that determines how you feel and how you move forward. It would be beneficial to read my previous post on internal dialogue before you read this if you haven’t already done so.
What is positive thinking?
Positive thinking is about looking at any given situation (no matter how challenging) and finding the things which are positive. Sometimes it is not easy to see the positive perspective straight away and this is because any negative emotions need to be processed properly first. See my post on How to processing negative emotions where I show you a method for doing this. Once the negative emotions have been dealt with properly you will find it much easier to see the positive which will arise out of the situation.
Take the 20 second positive thinking test
Slide to the left or click
If you said 'nothing', 'no flowers' or 'no gerberas' on the blank image, this is the equivalent of negative thinking. Negative thinking is not always bad, it just doesn't give you as many opportunities as does when you think positively. What you could choose to see on that last slide is 'an abundance of white' or 'a blank canvas' or a 'new beginning without boundaries'.
Once you can understand how having an abundance of white or a blank canvas can be the starting point for something positive, having no gerberas becomes less important and your focus changes on the possibilities of growth and not the negative feelings related to loss i.e. there not being any flowers.
Although in this example there are no strong feelings associated with it, it does however illustrate a simple and important process of changing your thinking. This kind of thought process forms the basis of all positive thinking so when you master this, you then have a starting point for mastering anything.
How to change your thinking
One question you can ask yourself in a challenging situation is:
“What is it about this situation - that I haven’t noticed - that when I do, will make me start to feel better?”
The perfect example for when this question can really help you out is when you have missed a bus or train or your plans have been delayed.
After you have done all you can to arrange the new plans, ask yourself this question and you will start to notice a shift in how you feel. Remember opportunities are everywhere.
Some useful re-phrases
Thought: I can’t do it
Re-phrased: I can’t do it…yet, because…
Thought: I've had a bad day at work:
Re-phrased: Today wasn't so good, next time that happens I’ll make sure that I...
Thought: I hate it when I'm late for work:
Re-phrased: I've got to work safely however tomorrow I'm going to be more prepared by...
Thought: I'm sad because my cat died:
Re-phrased: I was sad because my cat died and if I get another one I'll improve how I bring it up by...
Thought: That’s impossible
Re-phrased: That’s impossible with my current way of thinking, what do I need to know or learn or practice in order that I can do it?
Thought: I'm scared that moving house is going to be too big a change:
Re-phrased: When I do decide to move house, I'll make sure that I find familiar things so I'll be comfortable
Your beliefs determine where you expend your energy
If you look at all the thoughts in the examples above you’ll notice that they are all something which the person thinking them actually believes are true. If you believe that you can’t do something you will not waste any excess energy trying to accomplish it.
You are what you believe you are.
So by changing what you say to yourself you are effectively giving yourself chance to change your beliefs and when you change your beliefs you change what you can accomplish.
If you are ready to accomplish something magnificent then have a read of how to set goals in a way which will ensure you achieve them in this post on how to set goal so that you reach them.
Becoming the ultimate positive thinker
If you want to get really good at positive thinking, all it takes is a little regular practice and now you know how to do it, you can start applying this to every situation you find yourself in. Happiness is a product of what you think of so keep thinking around the issue until you find happiness (or the positive) within it.