Positive thinking, if well-managed, makes us stronger against mood disorders. Depression has many causes. However, thoughts about low self esteem, of being unworthy, or not being good enough play an important role in depression. With positive thinking, you can change your thought process. This way, you can make it work in your favor and not against.
Thinking, as a rule, is a confident statement of one’s perception of truth. Repetition of this kind of truth in the form of positive thinking has helped thousands of people make significant changes in their lives. However, the effects aren’t the same for everyone. So, why can one person benefit from an internal dialogue full of positive affirmation while the other person can’t?
Well, positive thinking may work because of its ability to motivate, encourage, and even set our mind to work on a particular idea. It doesn’t matter if there’s no reality behind the idea. The important thing is that the person treats it as a natural reality. The mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real or fantasy. That’s what happens when you watch a movie and start laughing or crying. The mind identifies with the characters on the screen and reacts based on the story.
“An affirmation is really anything you say or think. A lot of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn’t create good experiences for us. We have to retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns if we want to change our lives.”
5 steps to make positive thinking more effective and powerful
If a negative belief is deeply rooted in our subconscious, it has the ability to set aside many of our positive thoughts, even though we aren’t aware of it. This is the reason why, for many people, positive affirmation doesn’t seem to work. What happens is that their negative thought patterns are so strong that they even clash with those positive ones. They’re being set aside with emotional baggage.
The good news is that we can make positive thinking work and make us overcome too much negative thinking. For this, psychotherapist Ronald Alexander suggests the following steps:
- Make a list of what you think are your negative qualities. Include any criticism that others have made about you. Don’t judge whether it’s true or not. We all have flaws, and that is what makes us human. Simply take note of everything you can think of and look for a commonality: “I’m worthy” or whatever it is you think about yourself. Then write the recurring belief observe if you’re feeling it anywhere in your body. For example, when you feel injustice or fear, do you feel it in your heart or stomach?
- Write a statement about the positive side of your self-judgment. You can even use synonyms to use more powerful words to reinforce this statement. For example, instead of saying: “I’m worthy”, you could say: “I’m important and appreciated”. After writing your positive statement, ask someone you trust to read it to see if they have any suggestions to make it more powerful.
- Recite the positive statement aloud for about five minutes, thrice a day: in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. Repeat the positive statement to yourself in front of the mirror. You can look at yourself while you repeat the positive statement. Another way is to write the affirmative statement several times in a notebook. Make an observation of the changes in your writing style over time. This may indicate mindset change.
- Feel the positive statement in your body. Do it again while placing your hand in the area where you felt sad when you wrote the negative belief in step one. Also, “breathe in” the positive statement while you’re saying it or writing it down. By re-programming your mind, you want to make it a reality.
- Have someone you trust repeat your positive statement. Find someone you are comfortable with or use your reflection in the mirror to act as someone who will reinforce the good message.
Identify your negative thinking by meditation
Positive statements can be powerful tools to help you change your outlook and can be a means of support for the change you want to make. Also, remember that they’re most effective when you identify your negative thoughts first.
Self-awareness meditation is a very effective method, helping you discover subconscious thought patterns. It allows you to categorize the things that are good for you. The practice of self-awareness doesn’t seek an immediate change. It seeks to find the power and capacity to accept who we are so that we can make a change and move towards what is achievable.