Just how powerful is positive thinking?

Just how powerful is positive thinking?

We’ve all heard the old sayings like, ‘Think positive and positive things will happen,’ or ‘If you can dream it, you can DO it!’, but does positive thinking really work? Can it actually change your life?

I think the first thing to consider when it comes to understanding the power of positive thinking, is understanding that the only thing you have control over in your life, is the way you perceive a circumstance or an event.

A lot of people tend to use negative self-talk like, I’m not good enough or I’m not worthy, or they start to blame external events or their circumstances, but the harsh reality is, that you can actually train yourself to have patterns of more positive thinking.

Being able to think positively when tough circumstances arise, or things happen that aren’t necessarily a positive experience, means you can use your thought processes to find what I call the silver lining in those experiences, turn a negative into a positive, and turn adversity into advantage.

Can we train our brain to think negative thoughts?

Your conscious thoughts occupy about 5% of your mind, so that means there’s 95% of your mind that’s actually unconscious. And we don’t realize that when we start to have thoughts about a particular thing, that we end up attracting that, because we’re focusing our energy flow on it.

Here’s an example – if you’ve had a breakup from a relationship, have you noticed every single loving couple around you, or started to hear all the sad, romantic songs out there?

Or imagine that you’re going to buy a particular brand of car and then suddenly, you see that car everywhere!

Weird right? So if you’re constantly thinking things like, I don’t have enough money, Nothing’s good enough, I’m so unlucky! If bad things are going to happen, they’re going to happen to me! , even unconsciously, then that’s what you’re going to start to attract. It’s known as a confirmation bias – you start to look for the negative things that confirm your internal negative thoughts so, essentially, you start manifesting that.

You don’t do it on a conscious level. For example, you’re driving to work, and you’ve noticed all the red traffic lights, but you will probably miss all the green lights, so your mind tells you that you’ve had a crappy drive to work, which is a negative thought. And that thinking means you’re more likely to see that come to fruition.

We talk about cause and effect, where a certain action or thought will cause another thing to happen, but we can actually control that. If we position ourselves to tune in to the positive thoughts, then it’s easier think our way to positive situations, because you’re going to see more positivity by default.

What are some tips for creating positive thoughts and energy?

  • Where focus goes, energy flows, so try to catch yourself every time you think or say something negative. How can you reframe it so it becomes a positive statement or thought?
  • Pay attention to your emotions and notice what you feel when you’re around the people in your life. Be aware of what emotions they bring out in you. Is a workmate making you feel negative because they have a negative energy? Are you getting irritated because of a behaviour or habit they have?
  • A great way to interrupt frustrations or negative thinking is to close your eyes and focus on a memory that relaxes you and makes you feel good, while tuning out the sounds or thoughts annoying you and making you feel negative.
  • Try putting some earphones in and listening to some relaxing music.
  • Start being more mindful and using your senses as a mechanism to help you become more present in the moment – you actually can’t be depressed or upset when you’re being mindful!
  • Focus on your senses – touch, taste, smell, sight, sound. Your sight occupies about 80% of your sensory input, so try closing your eyes and focusing on your other senses.
  • Try thinking about something you want to achieve in the next 12 months or think about a past event or person who’s made you happy.
  • Think about your pet or a memory that makes you smile because when you smile, it does actually activate different hormones in your brain.
  • Answer a phone call while smiling. People can hear you smiling and it can make the conversation more positive.
  • Look for the silver linings in a situation. If, for example, you get a lot of red lights or traffic on the way to work, don’t think about what a crappy run you’re having, reframe it and think about the extra five minutes you’ve gained to listen to your favourite song one more time!