Positive Thinking. A brief perspective by Anthony Roberts

I was delighted to be asked to write articles for the HuddleHub, I trust if you choose to read my articles that you will find interesting pieces of information to take from them, to enhance your life in some way.
My first recollection of positive thinking is as a child and hearing people saying the affirmation “Every day in every way I'm going to be ……….” Now there were variations in the ending of the affirmation from person to person, but the intention was that there was going to be improvements in the person’s way of being.  Positive thinking can be extremely useful and resulting in increased confidence, improving levels of happiness, getting more rewards out of life, advantageous changes in the body’s chemistry and improvements in general wellbeing, there has been a whole field of research that has sprung up around this called positive psychology (see Maslow, Seligman, Csikszentmihalyi).
Positive thinking can get you performing at your best, besides the preparation training and commitment, the key to being a top athlete is the use of positive thinking alongside visualising themselves excelling at what they do, additional techniques can also be used to have the athlete at their mental peak to compete depending on the individual needs.
So, it all looks pretty rosy you might think, though it can produce positive results as the name suggests there can be times where the effects are limited, if you choose to say an affirmation to yourself that you do not believe, this will generally cause little of no improvement in being more positive about your life or it could even leave you looking on a less positive view of yourself, as the affirmation could be setting up an internal conflict with your beliefs about yourself, if this is the case change the way you feel about the affirmations, make the affirmation so that it sounds more woolly, An example of this would be instead of saying “I am a loveable person”, you could use “I’m open to the possibility that one day I might surprise myself by noticing that I am a lovable person”, with the second option it is more likely that the mind will find this much easier to accept rather than rejecting what doesn’t seem true.
Our language can also hugely influence our levels of positivity, the language we use with other people and the way we communicate with ourselves is very powerful, there is plenty of research out there on how it effects our health and mood, I could write a whole article on this alone, which I may well decide to do at a later date.
Sometimes positive thinking is not the answer, if you imaging walking across Morecambe Bay and feeling that you are becoming stuck in the sands, it’s not the time to think, I am on a sandy beach with sunny blue skies and the world is a beautiful place, nor is it the time for imagining you can simply levitate above the sands. It is a time for you to take action like shouting for help, phoning 999 for the coastguard and keeping calm and still till help is at hand.
There is a view held by some that just imagining having something will work, as if by magic the universe will provide this from some magical cosmic Amazon store, this is typically not the case and if you spend your life sat on the sofa wishing for what you want, it is unlikely to happen, unless it is to be sat on a sofa.  Having positive goals can be motivating, inspirational and life changing, the key thing about the brain is it allows us to imagine having our goals now, and envisioning all steps in-between now at getting what we want, also be realistic, if you want to be a vet, there is a good chance that you will be disappointed if you expect to achieve this by the next day, I tended to do this when allocating time to assembling flat pack furniture, now I allow a more realistic time scale to complete this task, so make sure you allow yourself what would be a reasonable time to achieve things, a rule of thumb is to ask yourself how long would it take a complete novice to achieve what you want.
Alas, achieving the positive things that you wish for may not bring you happiness. So before embarking on your journey consider what you will gain, as well as what things you may lose, or what other changes will happen in your life whilst achieving this.  I do know some people that think positively about stuff happening and it does, in these cases I’ve noticed that it has become an automatic active process for them, with their behaviours and intensions in complete alignment with what they want to happen.
Yes, use positive thinking, as it can begin the process of you starting to flourish, experiment with some of the tips below. So, you do it in a way that works for you!
Tips to boost positively
  1. When using affirmations, construct them in a way that they sound believable to you.
  2. Find affirmations that feel comfortable for you to repeat. A good resource is Louise Hay
  3. Experiment making a couple of changes to your language to see how this changes things, this could be for example using the word “want” instead of “have to” or “should”, and replace the word “but” with the word “and” whenever possible.
  4. Learn to set your goals in an achievable way
  5. Imagine someone else who would do something confidently and positively that you would like to do in the same way, then imagine vividly yourself doing it in the exact same way that they would, then just take all that would be beneficial to you from you experiencing this
  6. Remember that its ok to be flexible and make modifications to what you might discover to be more positive for you as you go along
  7. Put your focus and attention on positive emotions and the many positives in your life, deal with any negatives as soon as they become apparent, if this is something you have the ability to change
  8. Make a conscious choice to respond positively in situations that you would have responded negatively to in the past (allow yourself to step back from things for a moment)
  9. Build more positive relationships, simply by listening to people, then check that you understand what the message is that they are communicating to you, this will help to enhance relationships
  10. Recall to yourself before falling asleep only all the positive things that have happened during the entirety of the day
  11. Imagine what positive things you would like to do during the day, on awakening no matter how small
  12. Be kind to yourself and others as it can make life extremely fulfilling
Anthony Roberts - Trainer, Therapist, Coach and Counsellor

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