Updated: Nov 23, 2020
Have you ever been full steam into a BMW (Bitch, Moan, Whine) session concentrating on all that is wrong in your life when someone stopped you in your tracks with a suggestion that you needed an attitude adjustment and maybe a more positive attitude? Although it may have angered you at that moment, did it leave an impression or perhaps a nudge?
I find it fascinating that neuroscience actually shows that negative emotions stick to the brain while positive emotions tend to slide off more easily. However, once the positive emotional circuit is developed, it is actually stronger and more powerful than negative emotional mindsets. Research shows that positive people are happier, healthier, and make more money, but the challenge lies in developing the intention and focus that it takes to fill our heads with positive thoughts and emotions.
Positive thinking requires daily practice. With constant conversation going on in our head, we sometimes forget that we are only dealing with a thought – and thoughts can be changed! Do you let your inner Chatterbox scold you with thoughts such as, “Your life is a mess!” “You can’t get organized!” You will never feel good!” “You are hopeless!”? Remember that it is only your internal chatterbox speaking and you can outtalk it!! If you find it difficult to believe that you can choose your thoughts, consider how often you have refused to think a positive thought about yourself. Then consider that you could refuse to think a negative thought about yourself in the same way. Once again, positive thinking requires daily practice. Spend some time everyday focusing on the elimination of negativity from your thinking. For some, that means not watching the news or reading the newspaper. For others, it means meditation or prayer. Perhaps journaling or writing letters of forgiveness is your choice. It may be that repeating affirmations or complimenting yourself on good things you are doing such as exercise or eating healthy is helpful. Spending time concentrating on gratitude statements is an effective choice for many. Building the habits of positive thinking gives you a power boost to handle whatever life gives you – even pain, loss, and disappointment. With positive thinking as a habit, you will know that you can lead a meaningful, productive life regardless of external circumstances. This is a shift from what is called external locus of control, where one feels that external situations control their life, to internal locus of control with a belief that one can control their life. It has been shown that people with a high internal locus of control have a better handle on their behavior and a greater likelihood of being successful.
Yes, when we are wallowing in the pits, it can be irritating to hear someone say, “Think positively!” Frankly, we all have times when making that shift is tough work. At any given time, we have just that particular moment to choose what we think. If we have been faithful to daily practice of positive thoughts, the choice will serve us well.