Using Positive Thinking And Self Talk To Enhance Your Life

positive-thinking Most of the time we pay little attention to the words we use when describing our self or our current situation when talking to ourselves either outwardly or inwardly. Science shows people tend to be much happier and much more successful when they are conscious of and control their self-talk.

The study of the positive effects of self talk go all the way back to the early 1900’s and the French doctor Emile Coue. He achieved great success by having his patients repeat several times a day a mantra of “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”. Coué thus developed a method which relied on the principle that any idea exclusively occupying the mind turns into reality and his patients benefited greatly by it. It later became know as the Coue Method.

Martin Seligman, in his book Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life found a direct correlation between a person’s positive outlook and their health. The more positive a person’s outlook the healthier they seemed to be. Seligman suggests that when thinking negative thoughts that we need to learn to argue with ourselves. He called it disputation – learning to dispute the negative belief. He says it’s important to realize that it is only that, a belief,  and not necessarily fact. By disputing the negative outcome it allows us to think of more positive outcomes and how to bring them about. When in a positive attitude the body and brain is more relaxed and creative.

Metacognition – Thinking About Thinking

In his book Brain Changer: How Harnessing Your Brain’s Power to Adapt Can Change Your Life David DiSalvo takes positive thinking into a more mechanistic scientific realm. He talks about the process of “metacognition” or “thinking about thinking”. He suggests we should analyze what we say to ourselves as an objective news reporter or detective would. He says the brain runs on a feed back loop. In fact feed back loops are everywhere in nature. Information is input and evaluated upon and then we act upon it. So if we have constant negative input we will most likely have negative output. Being a software developer myself we use a term called “garbage in equals garbage out”. Meaning if you put in bad data you will most likely get bad results. It appears to be the same with our mind. If we fill our subconscious with negative thoughts all day we will soon except it as fact and act accordingly. This process also works the other way as well. If we can learn to think positively about our outcomes we will except this as fact too. When we see outcomes as positive we tend to try harder, notice more options and these all lead to more successful outcomes.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

–Philippians 4:8

Steps To Take

We can start by being grateful for what we currently have. Every night before bed think about the successes you had that day. Everyone has at least one – you’re alive. As you do this process you’ll be able to think of more. Next try and watch what you say to yourself. When you catch yourself in a negative thought, pose it as a question. Is this really the only outcome? What are some more positive outcomes and how can I achieve them? If possible visualize yourself achieving this positive outcome.


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