Thinking more positively is one of the most valuable things a person can do to improve their life. When you think more positively, you feel better emotionally which in turns makes you feel more confident about taking positive actions to bring about better results in your life. Researchers have consistently found that people with high self esteem think more positively than people with low self esteem.
What You Do When Something Happens In Life (The Start Of The Thinking Cycle)
When something happens you automatically ask yourself, “What does this mean?” You want to work out if it is a good thing or a bad thing in your life. As human beings we tend to categorise things that happen positively or negatively, rather than merely neutrally.
If you think the thing that has happened is positive, then you experience a positive emotion and will generally take more positive steps towards creating a more positive outcome.
If you think the thing that has happened is negative, then you experience negative emotions. This makes it more difficult for you to take the steps needed towards creating a positive outcome and can often result in people doing nothing and thinking, “What’s the use?”
You will get better outcomes if you can turn your negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
How Do You Turn Negative Thoughts Into Positive Thoughts?
There are three easy steps to turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
- Identify the thought as a negative thought. Sounds obvious, but it is more easily said than done. It requires you to be constantly monitoring your thoughts and asking yourself whether the thought you are having is helpful or unhelpful.
- Challenge the negative thought. This is done by asking yourself a challenge question such as:
- Is this thought really true?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen and what would I do if it did?
- Is this thought helpful to me?
- What would I tell someone else in this situation?
- How many times have I had this thought before and how many times has the bad thing happened?
- Is there another way I could look at this?
- What is something good that could come out of this?
- What can I learn from this so I do better next time?
- Is this an unhelpful generalisation?
- Substitute a helpful thought instead. A helpful thought is one that helps you to find a solution to your problem or to feel better about where you find yourself and to believe you can find a positive outcome from the situation. Helpful thoughts are those that help you identify a solution to your problem or work your way forward positively.
And as trite as it sounds, by doing this you really can begin to live a different life. As you will be thinking differently; you will be feeling differently. As you are feeling differently, you will be acting differently. As you are taking different actions, you will be getting different and better results. Challenging negative thinking and turning it into positive thinking can quite literally turn your world around.