This is the first post in my Sunday Series about Positive Thinking.
In this first post I am going to outline the perfect conditions for the positive thinking habit to work. I am also going to suggest conditions that might not be ideal to this method and why. I am going to give you advice and guidelines about how to make it work for you and what you need to do if it doesn’t work.
When it comes to positive thinking, you basically fall into one of four categories;
- Natural positive thinker (you probably love to read a daily positive affirmation to get your day started) you were pretty much born and bred that way so you most likely do not need to learn my method of positive thinking.
- Negative thinker – most of the time, easily believe negative comments, you don’t easily accept compliments, positive comments are not easily believed for you. You are a perfect candidate to practise my method of positive thinking
- Anxious thinker with panic attacks – this can be brought under control by practising positive thinking. My method of positive thinking will work for you but it will take longer. You must think about when you are anxious the most, what your negative thoughts really are instead of just letting them happen, ask yourself if your negative thoughts are even realistic. How can everyone in a room of strangers dislike you when they don’t even know you? What is the worst that can happen?
- Irrational thinker – psychosis, chemically imbalanced and other major mental health issues creates an irrational thinker. If you are not able to be calm and think positive even when you are by yourself, racing thoughts it will be very difficult for you to convince yourself of any positive thinking. You may require medication to balance your emotional system, if you are not on any. Once it is in check you will be able to think more clearly and positively. In the meantime though, you can certainly try it, there is no time like the present! It is never to soon to try thinking positive.
There is so much more to it than telling someone to think positive. Anyone can read or say a positive thought, however you have to believe it and practise it to make it work and it doesn’t happen overnight. If you have a Severe Anxiety Disorder, if you can’t control your thoughts, out of touch with reality, uncontrollable mood swings it will be very difficult for you to just lay back and think positive.
First things first…
Before I get in to the method I used to change my thinking, I am quickly going to tell you why it works for me now but it never would have worked for me over 25 years ago when I was untreated for a chemical imbalance.
These days I am still chemically imbalanced but I am on medication and it is under control. I have been practising positive thinking for more than 15 years and it works wonders. If I had tried this when I was in my worst emotional state, when my chemical imbalance first happened and the two years of trying to get it under control, there is no way in hell positive thinking would have worked. My emotional state was such that I could no longer tell what was real and what was in my mind. I would walk by a TV during the evening news. If there was a tragedy in the news, I thought I caused the tragedy. If someone was killed I thought I did it. Didn’t matter that there was no way I could have. I would be driving to work and all of a sudden uncontrollable urges would come over me and I would not be able to stop myself from feeling like I was going to drive off the road and commit suicide. In reality I did not want to kill myself, but I couldn’t control it. The urges would stop just in the nick of time. I didn’t know what was happening to me. There is no way in hell during these two years, I would have been able to lay back and convince myself that I was a good person, or that I was loved when I was feeling like I was out of control. Once I was on medication I kept getting better, but it took a long time. I didn’t start my self-help, positive thinking for five or 10 years after that. I wish I had started sooner. I wish I had known about the positive thinking thing in high shool, even in grade school.
How do we start changing the way we think? There are lots of daily affirmations and quotes that you can say but it does take more than that. You have to believe what you are telling yourself. It takes more than reading a quote once a day to make you think differently about yourself.
Okay, so here we go! Instead of trying to memorize a whole chapter or convincing ourselves we have 10 good qualities at once, we are going to start with the most simple statement…
- I am a good person
If it is not too much you can add this to your statement
- I deserve to be treated with respect, or;
- I deserve to be loved
It is up to you, you can tailor it to your thoughts, what you need to convince yourself of or just start with the above first line.
Okay, so you have said it once. Nothing. Of course not. You need to be by yourself to start this off. If you have kids, spouse, you don’t have time to yourself just go to the bathroom. Everyone has to go to the bathroom. If this has to be your quiet place have a notepad and pen or pencil handy. Not an Ipad or computer. A note pad.
Sit there, write that line once. Then read it. Read it again, this time slowly word by word. “I am a good person.” As you read the first word “I” either hug yourself, or put your hand on your heart and/or if you are in front of a mirror, look at yourself and say it again. “I” Believe you are the “I” you are talking about. Carry on with am, repeat “I am” more than once, maybe even 10 times. Get it through your head that this is about you. “I am a good person.” Repeat while touching your heart, looking in a mirror or hugging yourself. No doubt right about now, you are thinking that is silly, or if you are actually trying it, you feel silly. It is that way with anything the first few times you try it. You can either say this to yourself if you don’t want anyone to hear you, but if you can, say it out loud, as many times as you want to. Then write it out on your paper again. Continue writing it, over and over. A whole page, or more, whatever you have time for. Say it out loud if you can, while you are writing it.
It is an easy line to remember so, throughout the day, before you leave the house, standing in line at the bank, (probably saying it to yourself, not out loud!) during coffee break etc. The last thing you should do before you go to sleep, repeat that sentence, while holding your heart or hugging yourself. Repeat it more than once. You might even fall asleep while you are saying it. Say it the moment you wake up. Say it more than once. It will get easier to remember, after a while it becomes habit. After a while you begin to believe what you are telling yourself just as you use to believe all the negative stuff now. In fact you will start to think it without even knowing it. I remember when I first started using this method of positive thinking it took about a month before I suddenly realized I was feeling like “I am a good person,” without even saying it.
This is only the beginning. You can’t cure-all with one sentence, but it will get you started. Next week I will give you more positive thoughts to draw from, but you can also google positive thoughts. The thing is, it has to be believable and relatable to you. If you start trying to convince yourself, that the day is going to be perfect, or this is going to be the best day of my life, you won’t believe it and it probably won’t be true. Starting out with, “I am a good person,” is something you can easily start to believe.
In the coming weeks I will also give you guidelines on how to change the way you think about leaving the house, going to a party, every day tasks, meeting people. It truly is all in the way you/we think. You have to feel good about yourself before you can start to think other people like you.
This method is a form of self-hypnosis without actually going in to a deep, relaxed, sleep. There are lots of books on self-hypnosis as well. It might be something that you can try as well. Throughout this week, write down what really makes you anxious. What really starts your panic attacks. When do you get your first one in a day, when do you get your last one? How do you feel about yourself at this time? Do you feel like people are staring at you? Laughing at you? The thing to know is, this feeling will pass. As you breathe in, you breathe in positive thoughts, as you breathe out you are releasing the negative thoughts, the stressful thoughts and feelings. Practise daily many times.
Last but not least, if you are stuck with coming up with the perfect positive lines for your personal issue, leave a comment. I will try to help you come up with something.
Until next Sunday, think good thoughts,
I’m Frazzled Again.