Positive thinking is a thought process that helps you make the most of your potential. Anyone can learn to do it. It enables you to achieve the improbable and eliminates the nagging fear of failure that can be such a drawback to getting what you want from life.
Of course, positive thinking is not a magic formula–it does not ensure that you will win a gold medal at the Olympics, nor does it guarantee you success at the office. But it does greatly increase your chances. After all, there are few successful people in the world who set out believing that they are going to fail.
You can use positive thinking to help you achieve what you want in virtually any situation–on the tennis court, at exam time or at work. Several techniques can be learned, but it takes time and practice to master them. The key is perseverance.
The workings of the mind are often compared to the structure of an iceberg, in that beneath consciousness lies the hidden but immense power of the subconscious.
While you, via your conscious mind, may be determined to achieve a particular goal, strong, negative thoughts stemming from the depths of your subconscious can easily override your willpower and prevent you from achieving your objective.
Positive thinking techniques can be applied in numerous situations. As well as giving you the confidence to succeed where you might once have failed, they can be used to overcome anxiety and minor depression. Start by choosing a technique that suits you–it’s best not to get too carried away by attempting all the techniques at the same time.
The positive thinking techniques outlined in this article reach into, and reprogram, the subconscious with a positive outlook that works with, rather than against, your conscious will.
1. Affirmations – Affirmations are a good starting point. These are short, motivating phrases that you say to yourself at the same time each day–perhaps first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Affirmations were pioneered by French psychotherapist Emile Coue’ at in the 1920′s. His most famous affirmation was: “Every day, in every way, I am becoming better and better.” (You can get a copy of Coue’s formula on How to Practice Conscious Autosuggestion by placing your first name and email address in the sign-up box in the right margin.)
You can make up your own affirmation, but keep it short and to the point. And always make an affirmation as positive as you can–”I am…” not “I want to be…” Examples of affirmations include: “I am determined to succeed at…” and “I am caring and kind.”
2. Visualization and Triggers – Visualization techniques require you to use your imagination. They are often used by athletes who, before a race, concentrate on “seeing” themselves breaking the winning tape.
Picture yourself achieving whatever it is you want. Imagine how you will feel and how you will behave after you have achieved. Hold onto that image and those feelings for as long as you need or until you have accomplished what you want.
Physical triggers are another technique. Watch a professional tennis star during a match and you will invariably see a clenched fist after a good shot. What the play is actually doing is creating a physical trigger that is linked in the subconscious mind to the good shot. The maneuver reinforces self-belief.
You can invent your own trigger, such as squeezing your forefinger and thumb together, whenever you achieve something positive. Repeat the trigger when you are down and recall the memory of those positive feelings to give yourself a psychological boost.
3. Build on the Good Thoughts, Change the Bad – Everybody has good and bad thoughts and it’s important to separate the two. If you don’t, negative thoughts can taint or overwhelm the positive ones so that everything seems bad.
If you are unhappy at work, for example, list all the good aspects of your job on one sheet of paper and all the bad on another. Then focus on the good points. After this, analyze the negative list and think about how the problems can be resolved. If you tackle problems with a positive mind, resolving or coming to terms with them won’t seem such an impossible task.