Tips for Improving Positive Thinking
- The mind is typically defined as the organized totality, or system, of all mental processes or psychic activities of an individual.
- Many philosophers hold that the brain is a detector of the mind and that the mind is an inner, subjective state of consciousness.
- Philosophers have used a variety of metaphors to describe the mind, including a blank sheet, a hydraulic device with different forces operating in it, or a television switchboard.
- Attempts to understand the mind go back at least to the ancient Greeks. Plato, for example, believed that the mind acquired knowledge through virtue, independently of sense experience. Descartes and Leibniz also believed the mind gained knowledge through thinking and reasoning—or, in other words, rationalism.
- In contrast to rationalists, empiricists, such as Aristotle, John Locke, and David Hume, believe that the mind gains knowledge from experience.
- Combining both rationalism and empiricism, Kant argued that human knowledge depends on both sense experience and innate capacities of the mind.
Whatever you think about yourself is correct. Only because you create that reality by thinking about it. What you think about, you give energy to. What you give energy to, you create.
Everyone has experienced negative thinking at some point in their lives and for many, it’s a disempowering experience that continues to hinder long into their adult lives. But there are ways of improving positive thinking.
Like most things in life, improving positive thinking is a choice we can habitually train ourselves to do. Before we discuss improving positive thinking, it’s important to look at exactly what negative thinking and positive thinking is, so the nature of negative thinking is clear. Positive thinking and negative thinking are not two different things by nature. They are both different degrees of the same thing, self-esteem.
Your self-esteem is the degree of confidence you have in your own worth or abilities and the degree of self-respect you have for yourself. When someone has a negative self-image of themselves, this negatively impacts upon their level of self-esteem and self-esteem is vital for your personal development.
Research has shown that individuals with high self-esteem focus themselves on growth and improvement, whereas people with low self-esteem focus on not making mistakes throughout their life. And focusing on not making mistakes directs all your energy towards a negative cause, not a positive one.
Having low self-esteem results in negative thinking and being negatively critical of one’s own self-image, which causes one to attack themselves with more negative thinking which in turn lowers self-esteem even further. So as you can see, negative thinking creates a never ending perpetual cycle that is both the cause of the problem as well as the fuel that intensifies it further. And when one’s self-esteem is low, this leaves individuals vulnerable to other issues, such as depression.
All of these negative states of mind serve to distort one’s thinking which adds further fuel to the fire. Therefore if you are to learn to improve your self-image of yourself you must learn to think positively, and to do that you must first learn how to break the cycle of negative thinking.
The impact of your negative thinking
- Negativity creates friction – When you’re being negative, you go against the grain. When you label a life experience as bad, you immediately create negativity and friction in your life, when in reality, there is no such thing as a positive or negative life experience. Experience is just experience. It’s your state of mind and outlook on life that takes an ordinary experience and decides to label it as good or bad. Every experience is there to show you something about yourself. Your life is not divided up into good and bad much the same as the ocean is not for or against its own waves. It’s all just experience.
- Your life is everything you need – The events in your life are reflections of deeper patterns that exist beyond your normal everyday perception. All of the events in your life are there for you to grow and develop yourself. In spiritual terms, you have already selected the exact life events you need to experience in order to grow and develop spiritually. So there is no such thing as a bad event. If you think an event was a bad experience for you, that’s just because you have not yet awakened to such a level that you realize this truth. If you do not see that everything in your life, past, present and future, is there to guide and improve you, and you instead judge, blame and complain about how hard your life is based upon your own limited point of view, then you are choosing to create negativity that harms you and keeps you divided from the truth. This stops you from seeing the blessing and value in all of your life events and experiences of them.
- Each time you accept a negative state of mind as your reality you weaken yourself and create conflict with your inner self and in your outer world – People identify with their negativity as being a part of themselves and accept this picture as their self-image. If you think you ‘know’ ‘who’ you are, then you are creating a wall between what you ‘think’ you are and what you actually are. When you empty your mind of everything, all thoughts, beliefs, concepts, ideas, and images of self, and are left with complete emptiness of mind, then you are closest to not ‘who’ you are, but ‘what’ you are. Everything you ‘think’ you ‘know’ about ‘who’ you are is the false ego-self that you have been conditioned to relate to. When you are constantly relating to your self-image and accepting this as being you, you are perpetually battling against yourself by trying to identify with a self-image that isn’t event real in the first place. It’s nothing more than a illusion, or a self-made concept you have come to accept as being you.
The first part of getting rid of negativity is to get rid of your false, ego-based, negative self-image that you have come to accept as being you. When you stop thinking and seeing yourself as the illusion, you give yourself the opportunity to express your true self without being limited by what you ‘think’ you ‘know’ you are.
Don’t accept other people’s negativity
People tend to give far too much of themselves to others and insecure people with low self-esteem naturally attract insecure controlling people who are happy to step in and take advantage in their weakened state. No matter how other people may direct their negative energy towards you, whether it’s from talking about you behind your back, spreading false rumours, or subtly putting you down, you should ask yourself, “For what reason does this person feel the need to direct negative energy towards me.”
Don’t for one moment start questioning yourself and making yourself feel bad. What other people think of you is none of your business and their negativity is part of their own struggles with life, which has nothing to do with you.
When someone directs negative energy towards you, know that it’s because they are hurting inside and feel out of control with life. While they likely don’t know this themselves, returning their negativity with more negativity will not only fail to improve the situation, it will lower yourself to the same level of consciousness as them. It takes a far more aware and stronger person to rise above the negativity of others and to simply smile and move on.
One thing you are guaranteed to be surrounded with your entire life is toxic people and most of these people have no idea of the toxic effects they have on those around them because they’re not even aware of the toxic effects they have on themselves. Don’t be angry at people who direct negativity towards you. Pity them, for they are the ones most in need of help.
When faced with negative people, rather than focus on reacting to them, always focus your attention on how you choose to respond to such people. When you shift your awareness towards the energy you are presented with and not the person, it becomes clear to you the impact such people have over you. Choosing not to react to such people, keeping them at arm’s length, or walking away from them completely, when appropriate, are the choices within your control.
One of the reasons people attach to us, or impose their negativity over us the way they do, is that they are feeding off of our energy, especially when we return their negative energy with more negative energy. Some people thrive on negative energy and some people thrive on positive energy. You need to learn the motives of each person that enter your life and whether their intentions are positive or negative and if you are presented with negative energy, choose to respond to it positively if you can, or alternatively with silence. When you don’t return the negative energy people come to expect from their attack, you gain control over the situation and power over yourself.
Tips for improving positive thinking
- Change your body language – The first tip for improving positive thinking is to check your body language. Your body language influences your thoughts, attitudes and behaviours and your body has an influence over your mind as your mind does over your body. If you are slouching your body, looking down as you walk, folding your arms and closing yourself off or frowning, these all send negative signals to the brain which effects your thinking. This can affect your self-image, self-esteem, thought patterns, emotions, feelings and your confidence levels.
- Write it down – The next tip for improving positive thinking is to write those thoughts down. Putting your thoughts and feelings into words, in a diary or journal for example, helps give shape and form to what’s going on in your head. This helps you analyze your thought processes better and puts things into better perspective. When you write, you’re simultaneously using the logical part of your brain as well as the creative part of your brain. This automatically helps your logical brain come up with creative solutions to your problem and it does so naturally on auto-pilot. Writing your thoughts and feelings down is a commonly underestimated self-help trick that works incredibly well.
- Take a couple minutes to calm yourself – Improving positive thinking can be done with a moment of calm. When your mind is over-active negative thinking can increase. You can stop this in its tracks by slowing things down, breathing deeply and slowly from your diaphragm and visualize all your tensions and stresses leaving your body as you exhale, and positive bright energy entering your body as you inhale and radiating throughout your whole body. Try to clear your mind of all thoughts and if a thought does enter your mind, simply intend it to leave and gently brush it out of your awareness. It may be helpful to pick one positive affirmation and focus upon this during your breathing exercise. Within a minute or two of doing this you will have calmed your nerves and slowed your thoughts which will give you opportunity to replace your negative thinking with more positive based thinking.
- Change the nature of your thoughts – Once you have calmed yourself, now change the polarity of your thoughts. Rather than negatively think, “I am struggling to cope with this problem,” you should alter to positive thinking, “I am enjoying the challenge of finding a solution to this feedback.” No matter what event happens in your life, you will experience that event in accordance with how you tell yourself to think and feel. You create your own life experiences, no one else, and you are a direct product of all you have ever chosen to think. Put some positive energy into your thinking patterns and you will soon notice that your positive thinking creates the positive attitude that improves your self-image, belief and confidence in yourself. This will help significantly when it comes to improving positive thinking.
- Take 100% responsibility for your thoughts and feelings – Don’t blame others for how you think and feel. You are 100% responsible for all your own thoughts, emotions and feelings. Sure, people may try to influence them with their words and actions, however you have complete control over how you choose to respond to that, internally as well as externally. When you blame others for the thoughts, emotions and feelings that spring from only yourself, then you give power over your thoughts, emotions and feelings to the person you are blaming. You are telling your mind that it is not in control of itself and that this person has control over your own mind. When you do this, you program yourself with a negative mindset that will continue in a vicious cycle until you say, “No, I am in control of my own thoughts, emotions and feelings, no one else.” When you do this, you accept your problem as being a part of you, however at the same time, you program your mind to accept that it has the ability to change. Accepting 100% responsibility for everything in your life only empowers you. The more responsibility you allow others to have over you, the more disempowered you allow yourself to become. This is one of the best foundations to lay for improving positive thinking.
- Do something creative help by improving positive thinking – As we mentioned before, getting creative helps you activate parts of your brain that are good for problem solving. When you get creative, you help distract yourself from the negativity swirling around your mind for long enough to find a creative solution. Getting creative could involve writing, drawing, painting, colouring, claying, sculpturing, digital design or any other form of creating. Being creative acts like an automatic therapy for constructively releasing your negative energy and can help to elevate your mood to more positive levels.
- Take a walk – While your mind and your body language both affect your thinking, your surrounding environment does also. There can be certain things in your immediate surroundings that trigger your negative thoughts and stepping away from negative environmental triggers can be incredibly helpful. If you can get outside and walk in nature, feel the grass on your feet, walk in the woods, by the sea or anywhere green, then this has been proven by science to have a calming and healing affect upon the body and mind.
- Improving positive thinking with meditation – The science on the positive health benefits of meditation are extensive and it’s well known to have a vast range of effects upon body and mind. However I feel this one quote from Buddha puts meditation into perspective. “Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” The true value of meditation is commonly underestimated, but it’s with regular meditation that you will find a solution to many of lives challenges.
- A simple smile is an easy way of improving positive thinking – Smiling releases serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, neopeptides and other neurotransmitters into the body and brain, which all have well documented positive effects upon your health and state of mind.
- Remove negative people from your life – One of the best ways of improving positive thinking is to surround yourself with positive people. We incorporate the characteristics, traits and personalities of the people we are closest to and subconsciously copy cat parts of them into ourselves and then identify with these parts as being who we are. So naturally, if you surround yourself with negative people, you will intensify your own negativity. To help you become more positive, consider distancing or removing the negative people from your life and replacing them with more positive people. You will soon find yourself becoming more positive as a result.
- Choose to look beyond your imperfections – No one is perfect and everybody has imperfections. The successful people in life are the ones who choose to focus their attention on only the positive aspects, not the negative aspects. What you focus on breeds more of the same. Negativity creates more negativity. Positivity creates more positivity. Know that when you are focussed upon either you are creating more of the same within yourself.
- Read positive quotes daily – There is much to be said for reading and absorbing a positive quote a day. Positive quotes, much like affirmations, are excellent ways to program your mind to create a more positive reality for yourself. If you read a positive quote and your mind understands it by being able to relate to it, it then automatically accepts that quote as truth and incorporates it into itself as your reality. Choose your quotes wisely. You will become them.
Just for today, make it your goal to do all the things that help improving positive thinking.
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