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There is Power in Positive Thinking

With any New Year, many of us will reflect on the past year and decide to make positive changes in our behavior or make decisions about what we want out of life. It is somewhat ironic that we are ready to stop the habits that we know make us feel bad, but then we have no control or willpower to make those changes. Many of us have good intentions, but we don’t seem to follow through.

Many of my friends say, “I’m going to stop smoking this year”, or, “I’m going to lose some weight and exercise more”. Why don’t we follow through with the lifestyle changes that we know inside we want to achieve? Let’s look at this and some ways that we can set the process into motion that will assist us in achieving our goals.

The nature of this article will deal with many of the aspects of positive attitude. Positive attitude is one of the steps that can help us to fulfill our dreams and desires and potentially help us do what we truly want to do.

Researchers in the medical and psychological fields are demonstrating that our level of optimism is a major determining factor in our level of wellness. For most people a positive attitude doesn’t happen all at once, but rather it happens in degrees and is subtle. Because life is full of changes out of our control, it is our attitudes that determine how we will react and feel about ourselves.

We must learn how to be optimistic. Learning to be optimistic means learning habits that involve positive thinking. In the book The Complete Guide To Your Emotions And Your Health by Emrika Padus and the editors of Prevention Magazine, it is stated that negative thinking is a learned response. Six common negative distortions are exaggerating, ignoring the positive, personalizing, either/or thinking, over-generalizing, and jumping to conclusions.

Cognitive thinking is a skill building process. With time, effort, and commitment anyone can replace negative thinking with new habit patterns of constructive and positive thinking.

Here are a few suggestions. Choose an area of your life that you want to change and begin to pay attention to how you think of it. Ask yourself how realistic are your beliefs. Set modest and immediate goals for changing your habits. Reward yourself for successful changes you experience. Seek out optimistic people for fellowship. Have fun. Ask for your family and friends support. Be flexible and don’t let setbacks guilt you out.

Setting positive goals is also a powerful method of building positive attitude and raising self-esteem. Here are a few guidelines to help you achieve your goals. State the goal in positive terms and avoid negative words in this statement. For example “I enjoy eating healthy low calorie nutritious food” instead of “I will not eat sugar or other fattening foods.”

Make your goals attainable and realistic. Be specific. Clearly define your goals and the more likely they will become reality. State your goals in the present tense, not the future. It is important to believe that you have already attained your goal. An old proverb sates, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Creative visualization is the next step in this process. Positive imagery has been heavily researched in the field of natural healing. Dr. Charles Garfield, a psychologist who has done research in this area, discusses the power of positive visualization in detail in the book Peak Performance. One of his key findings is that almost all world-class athletes and other peak performers employ visualization. They see their goal, they feel it, and they identify with it so strongly emotionally that they actually experience it before they do it. It all begins in the mind’s eye.

The secret of change is to focus your energy – not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

I hope this has given you some insights into how you can achieve your New Years resolutions. Good luck and good health in the New Year.

Article by herbalist Dave Hawkins, MH, CNC

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