If you want to feel better and have a better life you just have to practice positive thinking, right?
While it’s true that positive thoughts can create positive feelings, you might have already guessed, there’s more to it.
One of the things I often hear when it comes to positive thinking, is to practice a positive thought until you believe it.
If this has worked for you, great! But if you have tried it and based on your failed attempts decided positive thinking was simply not for you, keep reading.
The problem with positive thinking that no one tells you about, is that if you don’t believe the positive thought your brain will start argue with it and possibly reject it all together.
For example you might dread doing a certain task but want to try some positive thinking, so you start thinking: “I love doing this task. I love doing this task. I love doing this task.”
If your brain doesn’t believe this new thought, it will start arguing with it. It will probably suggest you don’t love it. Your brain might even present you with evidence for why you don’t love it.
Now, your thoughts will start bouncing back and forth: “I love doing this task”… “no, I don’t”…”I love doing this task”…”no, I don’t”. It becomes a battle with no winner.
So what should you do?
There are two ways to solve this.
- Come up with another thought that is more neutral and that you believe in e.g. “I don’t like doing this task is just a thought that I’m thinking” or “I don’t like doing this task and that’s ok”. (It doesn’t mean you won’t do it.)
- Come up with another thought that will serve as a small step towards the thought you want to believe in. You can do this by adding words like:
I’m learning to…
I’m open to the possibility that…
It’s possible that…
I’m becoming a person who…
For example, your new thought could be: “I’m learning to love this task” or “I’m open to the possibility that eventually I will start to love this task”.
Make sure the thought feels right and that you believe in it. If not, find another thought. Then, start practice thinking it.