All over social media and on the bookshelves we are bombarded with information on how to "think" more positive. Ideas and tips and techniques on how to use daily affirmations to reframing the way we think to help us live a more positive life and think more positively about ourselves.
The trouble with positive thinking your way to feel good, or feeling more empowered or inspired to achieve a goal or ambition is that no matter how many times you use a particular approach you still experience the "negative" thinking.
And that means every day you have got to "work" on being positive all the time. Always needing to adjust the lens, so you focus differently. There is no letting yourself off the hook if you want to think or feel positive all the time because those negative thoughts are never going to go away.
Now don't get me wrong, it's likely you will feel better for a while, maybe even a month, or year but sooner or later a negative thought is going sneak back into your mind and blindside you, and you will be back to thinking negatively again.
Which means you need to go back to all those tips and techniques you have been practicing for months or even years just to remind yourself how to feel good about yourself again and adjust the lens again until you are back in focus!
You might be asking yourself then, "Why do so many people say using positive affirmations and techniques like this work?"
Here's the reason why, because for a short while they do help, albeit that they don't last forever. And also, because most people do not understand the nature of mind and thought.
We are hard-wired to have thoughts and have thinking about those thoughts, both positive and negative. That's a fact; it's the psychological nature of the human mind.
To have thought and to think on thought.
No matter what, you do you cannot change that fact, you cannot stop thought, and you cannot stop thinking, nor can you change a thought. Once a thought enters your mind, it is there, and as soon as it's arrived, you are going to attach your thinking to it based on your experience.
So no matter how much positive thinking you try and do, those thoughts will still come to mind, and you will attach thinking to them, positive or otherwise.
The good news is, thoughts are transient, and only last as long as you give meaning them!
In my experience as a Transformational Coach and Hypnotherapist with over 20 years of experience working in this area; and studying the mind and peoples behaviours (including my own). What I have learned is that understanding the nature of how our mind works give us the best chance, more than "thinking positively" to move beyond our perceived limitations and live happy, fulfilling lives.
When you are grieving, you cannot possibly think positive thoughts and hope you will feel better, because all the time you think on that person or thing you have lost no amount of positive thinking will change the way you feel inside.
You are still going to feel sad when the thought of what you lost comes to mind, and you will always attach thinking to that loss, end of story. Sometimes that thinking will be negative sometimes positive. Either way, you will still have a thought of what you lost and attach your thinking to it.
However, when you understand how thought and thinking works, you can see your thoughts and thinking in a new way.
The very nature of thought is transient; thoughts are NOT permanent, they are ever-changing, and fluid and will flow throw us providing we don't do anything to block those thoughts, they will float in and out of our mind all day effortlessly. Coming and going for fleeting moments just like a stream, then meandering away all on their own volition. But when we build a damn in that stream, the water builds up and gathers in a particular area, getting stuck in places where it would have naturally just passed through.
And that's what we do with our thoughts, we grab on to them and build damns with our thinking until the thoughts can no longer pass through naturally all on their own. We add all kinds of meaning to that thought, in the same way as a dam gathers sticks, stones and all sorts of rubbish that would have naturally passed downstream had the damn not been there in the first place.
So in fact, the very effort of attempting to "think positively" out of a situation is no different to building a dam. You still have the negative thought front and center of the mind; the only difference is that now it's gathered some stuff to make it feel a bit better, to soothe you for a while.
The moment you stop gathering the positive affirmations, they will eventually get washed away again by the stream of thought that comes through your mind day to day, hour by hour and moment by moment and you find yourself needing to build another damn.
All this is such hard work!
There is a much simpler way, and that's to acknowledge that it is the nature of our mind to float thoughts into our consciousness, both positive and negative and it's our nature as creators to add meaning to them with our thinking. It is also in the capacity of our mind for all those thoughts and thinking to just float away on their own if we don't get too tempted to start building damns.
You don't need to work hard at this, through the use of positive thinking, or anything else for that matter, because our mind can handle this all on its own.
All we need ever do is to acknowledge that it is the nature of our mind to float thoughts into our mind, both positive and negative and it's our nature as creators to add meaning to them with our thinking as a result of our filters and experiences of life. But it is also in the capacity of our mind to allow all those thoughts and thinking to just float away on their own if we don't get too tempted to add meaning to them.
So many people come to me as a Coach & Hypnotherapist asking for me to help them re-programme their minds so as they can think and feel more positive, but Transformational Coaching and Hypnotherapy cannot do that for anyone, no matter what some coaches and hypnotherapists out there may promise!
Transformational Coaching and Hypnotherapy is purely a gateway through which you can step and learn to deepen the understanding of your mind and so you can see how your thoughts and your thinking are showing up in your life. Through Transformational Coaching and Hypnotherapy, you learn to start viewing your life through the projector of your mind as opposed to the lens through which you would typically focus your attention.
If you want to experience deep happiness, well-being and peace of mind, learning to master the projector is key.
The real trouble with positive affirmations and reframing your thoughts or any other fancy techniques for that matter is that all they do is enable you to adjust your focus for a short while to help you build a few dams, that will eventually wash away without a whole load of continuous maintenance.
Instead of using positive affirmations, or reframing techniques to think your way positively through life, take a little time just to notice how when you leave your thoughts alone they all just float away of their own accord!
Get a feel, for what it's like to be in the projector of your mind, instead of being the photographer and having to adjust your lens of focus all the time to get a better picture of your life.