It is well known by now that positive thoughts have a positive impact on our health and well-being. Positive thoughts create optimism and hope and allow focusing on a solution rather than the problem more easily. Positive thoughts promote relaxation and internal peace, which creates the environment for a healthy body.
Our bodies are meant to be healthy and have the natural ability to do so. Stress in whichever form either through external sources, e.g., work, family, finances or internal sources in the form of unresolved negative emotions, create an imbalance in the physical body. A body out of balance is much more prone to diseases.
It is beneficial to have positive thoughts and many leaders in the field of self-growth are talking about it. However, I often find something missing in the way it is being taught. Attempting to monitor the quality of your thoughts 24/7 can be quite challenging if you are trained like many to focus your thoughts predominantly in a negative, worrisome way. I tried it and it was not only exhausting but frustrating. I was getting mad at myself not being able to focus my thoughts in a positive way all the time. In addition to what was going on in my life, I was beating up on myself for not being able to shift my thinking.
Redirecting your thoughts in a more positive way does require some conscious practice but it doesn’t have to be a battle. There is a tremendous difference between forcing or pretending to have positive thoughts and having positive thoughts more naturally and effortlessly.
Some of my clients have asked me “I have been using affirmations for a long time, they don’t seem to work!” Affirmations CAN work really well, don’t get me wrong. Frequently there is simply a missing link that keeps them from working. If those affirmative words don’t ring true while you think or say them they can’t work or only for a limited time unless you have the endurance to keep repeating them forever…which I don’t!
You can have a big influence on your health and well-being and shift to be a more optimistic person quite easily. But there is something to be aware of.
All thoughts create feelings. Authentic positive thoughts usually create positive feelings or sensations in the body, whereas negative thoughts create negative feelings. You cannot have a negative thought and a positive feeling at the same time.
If you are in a safe place and don’t have to focus on something that requires your full attention try this: Close your eyes for a moment and think about a positive experience. As you do focus on how it makes you feel. Notice the physical sensations in your body.
Now, focus your thoughts on something not so pleasant, maybe a car cutting in front of you on the highway on your way to work this morning. Notice how your body feels when you focus your attention on these thoughts. Become aware of the difference in your feelings in correlation to the quality of your thoughts. Which thought feels better?
Now, tell yourself “I am a great, worthwhile, lovable person.” That’s a nice positive thought in itself, isn’t it? When you think or say this thought with your eyes closed notice how your body responds. Does this statement feel correct? Do you get a warm, fuzzy feeling “yeah, that is right” or does it seem rather artificial and fake, maybe even frightening? If this self-statement gives you a good feeling congratulate yourself because you are amongst the minority of people who believe it. If not don’t worry you are not alone! You just need to add another step in order to get there.
Frequently, the missing step in the creation of a positive, hopeful attitude is leaving the emotions out of the equation. As I mentioned earlier every negative, self-defeating statement causes one to feel bad. Feeling bad usually creates more negative thoughts and thus more negative emotions. Once in a really bad mood it can be rather challenging to find something positive to think about. Negative feelings tend to be much stronger than the power of the conscious, logical mind trying to overwrite them with a positive self-statement.
Attending to the feelings first with the intention of releasing and healing negative, painful ones allows positive thoughts to rise more naturally. I teach my clients various, simple releasing techniques they can even use at home after their session. Once FEELING better, the tendency to focus our thoughts more positively occurs automatically and more effortlessly. The mind and body are connected through thoughts and feelings. In order to successfully make lasting changes it is important to work with both aspects.
The body is a good indicator of the quality of one’s thoughts and believes. Just stop occasionally during the day and ask yourself how you are feeling. Then notice what has been going on in your day or in your life. This in itself might be a challenge because many of us either didn’t learn or have untrained themselves from body awareness. However, simply noticing how you are feeling can be much easier than trying to monitor thoughts. Our bodies are wise. They tell us. We just need to learn to listen.
If you would like more information or help in shifting your life in a more positive direction and reaching your individual goals more easily please feel free to call my office in Palo Alto, CA at (650)996-9911. I am here to help.