Other friends are completely turned off to the practice as something that is "Pollyanna-ish" and "out of touch with the reality" of life. How about you?
You may have heard about positive thinking, but don’t really know enough about to know exactly how it works.
The psychology behind the power of positive thinking is that you’re more apt to take on life with a positive outlook and have more positive results than if you face the world negatively. That doesn’t mean that you should gloss over the obvious, but it does mean that a bad circumstance can be made much brighter than viewing them in a negative way. Tony Robbins talks about the first step being to "see things as they are--but NOT worse they are!" That's the problem with most of us--we fall into the trap of seeing things much worse than reality, and so we find it very difficult to practice positive thinking with persistence and integrity. The gap just seems too wide! But that's only perception and not reality.
Some psychologists view positive thinking as how you explain what happens in your life.
If you have an optimistic attitude, you’re more likely to explain away bad things that happen by blaming something else for the circumstance. You’re also more apt to view a negative happening as outside the norm or a temporary circumstance. Once you start seeing these as permanent and pervasive, you're sunk!
Abraham Lincoln once commented, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” When you make up your mind to approach life’s challenges with a positive attitude, you’re not ignoring the bad stuff in the world, but it does mean that you’re attempting to see the best both in people and in situations. I always suggest to my Christian clients that this is simply an application of the commandment about false witness. Try putting the best "spin" on their actions and see how that changes your perception.
Now, there are limits to positive thinking. For example, positive thinking might lead a person to take risks that he or she shouldn’t, such as investing money in a business that’s extremely risky or thinking positively that you can swim across the lake without taking into consideration the distance.
However, it is clear that thinking more positively will ensure more positive outcomes in your life. The best thing you can do is to pay attention to your self-talk and realistically assess whether it’s better to think that way – or not.
As you practice positive thinking, you’ll become more adept at culling out the positive thoughts that aren’t realistic as opposed to the thoughts that can have a positive impact on your life.
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Dr. Steve Stutz, CC is a Life Success Coach, specializing in helping clergy and professional church workers not only survive but to thrive during periods of crisis, transition, and renewal. To receive periodic personal development tips and success mindset articles, please join his e-list by visiting www.forwardpathcoaching.com