Sunday, January 20, 2013

Optimism (How I Stopped Listening to Myself and Got on With Success!)

Henry Ford once wrote "Don't find fault, find a remedy". Applied to ourselves, it might be stated as; Stop being pessimistic and be more optimistic! But how exactly does one go about being more optimistic when you're lying in bed at 3:30 in the morning assaulted by the problems you face? Telling yourself that "I'm going to be more optimistic" about such and such a situation just doesn't seem to work at times like these. The old "power of positive thought" is a pep talk that no longer carries weight and was little use to me. So if I can't talk myself into being positive without my mind drifting back into problems what was I (and possibly you) to do?
Stop talking negatively to ourselves. What is needed is an interruption to the flow of negative thoughts that run through our mind without restraint. However, to do this we must first be aware that they (our thoughts) are negative in the first place. Price Pritchett, author of "Hard Optimism: How to succeed in a world where positive wins" states "probably 70 percent of your negative thoughts slip past without your consciously perceiving them as being negative". So recognizing negative thinking when it occurs becomes the first exercise that we need in place. And the earlier the better as Pritchett states, "It's far easier to protect against negativity in its early stages than to overcome it successfully later on". This was originally an "a-ha" moment to my thinking, "I'll catch my mind talking myself down and out and that will be that", mistakenly thinking that now that it was something I was "aware" of, that would be the end of it. Not so, I soon discovered that negative conversations that I had stopped came back to life minutes, sometimes seconds later! This was and is, definitely going to be more work that I had originally thought.
All bad habits take work to get rid of, and this was going to be no different. The seed had been planted though, and I began regularly catching myself in a negative dialogue and ceasing it when it began popping up. In effect I was replacing a 'bad habit' with a good one. This effort must be relentlessly carried out if we're to allow room for constructive thinking. And this is just the beginning in dealing with a problem that can hold us back from a more creative, happier life. Put this first step into practice and you'll find that the body responds as well. No longer tensed up over difficult situations or people, it is more relaxed and unworried, avoiding the effects of stress and giving our mind the opportunity to entertain solutions to our problems. To start your path to a more optimistic life I recommend " Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life" by Martin E. P. Seligman. You can also enter the following phrase in your favorite search engine; recognizing negative thought patterns.
Now is the time to put an end to that "negative Nellie" haunting your thoughts. You spend more time talking to yourself than anyone else, so stop beating yourself up with pessimistic thoughts and make room for optimism in your life.
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