There is some truth in most every thought, and it’s up to us to choose what thought makes the most sense based on what we desire in our lives.
“I am really bad at positive thinking (as evidenced by that statement!). Any suggestions for how to turn that around?” asked Parker on my Facebook page, Easy Willpower.
Parker’s question made me realize how challenging positive thinking can be for many of us. However, by addressing three blocks to positive thinking, you can turn around even the most stubborn and destructive thought habits. With a little more understanding, motivation and practice, you can make positive thinking (and self-hypnosis) work for you!
Block #1: Negative Thinking Feels Natural
The default for the human mind is negative—unless we consciously choose to uplift our thoughts and our consciousness. Negative thinking is just like gravity. We’re comfortable with it. But just as an airplane can defy gravity by getting tons of physical mass to fly in the air, we can learn tricks and secrets to positive thinking.
The first step to change your thinking is your motivation—do you have a strong enough desire? Often, we need to feel the pain of our old way of being before we are ready to create and accept a new, more positive belief.
Self-hypnosis is a way to tap into the incredible power of the imagination to create a new belief and a new experience of what’s possible. For example, if you’ve always seen yourself as fat and out of control around food, through self-hypnosis you can begin to experience yourself as being in control of your life and your habits, healthy, and at your ideal weight. Just as an architect must design a new home in her imagination before any actual building is erected on a plot of land, we must see ourselves in a new way, in our mind’s eye, before any real change occurs in our life.
Right now your old way of being feels natural to you. However, with practice—starting in the privacy of your own mind—you can erect a new image of yourself—happy, positive, smiling, making healthy choices, feeling confident and achieving your goals. Like any good actor knows, the key to making the unreal real is practice, practice, practice!
Block #2: Your Old Habits
Face it: Most of us are comfortable with our habits exactly as they are! Waking up and automatically brushing our teeth, showering and getting dressed makes life easy for us. Putting the car in gear, flipping on the autopilot, and arriving at our desired destination with little or no thought frees us up to turn on the radio, listen to an audio book or catch up with a friend on the phone.
In the same way, our thoughts are habits. The subconscious mind is like a computer, and it doesn’t care what program we are running. Just as a PC or Mac doesn’t have a preference, our computer mind simply runs whatever programs we have installed.
If your thought is: “This is so hard. I’ll never succeed,” your subconscious mind says, “OK, fine.” It doesn’t argue or try to get you to think more rationally or positively than you already are. If you decide to run Microsoft Word on your computer, it’s not going to beg you to switch to Open Office. It’s very obedient—and so is your mind.
As a result, you must be vigilant about the kind of messages you put into your own mind. A random thought is not going to create a huge impact, but repetitive thoughts are like water dripping on a stone, filled with the cumulative power equal to an enormous gushing river.
The thoughts that you repeat to yourself impact your emotions, your actions and people’s reactions to you.
That’s because no thoughts are really as private as you might like to think. If you are thinking obsessively, whether it’s about food, dieting, work, or any other aspect of your life, you are not present and people can sense it.
We are all made up of energy, and this energy either attracts what we want in life or repels it. If you are spending a lot of time in your head with thoughts of fear, worry or dread, you are blocking the positive energy of your inner being—your superconscious, wise mind and loving heart—to take the helm and steer your life in a more positive direction.
To create new thought habits, we must first become aware of the negative messages we are repeating to ourselves and replace them with new positive thoughts. Even though you may feel that you are lying to yourself when you speak words of kindness, optimism and faith to yourself—do it anyway. What happens when we repeat lies to ourselves often enough? We believe them and they become our new thought habits!
Pretend that you are an actor and play the role of a person who is happy, strong, confident, and making wise, healthy choices in all areas of your life. Really get into the character and have fun with it. Isn’t this how your personality was shaped in the first place—by taking on a role? Isn’t it time to replace your old part with one that truly allows you to live a life of happiness and fulfillment?
Block #3: Listening to the Evidence
When asked how she could just call herself a “fat slob,” one of my clients, Jody, responded, “Well, it’s true, isn’t it?”
I pointed out to her that she was looking at herself through a very narrow lens. Yes, you could say that with the evidence she had gathered she had arrived at a logical conclusion. After all, her eating habits were out of control and she was about 50 pounds overweight.
However, the issue is that Jody, like so many of us, was only looking at the evidence that supported her preconceived idea. Her reality was actually the opposite of what she assumed. Because she considered herself to be “fat and out of control,” she acted that way, thus proving herself to be correct.
Thankfully, the assessment we have of ourselves is not carved in stone. In hypnosis, Jody began to see some beautiful character traits within herself that she had previously overlooked. She saw that in other areas of her life, she was actually quite strong and a leader.
She realized that her overweight condition was simply a result of negative messages she had been continually giving to herself such as, “I’m always hungry,” and “I don’t have time to cook.” As soon as she questioned the validity of those assumptions, she came to see that they were not true. I also pointed out to her that the opposite thoughts were equally true and she had the power to choose.
She realized that she was only “always hungry” because she was eating simple carbs that wreaked havoc with her blood sugar. When she planned ahead and ate clean—quality protein with some delicious grilled veggies—that hungry feeling vanished. She discovered that not only did she find time to cook when she set her intention to do so, but that she didn’t have time not to cook!
We often have a negative concept about others and ourselves because the evidence we are considering is quite limited.
Instead of just playing the role of the “prosecutor” in the privacy of your own mind, pretend that you are also the “defense attorney.” Listen to both sides and then send yourself compassion for the duality that exists as part of the human condition. This empowering exercise can help you to realize that ultimately there is some truth in most every thought, and it’s up to us to choose what thought makes the most sense based on what we are wanting.
At one time, I thought that ice cream was a wonderful, delicious treat that brought me comfort and love. I haven’t had that thought in almost 35 years. Truthfully, I never think about ice cream at all, even when it’s everywhere around me. It’s not part of my world because my subconscious thought is, “I never want to be an addict again. When I ate ice cream (and similar foods) I was addicted.”
It’s that simple. No dieting. No deprivation. No willpower. I simply had a change in thought based on new evidence that came along, shifting my experience. This is what self-hypnosis is all about—changing your thinking so that you can have the quality of life that you desire and deserve.
Overcoming these three blocks to positive thinking can propel you to living life at a new, higher level. By increasing your awareness of any habitual, negative mental activity and your comfort with false evidence that appears real (acronym for F.E.A.R.), you can begin to release them. With a new willingness to release the old and embrace the new, positive thinking can become second nature as you step into your greater destiny.
Rena Greenberg, a Hay House author, can be reached at EasyWillpower.com. Her weight loss and gastric bypass hypnosis success has been featured in 150-plus news stories including USA Today, Woman’s World,The Doctor’s, CNN, Good Morning America and Nightline. PBS stations nationally aired Rena’s show, “EasyWillpower,” in August 2015. Her wellness program is sponsored in 75 hospitals and 100-plus corporations. She conducts hypnotherapy sessions with people all over the world on Skype.