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Friday, November 18, 2005

Get a Positive Mindset

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about the way we think. But thinking is a habit, and the way we talk to ourselves in our minds is a habit. Bad habits, such as negative self-messages and put-downs, get bad results: low self-esteem, depression, lack of motivation. Good habits, such as talking to yourself in a positive way, focusing on positive thoughts, and being positive with other people, get good results: success, happiness, peace of mind. While no one is positive all the time, there are ways to gain a positive "mind set" so that positive thinking becomes a habit.

Eliminate Negative Self-Talk

You probably don't realize how many times a day you send yourself negative mental messages. The habit of negative self-talk goes unnoticed after a while. But studies show that most people hear between 300 and 400 negative message per day - many of them in their own minds.

Start monitoring your inner dialogue. Write down each negative message that you notice over two or three days. Mental comments such as "That was stupid," or "I knew I'd mess it up," simply serve to reinforce a poor self-image and a lack of confidence in our own power to control our lives.

Begin today to consciously change negative thoughts. Whenever you feel yourself starting to think a negative thought, STOP. Don't finish it. Change the thought a positive one before it leaves you.

Give Yourself a Mirror Pep Rally

Another way to create the habit of positive thinking is to give yourself a "mirror pep rally." Each morning (or whenever you feel the need) look at yourself in the mirror and say: "I am a positive person. I look for and see only the positive in every situation. I am thankful for the good that comes my way, and the lessons that I am allowed to learn."

Don't Worry

Like positive thinking, worrying is a habit, too - a bad habit. Worrying is a waste of time and it does nothing to change a situation. Not only is worry wasteful, it is destructive and self-defeating, dragging you into a chasm of imagined fears and doubts that serve to undermine your positive outlook. Would it not be better to put your worries out of your mind? Here are some tips to help you reduce your worry time:
• Maintain a worry-time schedule. Set aside one half hour each day to do all your worrying. During this half hour, worry to your heart's content, playing out all the possibilities to their ultimate catastrophe. But at any other time during the day, you must not indulge in worrying.
• Gradually reduce your worry-time. Start with a half hour a day. After a week, cut it down to twenty minutes, then ten minutes. Then eliminate your worry-time altogether.
• Create an imaginary "safe place" to contain your worries. One psychologist keeps three jars on his desk-top. The first is labeled Doubts. The second is labeled Fears. The third is labeled Worries. Whenever he has a doubt, a fear, or a worry, he simply lifts the lid on the appropriate jar and "tosses" the feeling inside.

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