Therapists like to tell you that your thoughts are powerful and affect how you feel. We will tell you to use positive affirmations and to think positively and it will in turn make you feel better. We watch you take this skeptically. After all, can it really be so simple? Yes and no. Will it cure what ails you? Probably not. Will it be an impactful and important tool for your recovery? Absolutely.
Here is a simple illustration of positive thought: Think about a freshly baked, warm, chocolate chip cookie. Smell it? Taste it? Want one? How about this negative one: Don't think about an elephant. Did you? I never can help myself.
The truth: our thoughts build our reality, including our sense of ourselves, our lives and the world around us. We believe what we have been exposed to, things we regularly tell ourselves and/or hear from others. We have inner monologues and committees shaping and discussing our viewpoints. The louder and more repetitive the thoughts, the more impactful on our mood. Negative thought exposure, especially when repeated over time, makes us feel negatively. I think most of us can agree and come up with examples of negative people, places and things that have this effect on us. Doesn't it follow that positive thoughts work the same way? It does!
A secret: most of us are not as good at giving ourselves positive thoughts as we are the negative ones. That means other people, places and things we are exposed to are likely to follow this same pattern. What to do? Start with yourself. Fake it until you make it. Also known as: positive affirmations. This cheesy notion was right all along! Come up with some phrases that are positive, and tell them to yourself regularly. It will probably feel silly for awhile- but like the negative thinking, the positive talk will take time to build. If you stick with it, it will be impactful. You will find, in time, instead of thinking the automatic negative messages, you may say a positive one to yourself first. Other areas in your life will begin to be impacted by the positivity until you find yourself looking for and appreciating more positive things, despite negative messages that still fill our lives.
Are you ready to take control of this simple principal? Talk about it in your next therapy session. Problem solve some of your negative thought processes that you can start to replace with more positive messages. Discuss ways to adhere to this new practice and watch your life change!
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is a Creativity Coach, Creativity Counselor and Professional Artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She provides Online Creativity Counseling in Maryland and Virginia, and Online Creativity Coaching throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
The information provided in this blog is from my own clinical experiences and training. It is intended to supplement your clinical care. Never make major life changes before consulting with your treatment team. If you are unsure of your safety or wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help immediately.