You are heading to work for the day and are stuck in traffic due to an accident up ahead. A common human response may sound something like, “Ugh! I have places to be! This is just my luck! I’m going to be late!” Furthermore, we may notice more tension in our bodies, an increase in heart rate, and feelings of stress, anxiety and anger. This type of response will surely have long-lasting negative effects on our mood for the day.
What if we were to reframe our thoughts about the traffic in a more positive way?
These statements might look something like, “I’m very grateful that was not me in the accident,” or “I accept these circumstances that are out of my control in this moment.” In doing this, our bodies and minds remain in a calmer, peaceful state, thus keeping our mood more positive for the rest of the day to come.
Life happens. It is an ever-changing experience in which we are constantly forced to adjust. We endure a series of events that will inevitably affect our way of thinking about the world and ourselves. We may perceive ourselves as being a generally positive person, however, unexpected circumstances challenge our ability to continue practicing the power of positive thinking at times.
Positive thinking, derived from Positive Psychology, is the ability to practice the mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the “bright side” of things, and expects positive outcomes. In order to begin this practice, we must first believe in its existence and put a conscious effort into applying it into our lives. Owning the belief that “there is good in everything,” may be the most challenging part of this process- that is why we must choose to find it in each and every day.
The more we practice positive thinking, the more likely we are to receive positive outcomes. With this, we may notice that our energy affect others around us. Think about being in a room full of positive people versus negative people. In which scenario are you most likely to have a pleasant experience?
One way to incorporate positivity into our lives is to create and utilize affirmations. Affirmations are inspirational, motivating and positive statements, made in the present-tense, about ourselves and the world around us. Some examples of positive affirmations might be:
“Today I fully experience the blessings that are all around me.”
“I am a beautiful and confident person.”
“I accept my goodness in each and every moment of every day.”
“I am ready and willing to change for the better.”
In addition, using Thought Modification tools from Dialectical Behavior therapies (DBT) can help us practice willingness, acceptance and turning of the mind.
Willingness: allowing the world to be as it is and accepting yourself as a part of it
Radical Acceptance: complete and total acceptance from the mind, body and heart
Turning the mind: “the interior turn where you simply say, ‘Yes. I will. OK.’ It means you find within yourself the ability to say there is good in every moment; ‘Every day is a good day. Everything is as it should be,’” (Linehan, 2005).
Positive thinking focuses on strengths, without ignoring or avoiding the negatives. It asks us to focus on what goes right versus what goes wrong.
Challenge yourself to write THREE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS each day when you wake up. If you say something enough, you’ll start to believe it! With that belief will come an improvement in mood, attitude and overall outlook on life.
To schedule an appointment or for more information on strength-based therapies, please contact our Admin Team at (847) 450-0524
References: Linehan, M., Behavioral Tech, & LLC. (2005). From suffering to freedom: Practicing reality acceptance. Seattle, WA: Behavioral Tech, LLC.