Positive thinking and words can make you reach for and achieve things you would otherwise maybe not be able to. They can help you become the person you have the capability to be (and beyond!).
Whereas negative thinking and words can make all sorts of things incredibly difficult (possibly leading to failure) and can serve as a knock to your confidence and self esteem.
For example: if I were to say to someone:
“Right, we’re going to do THIS today. It’s going to be really hard and you might not be able to do it…”
The person might wonder why they would even bother attempting it in the first place, and be full of anxiety about how hard it’s going to be. They are destined to fail.
But, if I said:
“Right, we’re going to do THIS today.
It’s going to be really easy and you should be able to do it no bother at all”.
The person would probably just do it without thinking, and succeed.
We all know that we should think more positively, or avoid too many negative thoughts, but if its how you think, it can be difficult to stop. Negative thinking can be useful to help assess the possible pitfalls in a potential plan of action, but you need to be able to turn it on and off at will.
I’m lucky enough to be a very positive person. I have a positive outlook on life and tend to rarely let things get to me.
I believe I CAN do things and I usually can. I’m a happy person, not really scared of much and I like to be around other people who are positive.
Sometimes when I’m around people who are negative a lot… I find that I tend to distance myself from them! :-S
How Can You Develop a Positive Attitude?
Even before uttering them aloud, we use words in our mind to convey our thoughts to ourselves. Since words are like building blocks that convey what we think and feel, using the right words is a significant step in developing a positive attitude.
I come across this with children I teach to swim and with friends I know. Some young children who are learning to swim, constantly say ‘I can’t do it’ before they’ve even tried it, then by the end of the lesson they CAN do it. But it still needs a lot of positive talk, direction and support from me for the child to believe in themselves.
I know adults too, who think things like… ‘That hill is massive’, ‘You’re so skinny, I’m fat’, ‘I’m so slow’. ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I’m uncomfortable. I need to stop’.
Sure when you train, you can get uncomfortable… but you can push yourself through it to get a good workout. If needed, ease off the intensity.
You can do it, you just need to believe in yourself and see positive things about yourself. Self talk is nothing but the continuous stream of thoughts that goes on in our minds everyday. Positive self-talk is about giving that self talk a positive spin, by using positive phrases, words and positive quotes in those conversations we have with ourselves. In other words, it is applying positive psychology to our self talk.
Positive self talk can be the difference between you finishing the long race and giving up three quarters of the way through. It can help you to achieve things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
Here are some negative phrases I’ve heard, and the positive phrases which could be used instead:
|Negative Words/Phrases||Positive Words/Phrases|
|I can’t do it||I can do it|
|I’m fat, and hate it||I’m thinner than I used to be and I’m losing weight. I’m happy. I’m having a good day.|
|I’m still fat||All this training is to help me lose weight and become the person I want to be. I can do it.|
|I’m bored||What can I do today?|
|This is such a big hill||This road is flat, this road is flat.|
|I’m sore and want to stop||Slow down, think about it. Am I really sore?Or am I ok to keep going? I can make it.|
|This is hard work||This is easy, I can do it! Keep going.|
|I’m so slow||I’m able to run and I’m enjoying it, I don’t care that ‘she’ or ‘he’ is faster than me. I run at my own pace and I’m comfortable.|
|My legs are tired and sore because I worked hard yesterday||Take it easy, enjoy it. You worked hard yesterday. Well done.|
|I hate my tummy||I’m fit, healthy, I can run. I will run!|
|I’m rubbish at this||I’m getting better at this. I’m good at this.|
|I’m not getting up early, I’d rather lie in||I’m going to get up at 6:10 and be out the door for 6:25. (Clothes laid out ready)|
|I can’t do it (swimming teaching)||I can do it, I just need to practice|
And here are some tips on how to be more positive:
1: Get out of the habit of criticising yourself
The first and foremost subject of your positive words and thoughts should be yourself. As long as you don’t subject yourself to negativity, it becomes easier to project that positive mental attitude on to external circumstances and people.
So look out for self-criticism – the moment you recognise it happening, put a stop to it. It is okay to admit your mistakes – and you should, at the very least to yourself – but constantly berating yourself over them hurts your self esteem, and should be avoided. If something really bad happens, learn from it and move on.
Accept that it could happen to others as well, learn from it, and move on. Accept who you are and think about all of the good things in your life. You’re (maybe) fit and healthy. Think about how lucky you are.
2: Avoid constant criticism of others
Now, the same rule should be applied when criticising others. Realise everyone is different, and everyone’s perceptions are different.
Think about where you are in your life and see if you could lend any support to the individual.
3: Quit getting upset on situations beyond your control
Now, if you think about it, this doesn’t serve much purpose at all, other than providing momentary relief.
How about this tag line for a positive spin: “The situation is messed up; but stuff happens. Maybe it’s a good thing this happened, as it gives me a chance to hone my skills in dealing with it better the next time it happens.”
In fact you can use whatever is relevant for the current situation, after the phrase, “Maybe its a good thing this happened because…”
Consider it a challenge to describe the situation in positive words and positive phrases, or creatively come up with a positive aspect out of it. You will find that a lot of times, it is not that hard to do it.
See below for positive ways to look at bad things that happened:
“If I hadn’t been made redundant, I wouldn’t have got the job there and I wouldn’t have met the woman/man of my dreams.”
“I crashed my car, wrote it off and smashed my face in and broke my nose, but I’ll be a better driver in the future!” 😉
“I broke my leg, but now I can take some time out and recover. And I’ll know how sore it is to have broken a bone. I’ll be more appreciative of being able to run again once it’s healed.”
4: Change your internal dialogue when dealing with fear
The moment you identify fear creeping into your mind, change your internal dialogue to reverse the thought and put a positive spin to it.
These phrases could form your simple tag line when a “what if” creeps into your mind: “I’ll handle it“ or “I’ll figure it out” or “It’ll be easy” or “I can do it”
5: Change your vocabulary as a daily habit
As a daily habit, practice avoiding negative phrases in your language with yourself as well as with others.
Phrases such as “I can’t do it“, “It’s impossible for me“, just align our mind to the negative, and serve little purpose in getting something accomplished.
Instead, a positive self talk by using alternative positive words and phrases such as “I can do it” or “I can, if I try“, while acknowledging the task requires effort, put the responsibility of handling it on you.
That will help you set your priorities, and if the task is not your priority at the moment, it still doesn’t verbally diminish your capacity to do it, should the priorities change in future.
Once you resolve to “handle it” or “figure it out“, more often than not, you will find ways to deal with the situation, and your fear of the situation. It will become easier and you will become the person you believe you can be.
Here is a link to a page I did on mantras (and how to run faster)… which might help when you’re out running or attempting what you think is the impossible. 🙂
You can do it and you can become who you want to be!