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We Are What We Think - The Power of Positive Thinking

by Samantha De Bono

Negative thoughts are very fast spreading aren't they, we are so much more ready to suck up those criticisms and negative comments than we are those compliments aren't we? Why is that?

According to Professor Clifford Nass at Stanford University "The brain handles positive and negative information in different hemispheres, negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones, thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones."

Roy F. Baumeister, a professor of social psychology at Florida State University, carried out an experiment whereby each of the participants gained or lost the same amount of money. The results showed that greater distress was expressed by the participants who lost the money than the joy expressed by the participants who gained the money. In addition, the negative experience wore off more slowly than the positive experience.

I have no doubt that Nass and Baumeister's findings are spot on, we have all probably gone through that annoying experience of running a negative comment over and over in our minds, yet forgotten the positive comments received.

Another thing I notice people doing and something I have been guilty of doing in the past, is refusing to say something positive for fear of 'tempting fate' and making it all turn bad. What nonsense! Positivity spreads, just like negativity, it just needs more cognitive effort. It may be that negative thinking is easier, but it keeps us stuck, pulls us under and away from achieving our full potential.

The good news is, we CAN change negative thinking. Being prepared to put time and energy into thinking positively can and will change negative thought processes.

If you catch yourself using negative language, stop it! Don't continue down that route, change it. Swap your negative comments to positive ones. Don't be embarrassed to stop mid sentence if needs be, let others know that you intend to adopt a positive attitude, hopefully they'll join you, but if not, fine, you can't change others, but you can make huge changes for yourself, which in turn will change the dynamics around you.

Learn to enjoy positive experiences, don't minimise them, let them last. We've all heard the expression "Wallowing in self pity" well how about wallowing in enjoyment or happiness or success or achievement...? Don't play it down or apologise, Celebrate!! You deserve it, after all, you've worked hard for it!