1. How to Create a Positive Action Mindset

    June 11, 2013

    positive thinking

    by Ryan Rivera

    It’s become an increasingly difficult world. People tend to focus on the negative side of living, and that negative thinking causes not only worsen their quality of life – it also translates to a lack of action. After all, if the world is seen as a negative place, what is the point of achievement and goal setting? What would be the benefit of working hard?

    Of course, this becomes a self-fulfilling issue. If you’re not taking action in your life, you’re not going to achieve anything, and the world really is going to be a more negative place (thus reinforcing your beliefs). If you really want to make very real life change, you need to be able to motivate yourself into not only a positive mindset, but a positive action mindset – a mindset that is actively working towards completing goals and making your life better.

    Combatting Years of Negative Thinking

    Of course, in some ways this is easier said than done. After all, it’s very hard for people to break their own thought habits. Those that are used to looking for the negatives are usually going to find them while blocking out all of the positive things. Regaining that positive mindset takes time and commitment.

    But there are some strategies that can help. Consider all of the following:

    • Fake Positivity

    Perhaps the best activity to try is faking positivity. Pretend that you are an actor in a play that has to pretend to be a completely and genuinely positive person. What would you do? How would you act?

    The human brain adapts to the mindsets you display outwardly. It’s the reason some actors end up becoming more like someone they played in a movie. The brain doesn’t understand why you’re acting the way you do, so it turns you into that person. Positive mindset pays off and faking positivity can really rub off over time.

    • Never Sit Down

    Remember that one of the things you’re trying to do is take action, not just become positive. When you have chores to do, goals to complete, or things you want done, you need to be able to give yourself the energy to take action. So do your best to avoid sitting still. Always be up and about doing something whenever you can, and if you have nothing to do or need to sit because your feet hurt, try your best to make sure you’re sitting with a purpose – like to complete your bill payments, do art, or otherwise be active.

    • Utilize Technology

    Technology is generally the enemy of action and positivity, often increasing anxiety and stress and decreasing action. But there are ways you can use technology to vastly improve your positivity, productivity, and energy. First, make sure that any time you are using technology – computer, TV, etc. – you’re using it for positive things, like watching humor shows on television (not dramas, reality, horror, etc.) and looking at things that improve your mood and your drive.

    But you can go further. Most people have a smartphone these days. You can schedule in reminders for positive thinking, alarms for taking action, and more. You can use your phone as something that constantly reminds you that you need to enjoy various activities, while programming it with the type of music that gives you energy and motivates you forward. Technology has its downsides, but you can use it in ways that improve your positivity overall.

    • Place Reminders Around Your Home

    Similarly, make it harder for yourself to sit and mope by placing reminders of what you should be doing around your home. Whether it’s post it notes with inspirational phrases or multiple copies of your “to do” list, performing this activity will keep you accountable to yourself, and that can go a long way towards making sure you don’t fall back into the negativity trap.

    Controlling Your Positivity

    Becoming that positive person you’ve always wanted to be is a process. It’s not something that’s going to magically occur overnight, and it’s something that requires a dedication to yourself and your advancements. But everyone can obtain this positive mindset if they’re willing to put in the work. Consider the above tips, and dedicate yourself to true positivity to see a real difference in your life contentment.


  2. How to use positive affirmations for maximum psychological benefit

    June 1, 2013

    positive affirmations

    We all have the same goal in life when we strip all nonsense to the basics. We all wish to experience as much life as we can, and learn and grow from those experiences.

    Although we could never run of new things to try we seldom do. Most of us have a routine that we stick to for months, or even years.

    We all have baggage we carry

    The reason is that we all have some kind of baggage or a barrier that holds us back from really prospering. These barriers can come in many forms.

    For example, some of us may lack the confidence to go after what we want, others may believe that they are not good enough, and then there are those of us that are addicted to one thing or another, be it cigarettes, alcohol, food or something different entirely.

    Unfortunately it usually takes us a lot more time to deal with our problems than we both planned and hoped it would take. Some of us might never even get close to getting rid of our baggage.

    Positive Thinking

    The first, fundamental thing every one of us needs in order to be able to develop is a positive mindset.

    A positive mindset will make it much more likely that you will find the motivation, strength and endurance to do what needs to be done so you can finally start living the life of your dreams.

    There are many ways to rewire your psyche to think positively.

    Positive Affirmations

    Positive affirmations are just statements which we affirm to be true. We affirm those statements to ourselves.

    The goal of affirming sentences to ourselves is to start believing in them. Positive affirmations a person might recite to him or herself might include ones like “I am confident”, “I always go after what I want”, “I love myself” and “People find me attractive”, among countless others.

    Positive affirmations help solve pretty much any problem you may have, if they are used the right way. Here is list of a few problems they can help you deal with:

    • Confidence issues
    • Health issues
    • Weight loss
    • Quitting smoking
    • The law of attraction

    There are of course many more areas positive affirmations can help you with. You can find a huge list of positive affirmations written to help you deal with almost any problem imaginable at http://www.freeaffirmations.org/.

    How Do Positive Affirmations Work?

    The underlying reason positive affirmations work is repetition.

    Go back to the time when you were in primary school. The way you learnt anything was to repeat it enough times so that you were able to recite it at will, even if someone woke you up at any point during the night.

    That is the same way positive affirmations work. Repeat them enough times, and you will rewire your mind and replace the old, negative beliefs that hold you back with the new, positive ones that will help you take your life to the next level.

    You would use positive affirmations by first writing down the ones you believe would benefit you the most, and then setting up a time each day during which you would recite them to yourself.

    Do stay consistent. Reading them takes only a few minutes of your time per day, while the positive changes that the affirmations would bring would be permanent!

    The Best Way To Use Positive Affirmations

    There are a few things that can help you get the maximum benefit from reciting positive affirmations. Of course, over time you will develop a style that suits you best, but this is a list of things that work form most people.

        1. Stand in an upright position, take a good posture and relax your shoulders;


        2. Speak affirmations out loud one by one, with a tone of voice that leaves no doubt that you are confident in what you are saying;


        3. Speak in a slow, deliberate fashion. Take your time;


        4. Speak in front of a mirror so you are able to catch yourself if you are breaking any of the rules;


      5. Smile;

    Reciting affirmations two times per day, once when you get up, and once before you go to bed and repeating your list of affirmations a few times in a row could also help you to maximize their effectiveness.

    As already stated, they work because of repetition. Make a list of affirmations, schedule the time to recite them each day and do so in a confident manner fully believing in what you are saying, and over the next few weeks you should see gradual positive changes in your behavior, and also in the way you feel and the way you think.

    It would be advisable to make a promise to yourself that you will stick to reciting the affirmations for 30 days, and see where to go from there. Basically, when you experience the results after those 30 days have passed, you might realize that positive affirmations might have been the best thing you have discovered in your life.


    Image CreditSpencer Williams


  3. Tips for Professionals: Stress Management with Positive Thinking

    May 15, 2013

    fight stress with positive thinking

    by Lindsey Dahlberg

    If you are a professional, you know how difficult positive thinking can be.  You are constantly surrounded by negativity, aggression, selfishness, hostility, suspiciousness, and cynicism.  Plus, there aren’t enough hours in the day and stress can often get the best of you.

    The demands of the job are intense and stress can wear you down. Just when you manage to survive one week, the next week is quickly upon you with an ever growing pile of work.

    There are days when there is nothing left in the tank, but you still have to deal with difficult clients and ominous timelines. You limp home tired and worn out. Stress and negativity seem to be sewn into the very fabric of what it means to be a professional. It doesn’t matter what field you are in either, or how big the company is – the burden on your shoulders can be too much at times.

    How can you survive the day to day beatings you are subjected to?

    Identifying the Source of Stress

    What exactly is causing you so much stress? The work itself is not easy and is probably the main cause for your stress. Being a professional is demanding and the work can be difficult. To compound this problem, there is a lot of this demanding work to be done – mountains of work that seem unassailable.

    The deadlines creep up on you and feel like an ever tightening noose. You spend more time in your office than anywhere else. There are a lot of days when you get to the office in the dark and leave in the dark. Time is a scarce and precious commodity, and nowhere is it truer that time is money.

    Add to the mix office politics and dealing with other professionals and clients. The competition can be intense and draining, confrontations can be ugly. Plus, you have to deal with clients and customers who can be hostile.

    Female professionals can have even a tougher row to hoe with the added pressure of responsibilities at home. Childcare and domestic concerns add a whole new dimension to the stress level of a professional.

    Understanding the Results of Stress

    Growing stress levels can only stay bottled up for so long before an eruption occurs. In the meantime, stress will wear you down like a corrosive acid. Your emotional and physical being will be impacted. Muscle aches, high blood pressure, upset stomach, ulcers, and a weakened immune system are just some of the physical symptoms of stress. Depression, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness are the hallmarks of emotional stress.

    This stress will impact all other areas of life. Because you are filled with stress and other strong emotions, a slight bump in the road can easily cause some of those emotions to spill out. Your family may end up taking the brunt of your stress. It should be no surprise that successful professionals have high divorce rates. Others fall into the trap of substance abuse to try to deal with their stress load.

    Stress Management and Positive Thinking Techniques

    Different people deal with stress in different ways, and there are various ways to achieve and maintain a positive mindset.

    The following techniques have helped a lot of professionals manage their stress load and find time to take care of themselves. If the problems you face seem insurmountable and hopeless, talk to a professional counselor or medical professional for options and treatments.

    Analyze Your Thoughts and Emotions

    Top-notch professionals are often stereotyped as being tough and hardened individuals. They are seen to be logical, analytical and detached. While being detached from certain things is good, being detached from your thoughts and emotions is not healthy.

    In order to deal with your emotions and thoughts, you will need to slow down. Ask yourself what you are feeling and why. Are you struggling with fear? Are these fears realistic and sensible?

    Prioritize and Schedule Tasks

    The pressure of time can be especially stressful. When facing a big task that will involve a lot of time and energy, we can often procrastinate by busying ourselves with projects of lesser importance. Being busy for the sake of being busy is not an effective use of time.

    Priorities need to be established and tasks need to be done according to level of importance. Set deadlines, prioritize tasks by importance, and consider the amount of work involved with each obligation.

    Lists are a great way to keep you on the straight and narrow; they help keep you from meandering through your work. Make a list of all your long term projects; record deadlines, due dates, and generalities of these long term projects.

    Make a second list for everyday tasks. This will look more like a ‘to-do’ list and will help you get through the smaller tasks. This will give you a good idea of what you are up against.  You won’t have sudden deadline surprises or forgotten items to deal with. You can leave at the end of the day knowing that everything is under control and organized.

    Some professionals have a daily list that is even broken down by hour. This may not be a great strategy as this can easily add to your stress load. You will feel like your day has gone off the rails if one of the items extends into the next hour.

    Keep a calendar for all of your scheduled events. Make sure you carefully work around this list.

    Make Time to Relax

    As mentioned above, stress can take a toll on the physical aspects of a person. You may have your time management down pat, but you are still feeling the effects of stress.  A few minutes throughout your day is all you will need to combat stress that has physical ramifications.

    Your body is not designed to sit in a chair for hours at a time. Get out of your chair periodically and stretch. Work from the top of your body and stretch your way down.

    Another tactic is proper breathing. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Hold your breath for a moment and then release your breath out slowly. Continue to do so until you feel some of the stress and anxiety decreasing.

    Deal with Your Stress

    Find what works for you. Office exercises and breathing techniques might be the ticket. Or you may find a brisk walk at lunch to be effective. It is also suggested that you find an outlet to clear your mind and deal with stress. Sports are great for that; there aren’t many people who limp off the racquetball court with a head full of stress!

    The key is to strike up a balance in your life between work, home, family, and your interests. Don’t let yourself slip below waves of stress and negativity.  Take control and tackle the stress head on.  Keep thinking positively and you’ll do great!

    How have you learned to deal with stress in your busy workday?

    Image Credit: sunshinecity

  4. The Bright Side of Life

    April 28, 2013

    positive thinking

    by Jamie Arnold

    Whenever events and circumstances make us unhappy, we usually ask ourselves questions like

    –          What is the reality of the situation?

    –          What should my attitude to it be?

    –          What should I do about it?

    There is not much in the way of wise counsel, be it religious, philosophical or psychological, that does not in some way address these basic questions.

    The Monty Python film “Life of Brian” pokes fun at the whole matter by ending with a crucifixion scene in which the song “Always Look at the Bright Side of Life” is sung. Originally written for the film, this song is now a virtual folk anthem, glaring irony and all. It’s an ode to the extremes to which we humans will go to view life with a tall order of stiff upper lip topped off with Polyanna’s rose-colored glasses.

    Shadow and Light

    What’s the alternative to forced, seemingly unfounded, optimism in the face of unhappy emotions and experiences? Psychotherapy and psychiatry are readily available to help us with what ails us mentally and emotionally so that we can gain perspective, heal if necessary, and go on with life. Engaging in psychotherapy does not require a simplistic optimism that belies the darker realities of a situation; it encourages us to explore these shadows in more depth.  On the other hand, some branches of psychology have emerged in reaction to what they see as a singular emphasis on negative human conditions in their field. Humanistic psychology and positive psychology focus a little more on the bright side, so to speak. Rather than dismissing Polyanna, a psychologist studying positive psychology would be interested in her core attitudes and coping mechanisms to see if they have the potential to make the rest of us healthier and happier.

    Positive thinking is one of the central ideas of the so-called New Age movement in America and elsewhere. It also permeates Buddhist thought and, probably, the commonsense attitudes of many of our ancestors who somehow survived to pass on life to those who thrive today. Despite the need to understand and address what seems like negative realities, our mental health really does appear to benefit if we get into the habit of putting a positive spin on our lot and especially on the future.

    Give Yourself the Gift of Positive Thinking

    Neuroscience has entered an exciting era in which brain imaging is being used to identify what the brain looks when we feel joy, hope and other positive emotions. By scanning to identify which areas of the brain are more active when we feel upbeat and optimistic, neuroscientists can even devise ways to train and exercise those areas of the brain to become activated more readily. They can also identify areas most associated with depression and other psychiatric imbalances and likewise create more accurate ways to lessen the effect of those types of brain activity.

    This is exciting news for everyone alive today. Our generation is blessed with the knowledge and the proof that it’s possible to change our thoughts and attitudes for the better, and that, most of all, it’s beneficial for us in the long run to do so. The catchphrase for this phenomenon is brain plasticity, which refers to the fact that we can train and improve our brains just as we can our bodies. All it takes is the right set of methods and exercises.

    A Healthier, Happier You

    What are some of the benefits of cultivating positivity and optimism? According to experts at the world-renowned Mayo clinic, you’re more likely to live longer with a higher quality of life, experience less depression, enjoy a stronger immune system, experience less heart disease and better manage stressful situations. Whether optimism is a cause or effect of living a healthier lifestyle, there is a relationship. Positive people tend to be more physically active and eat healthier foods while engaging in fewer addictive behaviors.

    If you don’t feel that you have the positive mental attitude that would bring you these benefits, try some simple exercises and do them regularly just as you might start a physical exercise routine. Maintain your motivation by detaching from any expectations for a while. If you expect to feel better overnight and it doesn’t happen, don’t let yourself become discouraged; just keep going. Develop positive affirmations that you can apply to your life, or borrow some generic sayings from religious or self-help sources and repeat them until their simplicity begins to win you over. There is a piece of traditional folk wisdom that suggests, “If you’re not happy, fake it and it will eventually feel real.” This is absolutely true. The brain begins to remold itself to reflect a more positive outlook. Enduring happiness may not be as simple as that, but research suggests this approach is on the right path!

    Your positive inner coach should focus on simple phrases that deal with a better future, forgiveness, gratitude and other humble concerns. The capacity to believe that even bad situations and feelings will turn out for the best is a powerful antidote to life’s ills. Holding on to anger and disappointment have the capacity to poison us, so stop counting your wounds and affirm your forgiveness of others. Likewise, make simple statements of gratitude for the people, experiences, and opportunities that benefit your life.

    Are you ignoring negative realities by practicing positive thinking? Perhaps you are; or you may be avoiding putting a negative spin on a more benign reality. Each situation and each person is different, but adopting a positive attitude can absolutely help you feel happier in the long run. Just give it a try – it’ll work wonders in your life.

     Image Credit: Wagner Cesar Munhoz

  5. Happiness – It’s More than Just a Trend

    April 21, 2013

    Golden girl

    Image Credit: Marcos Vasconcelos

    by Brittany Young

    Everywhere you look, there are stories promoting yoga, meditation, and self-care to eliminate negative thoughts and stress and lead you to happiness. There are movies, books, and international movements all designed to provide the answers on how to find happiness. Even the United Nations has declared March 20, 2013 as the first-ever International Day of Happiness. But this emotion common to human nature isn’t so much a trend as it is a primary goal for people all over the world. Whether they want a change in career, an increase in personal investment to family and friends, or to take a leap of faith to travel more, individuals around the globe seek this feeling and are willing to do what it takes to get there.

    As we partake in these extreme efforts to discover our personal happiness, questions naturally arise: Is happiness innate or this emotion something that can be found? How do we get there? And once we are there, how do we preserve it? I do not claim to have the answers, but here are some things that have helped me in my pursuit of happiness.


    At the roots of happiness comes mindfulness. Simply being aware of our situations can be eye opening. Specifically, in our increasingly competitive society, we may fall victim to criticism and judgment, both of which carry negative emotion and may inhibit happiness. Simply take notice of what you judge and ask yourself why you judge it. Is this judgment toward other individuals or toward yourself? Awareness alone about ourselves, people, and situations is critical to our climb in happiness. Being mindful of our thoughts allows us to accept current situations.


    Feelings and emotions come on naturally, and in stressful situations they may be hard to ignore. A basic example of this would be if you accidentally burn your tongue while sipping your morning coffee. You probably aren’t going to be very happy after that. That little fuzzy feeling on your tongue can be upsetting when it inhibits your ability to taste the buttery croissant and sweet blueberries to follow. Rather than get upset, consider it a reminder for the next time you find yourself in the same situation. Today, your taste buds may be altered, but is it worth the emotion? Most likely your own stressful situation causing you negative feelings is going to be bigger than a burnt tongue, but the bottom line is that you have control over how you react. Do you want to feed negative energy and self judgment for a simple accident? Acceptance and patience with a situation, thought, or feeling empowers you to make the choice!


    Shifting our perspective in order to see how a current problem or situation is not as big of a deal as we think is helpful as well. In the context of life, and in the grand scheme of things, how does your present situation fit in? If you have stress or negativity surrounding this situation, is it worth it? If it is worth the stress of negative emotions, this is totally acceptable. Simply being aware and putting whatever it is you are going through in perspective may help you realize how you may or may not be acquiring the happiness you deserve.


    Once we are aware of what drives us and makes us happy, the pursuit of our passions comes in. Perhaps you love sports. Get involved at a local gym, running club, cycling team, or attend a weekly yoga class. If your heart feels melodious when you dance, sing, or play an instrument, take a music class or hit that piano. Love family, friends, or travel? Identify your passion and pursue it. Do not waste your time on things that do not make you happy or move you towards your ultimate goal—life is too short.


    Happiness. The beauty of acquiring this emotion is that every person is different. There is no right or wrong way to create it, and there is no exact science behind how each individual attains it. It truly is his or her prerogative. By practicing mindfulness and acceptance, shifting our perspective, and pursuing our passions, we learn how to preserve our own happiness. Circumstances constantly change, and monitoring our thoughts and actions moment to moment may help us maximize those positive feelings. However, I think the true secret to preserving happiness is: once you’ve found it, share it with everyone around you.

  6. Positive Thinking? Three Steps To Adopting “Positive Mindset”

    March 28, 2013

    positive thinking

    Image Credit: Junn Kang Too

    Recently, Positive Thinking has become a fashionable and much debated topic in our society. Like any new concept, the positive mindset remains a largely misunderstood idea and sometimes it is being practiced in the wrong way. For example, many people think that having a positive mindset means everything will be okay if they ignore their problems or pretend they do not exist.

    Such thinking is frivolous. Some introspection is required to truly understand and have a positive mindset; one must explore the concept in more depth. I’ve challenged myself to do so, and have come up with the three most important aspects of a positive mindset. These three points are fundamental to applying the concept in a realistic, practical way. We can go further and say, if you absorb these three points and apply them every day, you will benefit from significant improvements in your life.

    So, please read on and consider deeply these three points:

    1. Positive thinking is about taking responsibility for your own life

    A fundamental step to adopting the right kind of positive mindset is the decision to take responsibility for your own life. You must accept that everything that is happening in your life is because of your past actions or inaction. You must stop blaming other people and external circumstances. You, and only you, are responsible for any failures in your life.
    Only you can change your own attitudes and feelings, and then can you handle other people and outside circumstances in a reasonable manner. For example, let’s say it’s raining outside, and that has put you in a bad temper. Your bad mood makes you unproductive at work and argumentative at home.  And all for what? You can’t stop the rain, but you can change your mood. That would be a positive mindset. Do you see what I’m getting at?
    You, and only you, are responsible for your life. Therefore, if you want to achieve something, you must make it happen yourself, nobody else will do it for you. Once you take responsibility for yourself, then you can change your life and start to achieve your goals. However, if you think everything is the responsibility of other people, then you are powerless, and you will never achieve anything.

    Take some paper and write down all the things that you love in your life.

    Now take responsibility for them.

    Well done. You have achieved Point One. You can be proud that you have accepted this responsibility. You are not expecting others to do it. It is YOU, who has gathered together your courage and taken that first decisive step. The good news is that now you have done this, you have control of the situation, and you can start improving it.

    2. Decide what you want

    You have now taken charge of your life and you accept that you are responsible for all your successes and failures. Good. The next step is to decide exactly what you want to do with your life. Positive thinking is mostly about really wanting to achieve your goals and desires, despite everything and everyone around you. If you come up against a difficulty or a problem, don’t just stop and stare at it. You must find a way to overcome it. You can only do that if you know what you want and why you want it. That is why we have Point Two; it is important to decide what you want.
    Stop thinking about what you don’t like and think about what you do like. Concentrate and look deep inside yourself. What are your biggest and deepest desires? Write them down. Say them out loud. Imagine them. Feel them. Visualize them! You see, you do know what you want, and I am sure that immediately you are feeling better for knowing this.
    Sadly, most people surrounding you probably do not know what they want, while they are very good at knowing what you should not want. However, your plans and objectives are none of their business. We are talking about your security, not theirs. These people are obstacles in your path to be ignored, overcome or simply gone around. Stay focused on your goals, and you will surmount all obstacles!

    3. Imagine that you already have it

    At the beginning you might have been sceptical about visualizing your desires. Now is the time to change your mind. Imagine that you already have what you want. Visualize it. The subconscious mind is very powerful! Your subconscious will start thinking about how to achieve that goal, without you realising it.

    In fact, your subconscious mind has always worked for you; you have just never realised it until now. Positive thinking is simply a method for getting in touch with, and using your subconscious mind.
    The more often you imagine that you have achieved your goals, the closer you will come to actually achieving them. Visualization is a tool that successful people use all the time to achieve their goals. If you want to join them, start doing it now!
    If you have read and understood everything written here, then you will have stopped blaming others for a less than perfect situation. By “others” we mean your boss, colleagues, secretary, the opposite sex, government, and the whole world. Now you understand that positive thinking is not an escape from problems. Nor does it mean you can ignore those problems. Instead, it means acceptance and goal-seeking. However, a word of warning – always be realistic in assessing your situation, because positive thinking does not guarantee that everything will be rosy.

  7. Does Positive Attitude Assist Healing Process?

    March 1, 2013

    Positive attitude

    Image credit: The Doctr @ Flickr.com

    It’s a debate that has gone on for years, and continues to be discussed by physicians and psychologists. The issue of whether positive thinking affects the medical treatment of patients is one that is hard to resolve. Many patients have seen positive, traceable results when they focused on staying optimistic, but psychologist Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, says that for every patient who has seen results from positive thinking there may be others who thought the same thing and are no longer alive. That said, public figures such as Lance Armstrong, Gabrielle Giffords, and others attribute a large part of their recoveries from serious illnesses and injuries to their strong spirits.

    Although it’s hard to prove, there have been many cases where a positive outlook showed traceable medical improvement in a patient. This confirms the theory of the placebo effect. The placebo effect is defined as “the measurable, observable, or felt improvement in health not attributable to an actual treatment.” In other words, it is when patients are given sugar pills in place of regular medication, or are told that a medical procedure was done, when in reality it was not done, and a measurable improvement occurs. There have been numerous cases where the placebo effect showed marked improvement in patients’ medical conditions, even though no real medical intervention was being administered.

    In 2007 researchers from the University of British Columbia tested the placebo effect on patients with Parkinson’s disease. They gave one group of patients apomorphine, a drug which mimics dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is deficient in patients with Parkinson’s. They gave the second group a placebo, and they, too, released dopamine, in response to the expectation of receiving medication. This study clearly proved the validity of the placebo effect, and as such, that the mind has a large role in medical treatment of the body.

    While physicians and psychologists will continue to debate the issue, there can be no harm in focusing on a good outcome, and it may actually lead to improved results. Dr. Deepak Chopra is a big believer in the power of the mind when it comes to healing. He explains that one who is at peace with himself can reap the benefits of positive thinking, which can include a decline in high blood pressure, weight, stress levels, and other negative symptoms. In Dr. Chopra’s words in an article for the Huffington Post, “The everyday choices we make affect not only our physical health, but all dimensions of our collective health and well being. This is not to say that pharmaceutical and surgical interventions are not warranted… But looking at them to solve all of our illnesses has made us as a society overlook the powerful self-healing mechanisms within us.”

    The objective of practicing positive thinking is to make use of the healing systems that lie within our bodies to help assist in recovery from various illnesses.

    External factors can help patients maintain a positive attitude. Studies have shown that even the scrubs worn by nurses can help improve patients’ state of mind, which can then help them recover. In a study done on hospitalized children in Florence, a large percentage of the children were more confident in their nurses, and were uplifted when their nurses wore printed or colored Carhartt scrubs. While the donning of Carhartt uniforms is only a small factor in the grand scheme of treatment, everything that contributes to a positive state of mind can help facilitate patient recovery.

    A crucial aspect in keeping patients upbeat is adequate family support. Family and friends who visit often and show the patient that they care can have a marked improvement on treatment, as they will cause an uplift in spirits, which can only lead to good things. Doctors, also, will usually make the effort to visit patients and address their fears before a procedure so that the patient will be calm, and the procedure will go smoothly. A good bedside manner is very important in a doctor, and some patients will choose one doctor over another based on this, because the doctor’s bedside manner will also affect the patient’s attitude.

    The Mayo Clinic strongly recommends that patients should practice positive thinking techniques throughout the day, in order to train themselves to think optimistically. They provide tutorials and exercises for patients to become positive thinkers, in order to facilitate the medical treatment being administered.

    Patients have an array of options to choose from when looking to practice various exercises and techniques that will help them remain upbeat. These may include meditation, hypnosis, spirituality, progressive muscle relaxation, and other methods. The factor that all of these practices share is a focus on a calm, peaceful state of mind, which can go a long way toward helping patients’ medical conditions.

    Whether or not a positive state of mind has a serious affect on patient outcome will continue to be debated, but all the experts agree that when it comes to medicine, only good things can come from positive thinking.


    Josh Weiss is a freelance writer and a believer in the power of positive thinking.

  8. Spirituality and a Positive You

    February 13, 2013

    by Gail Clarke

    Image by Gail Clarke

    First let me declare that if I have to state a religion I describe myself as Spiritualist.  That said I honestly prefer not to attach labels and to me, it’s more a way of life than a religion.  So for the purpose of this article all that really matters is that you believe, or are ready to consider, that there is ‘something out there’.  That ‘something’ can be God (or a god), your spirit guide, a relative that’s passed on or simply the energy of the universe.

    First I am going to ask you to stop for a moment, put aside all your worries, frustrations and busy activities and think for a while about the bigger picture.  Imagine yourself looking back a year or two from now.  Simply imagine whatever is on your mind at the moment as you might see it in the future.  You may find it easier to look back at a tough time in your life in the past.  Either way, what I want you to do is try and put what’s happening NOW into perspective.  Right this moment it probably seems important but  a couple of years from now …..?

    So with that in mind, ask yourself how much time each week or day you can set aside for what I like to call ‘positive relaxation’.  If you can only manage 20 minutes on Monday and 20 minutes on Thursday then that’s fine.  You may have to be little stricter about keeping that time free than someone who feels they can manage 30 minutes a day but hey – we all have to start somewhere.

    Learning to Switch to Alpha Brainwaves

    There are 4 basic stages of brain activity and it’s worth learning a little about this to understand why the Alpha stage is so important.  Alpha brainwaves come between being conscious and alert and being in a deep sleep.  To slip easily in and out of an alpha state in something that requires practice for most of us.  We all know about taking a siesta but did you know the best siesta is one that lasts between 10 and 20 minutes?

    For the first week or two, simply practice letting go of all your thoughts of daily life, any worries or mental lists of things to do.  Don’t try and clear your mind – this simply won’t happen.  If you find your are working too hard at this, play a little game.  Try and clear your mind and watch for a thought popping in.  When it does just think to your self – ‘wow, where did that come from’ then let it go.  Eventually you should find the thoughts are fewer and more random rather than things to do with the days tasks.  This is the point at which you can move on.

    Sending Our Positive Thoughts
    Once you are confident you can achieve a relaxed almost sleepy state you can start to send out positive thoughts.  They can be ‘big’ or ‘small’ or anything in between.  Now let’s be clear about this.  You may think a positive thought is about a big win on the lottery but no, that’s a ‘wakeful’ thought.  Let me give you 3 examples of what I feel are positive thoughts:

    • A work colleague has said something nasty about you behind your back.  You might send out a thought for the situation to resolve itself.  That doesn’t mean that you hope he/she gets the sack or otherwise suffers for this.  It simply means you are asking for a solution that means it no longer causes worry and negativity in your life.
    • The dog is very ill and you would like it to get better.  Not all things are possible but a positive outcome might be an old dog is no longer in pain, whether that be medication or a release from this life.  It might be that you personally are able to cope better and know when to do the right thing.  It may actually be a miraculous recovery – all things are possible.
    • You have money worries.  Send out a thought for a solution.  This may be  way to earn more money, a sudden windfall, a new job or simply a more positive you that is able to pick up the phone and deal with the bills.


    Getting Feedback
    Not everything is about problems as such.  It may be about choices.  This is where I want to ask you not to question too much regarding what you do or don’t believe in.  If you have a spirit guide and they talk directly to you that’s fine (as long as you aren’t fooling yourself).  For most of us it’s enough that we trust that there is ‘something’.  Answers won’t always be black and white and they won’t necessarily come in the expected form, but trust that they will come if you stay positive and allow that ‘something’ to guide you.

    Some examples:

    • You and your partner aren’t getting along.  You don’t know what to do.  You send out your thoughts for a positive resolution to this.  Maybe several days later you are having a coffee while shopping and overhear a couple talking.  You realize you and your partner have so little in common that you know what you have to do.
    • Your teenage daughter is giving you a hard time because she wants a certain outfit you feel is inappropriate.  You wonder if you are right to say no.  The following day your friend tells you about problems with her own daughter and not being able to trust her.  You suddenly realize how lucky you are that you can trust your daughter and that you can feel easy about letting her grow up a little.
    • You feel stuck in a rut but don’t know what to do about it.  A childhood friend makes contact and tells you about their life.  Perhaps they are a vet, let’s say.  Suddenly you see that you would love to be an animal nurse/kennel maid/open a cattery etc.

    Making Room for Something New
    Personally I think this is one of the most important things we can do.  If our life is so busy that there is little free time, then we are not leaving room for anything new to come in.  Send out a few thoughts for ways to leave space in your life and be open to the answers.  They may be proactive things like giving up a time-consuming hobby, doing less overtime at work, planning your shopping by the week so you don’t run to the shops every day or even simply turning off the TV a couple of evenings a week.

    In my own life I have found redundancy led me to open a Post Office.  That took me to a different part of the country which in turn opened up more opportunities.  Of course I could have rushed straight into another job similar to the old but leaving that space for a while and sending out positive thoughts allowed something new to come into my life.


    I hope I have inspired you to set a little time aside in your busy life and trust that something higher will help and guide you.  Even in the early stages of this journey you will find peace and tranquility and I wish you every success on your life path.

    Gail Clarke writes on many subjects but has a particular interest in Spirituality.  One of her websites is Other Focus – a New Age