I was treating a patient the other day when he started talking about a conference he had attended. The speaker was talking about the power of the mind and positive thinking. I have heard this kind of talk before and personally, I give it lot of credit. However I have never really put it into proper action. I’ve tried in the past once or twice, to rise out of bed and say things like:
“This day is mine” or “I will be successful in everything I do today” or “today is a new day and I am alive”.
Although I had good intentions behind these thoughts they never really stuck and looking back I am beginning to wonder why. Perhaps it was simply because I wasn’t ready or I lacked understanding.
Anyway this leads me to my point. Speaking with this patient and hearing his excitement about what he had heard really struck a chord within me. I was constantly thinking about this subject over the days that followed. I became conscious of all the negative thoughts I had and how often I said things like:
“Not now because I have worked hard all day and I deserve a break” or “I’m too tired to do that task now.”
These were really common responses. I also noticed how much I was complaining, and complaining about the most pointless of things, the weather being the most popular. Then yesterday happened and I was amazed.
I’ve had a pretty busy week in general, but more a case of lacking much needed sleep. Yesterday I woke up at 05.30, was at work all day and just felt chronically tired. At least every hour I kept saying to myself, “I’m too tired to do that task, I deserve a power nap”. But every time these thoughts arose I squashed them and prevented them from dominating my thoughts. Therefore the thoughts didn’t lead to any actions. Further to this, I purposely did the opposite to these thoughts. If there was a task I didn’t want to do because I felt I deserved a power nap, I made sure I did that task straight away, there and then. Arriving home around 19:00 in the evening I was still very tired. By this point I had convinced myself that an evening off was well deserved. When I finished my dinner I suddenly realized I had some jobs that needed doing that evening. I huge groan escaped my lips, but I remembered the positive thinking. So rather than looking over all the tasks I had to do that evening and the pleasures I had to sacrifice as a result, I just went straight into the first task. While completing the first task my mind desperately wanted to complain and grumble. It desperately tried to list all the jobs I had to do to highlight to my own self, that the tasks all together were too big a mountain to climb and to just give up. When I write this I am merely explaining what was happening inside my head. I’m not trying to have a pity party because there are a lot of people that have it harder than I did yesterday. My objective here is to highlight the power of positive thinking.
So the first task quickly became the second task and in no time at all I was onto the third, then the fourth and within 2 hours I had finished the tasks that needed to be done. By the end of this I was feeling very positive, but I was still trying to justify to myself, I deserved a break. But I stopped at this point and decided to continue doing tasks, to test this positive thinking mindset (does it make a big difference?). So I sat down at my computer and did a job I have been putting off for months, a job that was not essential and could have waited for another day or so. So I sat at my computer until 22.30, completing the task and feeling extremely satisfied with myself.
By the time I got into bed I was actually brimming with energy, even though deep down in my body I knew I was actually very tired. The point here is, I was not denying I was tired, I admitted it. But I did not dwell on it or allow it to dictate my actions. By staying positive I gained energy by doing tasks that should have drained me because my mind said they were extremely difficult to do right there and then.
So to summarize:
What happened yesterday was border line remarkable, for me. I would actually say it was a ‘light bulb’ moment. Clarity descended and I had a revelation about how truly powerful this positive thinking is. This is something I will continue to monitor and blog about in the future.
If this is new to you, how about starting with these ideas. Highlight in your mind every time you complain about something and why. Then try and do the opposite to what a negative thought suggests for you to do. For example; you need to write a letter/email to a friend, but you are too tired. Instead of agreeing with that thought, say “NO” and then go straight to writing that letter. The chances are you have the means to do it right there and then otherwise you wouldn’t have thought about it. Don’t put it on your ‘to do’ list. There is a difference here between thinking about tasks that need to be done when you are on the move, to your thoughts telling you not to do something now because you are this or that.
When you become better at noticing negativity, you will naturally become better equipped at fighting it with positivity. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail or notice you complain a lot. We all do it.
If you think about all your friends and the friend that makes you feel the most motivated or alive or free. The chances are that person is a very positive person, that they believe in themselves and have more confidence. Positive thinking leads to so many different attitudes, believing you can achieve something or being confident in yourself, are some examples.