POSITIVE THINKING ISN’T WRONG—IT’S JUST NOT REALLY EFFECTIVE


Please note that below is a reprint of the March 4th blog in its entirety as the link contained in the original newsletter mistakenly redirected to incorrect text.  My apologies, and I hope you enjoy the full-length version!

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How many times have you been told you just need to think positively about a bad situation and then everything will be okay?
 
Positive thinking isn’t wrong—it’s just not really effective. Positive thinking is basically saying that there’s something negative and you’re overcoming it. The problem is that this doesn’t work very well, and there’s a better strategy, which really comes down to just getting on with it instead of focusing all your energy on thinking positive in a negative situation, trying to get yourself to feel better about the situation you’ve labelled as being bad.
 
Remember my blog post about not automatically labelling situations as good or bad? In your mind, perhaps something is so bad, awful, and horrible that you don’t know how you’re going to dig your way out of it, and it leaves you in tears, stressed, anxious. Maybe you’re experiencing sleepless nights filled with dread and worry over something that has just happened—you know, you lose your job, or your salary is suddenly cut in half, or you’re not able to afford your house payments, or your health takes a turn for the worse.
 
Think of it this way: If you haven’t put a label on a situation and called it a bad thing, then you’re not having to use positive thinking to overcome it. Try not labelling a situation as good or bad. When something happens, as soon as you find your mind going to that spot of wanting to label it as a bad thing and you feel the edges of anxiety, stress, worry, and sleepless nights biting at you, stop before you spiral downward anymore. Don’t label it as anything. Instead, just say that this is what has happened, end of story, and focus all your attention and emotional energy on solving it.
 
Whenever you’re confronted with adversity, recognize it, acknowledge it, and then stop thinking about it. Instead, think in a detailed, strategic, determined way, and put all your focus into answering the question “What do I have to do now to get myself out of this situation?” If you shift your thinking to this strategy, you will find that you don’t have to then put all your focus and energy on positive thinking. Instead, you’re thinking about the steps you need to take to get out of the situation, to fix it, to not be in it anymore.
 
Easy? Try it. You’ll find it gets easier the more you become strategic with your thinking. What’s even better is the fact that you’ll find that all that anxiety, stress, and worry and those sleepless nights will suddenly stop plaguing you as they once did.


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