A Month of Thinking Positive

Mr Happy - thinking positiveIn September I did 2 new things (kundalini yoga, and thinking positive), which I suppose makes up for June when I did nothing new.

There are 2 reasons why I tried to think positive for a month:
1. I’d been feeling down and wanted to change that
2. I’d been having a hard time implmenting a technique that I’d learned for dealing with the self-critical voice in my head.

A few months ago, I learned a technique called “thought stopping” for dealing with the self-critical voice in my head (which I’ll refer to as “the critic”). Thought stopping has a few steps:

  1. Recognizing when the critic is “attacking” me
  2. Consciously stopping the attack
  3. Replace the critic’s message with a more constructive message that I’d come up with ahead of time
  4. Returning to a state of relaxation

There’s more to each of those steps, but I won’t elaborate here. I often had a hard time implementing them. First, I often wouldn’t consciously realize in the moment that the critic had showed up, so I couldn’t implement the strategy. Second, when I did realize that the critic was active, I’d sometimes have a hard time implementing the subsequent steps.

So I came up with my own positive-thinking strategy:

  • At the end of each day I’d write down a list of positive things that had happened during the day – things which would make me think postively about myself when I looked back on them later.
  • At the start and end of each day, I’d review the complete list that I’d accumulated so far.

As the month progressed and the list grew, it started taking too long to read the entire list (I’d try to take a moment to let each item sink in rather than skimming the list quickly). So I started highlighting the most significant items on the list and would usually just review those ones and hammer them into my skull.

The disadvantage of my strategy is that it couldn’t be applied in-the-moment, but I think it had a minor positive effect on my general thoughts and mood. I’ve since stopped implementing the strategy due to a lack of time, and because I’m not feeling as down as I was when I started the strategy.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I was feeling anything remotely close to clinically depressed, because I wasn’t. I was just feeling down, as everyone does sometimes for different reasons. I’m generally doing fine.

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