- goals, obstacles, success
For Your Good Health…
Tips to Unleash the Power of Positive Thinking
Believing in yourself is the hardest and most necessary ingredient for successfully changing your lifestyle. When you’ve been mistreating upon yourself for years, it takes a fair amount of practice to turn this habit around.
Negative self-talk, the ongoing evaluation that takes place in your mind, is at the root of this predicament. How often have you said to yourself, “I can’t do this, ” or “If I can’t do it perfectly, why bother?”
This inner critic performs a very powerful function: it protects you from experiencing feelings and situations that might be scary or unpleasant. While this is an important survival mechanism, this voice may prevent you from taking goal-oriented actions because it can convince you that you aren’t capable or worthy of succeeding.
Positive thinking does not mean that you have to be cheerful all the time. On the contrary, it means acknowledging all of your thoughts and trying to figure out whether they have relevance to your present situation. For example, suppose you’re trying to modify your eating
habits. You had been “really good” up until last night when you “blew it” by eating a “really bad” dessert. Now you’re thinking, “I give up. I’ll never be able to do this.” If you look at the situation objectively, you can see that eating one dessert does not qualify you as a failure.
The first step toward positive thinking is turning down the volume on the negative thoughts that poke holes in your self-image. To accomplish this, start to become aware of your negative self-talk on a regular basis. When you’re ready, you can begin the process of retracing your thoughts to determine where these negative messages came from and why. Next, turn the volume up on the positive self-talk. Unlike negative self-talk, positive thinking focuses on what’s right rather than what’s wrong.
Positive thinkers affirm themselves; they remind themselves that they’re worthwhile humans WHATEVER they do. They consistently acknowledge that they’re on the road to health. They visualize themselves as capable, happy and confident people. And what they learn is that positive self-talk can help expedite the process of change.
A final word about positive thinking: There are bound to be times when you’re feeling depressed or frustrated. Positive thinkers know these feelings are valid and don’t try to ignore them. They explore them, try to understand them and, most importantly, they do not blame themselves for the conditions that led to these feelings. This clears the way for effective problem-solving and a fresh start.
When you’re making the transition from inner critic to inner cheerleader, it’s helpful to teach yourself less judgmental language. Here a sample to get you started:
Old: I can’t do this.
New: I can accomplish anything that’s realistic and reasonable.
Some affirming phrases to keep on the tip of your tongue are:
“I’m proud of myself for…”
“I did a great job of …”
“I’m good at…”
“People liked it today when I…”
“Today I accomplished…”
If a higher level of wellness is a personal goal of yours, but you are in need of some external guidance and motivation, contact your neighborhood Pharmacist / Nutritionist / Fitness Professionals at Carnegie-Sargent’s Pharmacy and Health Center. (312) 280-1220. Remember health promotion begins with you!
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– Mark Paley, Registered Pharmacist/Director