Have you heard people talking about positive thinking, telling you to change your attitude and wondered what exactly they meant? Surely thinking positively is not always possible? There are some things that are negative no matter how you look at them?!

That is true and positive thinking is not about putting an unrealistic, rosy glow onto things. It is choosing to look at events in life from the positive point of view, rather than the negative. Looking for good things instead of bad, thinking about all the pleasant things that could happen in your life, rather than everything which could go wrong.

Keeping your thoughts more optimistic can bring about a huge shift in your attitude to life. It does take practice!

Imagine you are on your way home after a very long, tiring day at work. All you want to do is get home, put your feet up and relax with a nice cup of tea and a good book. You encounter a huge traffic jam, the roads are gridlocked and now it seems that cup of tea is a long way off.

One person could react to this by become angry, beeping the horn, cursing the people in front, driving aggressively, going red in the face, and putting their blood pressure through the roof. They get home wound up, annoyed, snap at their partner causing an argument, and generally have a terrible evening.

The other person thinks 'OK, this is not part of my plan, but I'm in this jam now', takes a few deep breaths and puts a soothing radio station on. They use the time to run over the events of the day, chill out and phone home to let their partner know they will be late. They get home relaxed, feeling like they have had some 'me time' and with a cup of tea waiting for them!

Can you see how different reactions to the same situation can change outcomes?

Often negative thoughts stem from fears. When you catch yourself entertaining negative thoughts, look at them objectively. Is that scenario really likely to happen? Challenge the negativity and replace it with a positive alternative.

If you have a presentation coming up which you are dreading, your negative thoughts may be along the lines of 'I'm really dreading this, I hate public speaking, I know I'll mess it up, I'll forget my words, go red and the boss will be angry. I could get fired if I don't win the account.' By this time, panic is setting in – you have got yourself fired before you have even written the presentation!

To challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with positive alternatives you could think 'I will practise this presentation over and over again until it is perfect, I can do it as well as any one else, and once they see that, I'm sure I'll win the account.'

It is often to helpful to check if your negative thoughts are realistic. Worst case scenario in your head is being sacked, but in reality, are you going to be sacked even if you do trip over your words and blush? Very doubtful.

Our fears about what might happen hold us back from doing the best we can. Realise they are just thoughts, not reality, and they won't be so terrifying.

If negative thinking habits have developed over years, a couple of weeks of challenging negative thoughts won't change you completely - but you will start to see a change in your outlook which will spur you on to keep going. With a little persistence you will alter your inbuilt attitudes and your internal voice will be feeding you positive messages without you even realising!

Author's Bio: 

Kate Irwin is an expert in improving confidence and self esteem in all areas of life. She has compiled a workbook which will help you improve confidence instantly and permanently, download it now from www.improvedconfidence.com
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