Positive thinking is a discipline that trains the human mind to change a perceived reality by repeatedly making positive mental statements. A person practices positive thinking when they derive a positive sense of well being, optimism, belonging, meaning and/or purpose from being part of and contributing back to something larger and more permanent than themselves. Positive thinking is a process of choosing positive emotions from stimuli in the environment and applying them to perceptions and beliefs. The objective is to create an outlook that translates into a new or better chosen reality.

A Positive Mental Attitude

A positive mental attitude is the belief that one can increase achievement through optimistic thought processes. A positive attitude comes from observational learning in the environment and is partially achieved when a vision of good natured change in the mind is applied toward people, circumstances, events, or behaviors (Wikipedia). Since it is difficult to quantify (measure) the effects of a positive mental attitude, it can be considered a philosophy and a way to approach life.

Emmet Fox and The Mental Equivalent

Emmet Fox, a contemporary philosopher and New Thought minister, taught that the foundation for all true productive expression was positive thinking. The technique involved having conscious awareness of our daily thought process and connectivity to God in order to realize any change or manifestation in the external environment. This concept was also taught by many mystics, including Rumi, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, and others from across all wisdom traditions. Fox believed that the doctrine of the mental equivalent was an essential metaphysical teaching; the doctrine that you will receive that for which you provide the mental equivalent. This is akin to the Law of Attraction where like energy attracts like energies and conditions. According to Fox, a lack of positive life conditions results from errors in thinking because we always demonstrate our consciousness. Negative thinking, such as unforgiveness, fear, worry, self-doubt, and a lack of understanding of the unlimited nature of the individual soul and of God, is a habit that can be unseated with discipline and self-awareness.

Use Clarity and Passion

Fox also stressed the importance of positive thinking as a companion to developing clarity and passion when organizing an outlook on one’s life. He believed the secret to creating successful and prosperous circumstances with spiritual enrichment and material wealth was directly proportional to the mental concepts held in the mind. The Bible, he said, taught the power of positive thinking from beginning to end by giving metaphysics a religious and metaphorical language. To Fox, witnessing any demonstration or change in a personal condition began with furnishing a positive mental attitude, or mental equivalent, for what was desired. He believed negative external conditions in the world, such as poverty, ill health, or war were the embodiment of mental equivalents held by people everywhere.

Build a Mental Equivalent for a Positive Mental Attitude

Since external conditions in the physical plane are the consequence of the mental equivalent held by one or more people, to change one’s situation requires consistent positive. Thoughts must have two qualities: (1) clarity, or definiteness, and (2) interest, or passion for the idea. Knowledge and feeling, he said, were the two key ingredients to produce a successful mental attitude that results in measurable change in a person’s external environment. Fox emphasized building health, inspiration, your true place, or companionship required using clear and persistent positive thoughts and understanding of God that each individual, including the person who is attempting the demonstration, knows that they are one with God. He believed thinking clearly and with feeling led to positive change because you have then built a mental equivalent to invite whatever is desired into your life.

For a more complete definition on positive thinking, see The Evolution of Positive Thinking: Views from Science, Spirituality, Psychology and Hollywood by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_mental_attitude
http://en.wikipedia.org/Science_of_mind
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmation

Keywords: Positive thought, positive attitude, positive psychology, positive mental attitude, success through a positive mental attitude

Author's Bio: 

This article was written by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D., the Official SelfGrowth.com Guide to Positive Thinking. Dr. Charlene M. Proctor is the founder of The Goddess Network, Inc. an on-line educational resource for topics on spirituality, relationships, and women's studies. Author of Let Your Goddess Grow! she is a researcher and educator in the field of women's empowerment and develops self-empowerment strategies for women in all walks of life. She is a subject matter expert for Beliefnet.com, the world's largest self-help and personal growth website. Her affirmations from The Women's Book of Empowerment reach 2.7 million web visitors daily. She currently facilitates the PATH to Empowerment program for Lighthouse Path in Michigan, a residential women's shelter for homeless mothers, teaching them how to cope with life and increase self-esteem and confidence. To learn more, visit http://www.thegoddessnetwork.net

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Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D., Official Guide on Positive Thinking