Why Positive Thinking Doesn’t Work?

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
Lao Tzu

Ever since the New Age stuff became really popular, psychologists alarm that positive thinking is a total scam and even could be harmful for us. They keep pointing out that more and more people after trying to apply positive thinking start feeling depressed, disappointed and more neurotic than ever. Why is that? Wasn’t positive thinking supposed to make us feel better instead of creating more pressure in our lives? To find the answer I started by dissecting my own attempts in the field of the Law of Attraction.

Why positive thinking creates pressure?
When I first started to try the positive-thinking thing, I noticed that over a period of time (maybe days or weeks) instead of feeling better I felt worst. There was a certain subconscious feeling of pressure, nervousness, even depression. Something was not quite right, either I was doing things wrong, or the new way of thinking was not working for me. As I started to explore the matter, I found out that many people around the world were experiencing the exact same thing. Some of them never return to these ideas ever again. But my stubbornness was not ready to quit. I watched and read some more New Thought movies and books, re-watched and re-read the old favorite ones. After a closer look I noticed an important statement – it is not so much about what you think rather than how you feel about it. So, positive thoughts are just the starting point – they are supposed to make us feel good. But does that always happen? I think not! And for me the main reason for this is our negative sub conscious programming.

The sub conscious mind – the key part of the equation
Take a look at the picture with the iceberg!

positive thinking

Image source: Pixabay

Our mind is often compared to the iceberg. The conscious mind is the part at the top, but the sub consciousness is under the water and it is a much bigger and stronger part. Maybe you have heard that the brain cannot possibly process all the information coming through our senses. The data that has been processed is the one that we are consciously aware of. But the other part is still detected by the sub consciousness forming our sub conscious beliefs and programming. If we have been exposed over a long period of time to negative stimuli, words, scenes, experiences (especially during childhood), we form deep pessimistic sub conscious beliefs. The tricky part is that most of them we don’t even know they exist!
So, let’s come back to the positive thinking! If we have been dealing with poverty most of our lives, the lack mentality has been engrained in our personality. Let’s say we want to change our financial situation. We start by “thinking positive” like making daily affirmations of prosperity and affluence. The statements are positive, but they don’t make us feel good, because the sub consciousness knows they are not true. And there comes the tension we feel most of the time. It is like we want to melt the hard and strong iceberg with a hair blower! And we cannot wipe away the feeling that it is not working.

How to conquer the fortress?
One way to deal with sub conscious negative thinking is to try applying the Illusion of truth effect. This is the basis of making daily affirmations. The goal is to repeat them as many times as needed for the brain to take the statement as true. The down side is that it takes time and dedication to go beyond the sub conscious conflict (to feel anxious that the statement feels like a lie).
Another way is to create a small habit of thinking positive. This way we can avoid the pressure of forcing ourselves to think positive all the time (and beating ourselves down for it). For example, we can make one positive daily ritual such as turning negative events into opportunities or practicing seeing the bright side of the situation. We can introduce the new type of thinking, feeling and seeing the world, into our lives little by little and making it a habit. And one day we will notice… a shift!

Holistic living, personal development, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing enthusiast.

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