Positive Thinking Techniques

Alex Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW
Individual, Couples & Family Therapy
IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor
Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Posted by: Alex Robboy
CAS, MSW, LCSW Individual, Couples & Family Therapy IMAGO Certified Marriage Counselor AASECT Certified Sex Therapist Supervisor Founder & Director of the Center for Growth Inc.

Therapy in Philadelphia: Postive Thinking Techniques

* Before you can use positive thinking, you must learn to recognize negative thinking, and that can take a little work. We live in a society where everything is moving forward, where things are always changing, and our minds tend to start working the same way. We are literally thinking so much, every waking moment, that too often we aren’t even aware of what we are thinking – there’ just a steady ticket-tape of thought clicking between our ears. But it is important to try to catch those negative thoughts in the act so that we can put a stop to them. So listen to yourself. Remember that self-esteem is a relationship with yourself, so pay attention to what happens in your mind the way you would pay attention to a partner. Really analyze what goes on in your head for moment to moment, and soon you’ll be able to pinpoint those little thoughts that add up to a lot of problems.

* Don’t jump to conclusions (positive thinking technique). For people with low self-esteem, the tendency is to immediately go for a negative conclusion about yourself in response to a situation you don’t like. For example, when Susan got promoted to the position you wanted, you might immediately think, “She got the job because I’m such a loser and I can’t do anything right.” Stop! Instead of jumping to a conclusion right away, think about the situation. Maybe Susan has been there longer than you. Maybe your boss thinks that the job you have is important, and you’ve been doing a good job at it. Maybe you just need a little more experience, and you’ll be ready for the next promotion. Consider other possible explanations. This doesn’t prevent you from reaching a negative conclusion, but taking the time to consider different cause does make you realize that a self-demeaning answer is not the only one – not everything bad happens because you’ve done something wrong.

* Learn to accept compliments and positive feedback (positive thinking technique). Because of the negative thought patterns associated with low self-esteem, people who think poorly of themselves tend to rationalize away any input that might counteract that image. For example, if someone says, “I like your shoes,” a person with low self-esteem immediately thinks, “Oh, she’s just saying that because I look terrible and she feels bad for me.” This person’s negative thought patterns are so strong that even something good is an excuse for self-abuse. Don’t get caught in this trap. Instead of just sounding sincerely when you say thank you, be sincere. Accept that someone likes something about you enough that it was worth mentioning, and resist the urge to second-guess yourself.

* Positive feedback from others is always helpful, but remember that self-esteem is about you – sometimes you have to make that positive feedback yourself! (positive thinking technique) Catch yourself doing something right, and congratulate yourself right away. It is important to recognize and acknowledge when you are doing a good job, and soon you will begin to see how often it happens. To reinforce this, at least once a day you should think of something you have done that you are proud of, something you are good at, or something you like about yourself. In the beginning, establishing a set time for this can be helpful – for example, five minutes before dinner, or in the morning before work. You should do this when you are alone and in a quiet, comfortable environment. Try to think of something new each day.

* Remember that you are only human, and you have shortcomings like everyone else. (positive thinking technique) No one is great at everything they do, no one is right all the time. Learn to accept that the same is true for you. When you think of something that you have done incorrectly or don’t know how to do, don’t allow yourself to think negatively about it. Instead, think, “I understand that no one does everything right all the time, and that I am normal.” Think clearly and non-judgmentally about what you have done that you are unhappy with, and why (and if) this is something that is really important to you. In a negative mental pattern, there a tendency to be disproportionately angry at yourself for making mistakes, even if those mistakes center on something that really doesn’t have a great deal of meaning for you. Don’t waste your time and energy being angry at something you don’t care about. If you decide that it is important to you, than instead of dwelling on your unhappiness, taking control by deciding what steps you can take to improve. Make sure to follow through and actually take these steps – improving yourself is empowering because it proves that you can make positive changes in your life.

* Keep things in perspective. (positive thinking technique ) People with low self-esteem tend to make leaps of logic and blow things out of proportion. One negative review on one presentation means that that person is an utter failure at their job and can never do anything right, making one incident into the end of the world. When something happens that is negative and must be accepted, be specific about it. If you got one piece of criticism, it doesn’t mean you are bad at your job, is doesn’t mean you don’t know what you are doing, and it doesn’t mean people don’t like you – it means that one person disagrees with you, or would have done it differently. It doesn’t mean that there are any judgments being made about you as a person, and that is important to remember. Instead of reacting to what you think someone is thinking or what you are worried about, react only to what has actually happened. Keep yourself focused on the here and now when faced with something negative, and don’t read more into the situation than is there.

Moving Forward: These are some of the basic positive thinking techniques used to combat low self-esteem. As you begin to practice these and grow into a new thought pattern, you may very well develop your own techniques, personal to you. This is a good thing, and you should always try to do what works best for you. Of course this doesn’t happen overnight. As with fixing the problems in any relationship, raising self-esteem takes time and work. Like starting a new exercise program, training your brain in positive thinking can seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable; it can even be downright hard. However, before long you will begin to see improvement. You will be less likely to have hurtful thoughts about yourself. It will become easier to accept your shortcoming and work on improving them. And it will no longer be so hard to keep a positive outlook when unexpected things happen. Just keep at it – remember that more than anyone else, you truly know what you think and feel, so you have the power to get in there and change it.

Struggling? Help is available 267-324-9564 Therapy in Philadelphia: Positive Thinking Techique.