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6/26/19 8:14 A

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Change the way you think

Mark Verhees says that we should not seek to repleace every negative thought by a positive one. In some cases that might be too big a step and it would not feel right.. With regard to some negative thoughts, it's just better to look for a thought that is less negative rather than to try to 'make it positive'.

Mark suggests to focus on these truths:
* There are always many sides to a story and we may only see one side.
* If we focus more on the positive side of things, more positivity will jump out at us.
* We have a choice with regard to what kind of thoughts we think and what kind of explanations we use for events.
* To think in more positive ways will lead to a better quality of life.

Five ways to be more positive in our thinking:
1. What do you want? Go from thinking about and describing what you DON'T want, to what you DO want.
The things you do not want tell you a lot about what you DO want and what is a core value for you.

2. Replace ungrateful thoughts by grateful ones. You can take about any event or situation and come up with things you might be grateful for.

3. Use positive statements.
Mark Verhees offers an example of a bank robbery. You are the one client out of fifty people that gets hit by the one shot that is fired, in your arm. When describing the event later on to your friends, what will you say? That you had bad luck, or that you were lucky? Bad luck because you happened to be the one that got hit. Or lucky because you did not get killed nor seriously injured, and no one else was hurt? Both sides of the story are true, but the positive one is guaranteed to give you more energy and make you feel better.
So start your explanations and statement with 'I was lucky, because...'.

4. Cultivate optimism. Attach more value to to positive things.
Generalize the positive, see it as permanent, and see it as your own. That's what optimists do.
On the contrary if it's about negative things, see them as specific, temporary, and limited.
To become more positive does not mean you discard the negative, but don't attach more value to the negative than it deserves, and see it as a chance to learn something.

5. Use positive words. Make a list of positive affirmations. Train yourself. Take a given situation and describe it, and see how many positive words you used. Or look at the texts you wrote recently and anaylyze what kind of words you chose. Try to use more positive words.

Assignment: look for a more positive mindset. Thoughts that keep returning: how can you make them more positive - which of the five ways will you use?



Tips with regard to this topic of 'change your thoughts'.

* Look at your daily routines, such as your commute to work, and see if you can find a more positive way of looking at such a routine.

* Every (planned) event has three aspects: anticipating it, experiencing it, and reflecting on it. It's possible to consciously get positive pleasure out of each aspect.
For eample a vacation: you can enjoy the preparations; thinking about the vacation and what it will be like, looking forward to it, can get you in a good mood. Then when the vacation arrives, you can focus on the fun of it, enjoy it fully, be present to the pleasure of being on vacation. Afterwards, you can look back on the vacation, look at photos you took, reflect on how nice it was.
This means you get a positive impulse both before, during and after the event.

This is true - I have found - also for much smaller things. It is so important to look forward to nice experiences, to notice what is going well, and to pay attention to the positive, maybe by mentioning it to other people, by taking pics, or by writing it down.

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