Wednesday 18 September 2019

The power of a positive outlook on life

Kay McSeeney, Professional Counsellor

Nothing mirrors your quality of life more than your thinking. By deciding to take a positive outlook on life, one can begin to transfer out of a negative frame of mind and view life more positively, with the anticipation of opportunities and challenges ahead, instead of dwelling on troubles and barriers in life.

Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude. With a positive outlook, we experience happy and joyful emotions. Making a decision to think more positively will help you to take control over your own life. Your day-to-day experiences and interactions with other people will then be more pleasant as well as your capability to manage change.

Positive thinking will increase your life span as well as lower your stress levels and rates of anxiety and depression subsequently reduce. Coping skills become refined and you become empowered to take better care of yourself.

It is important to put a halt to any bad thinking habits you may have developed. To think differently will serve you well in life. By simply taking responsibility for your thoughts and changing any negative thinking habits you may have developed, you will transform your life. Thinking positively is a choice and it is possible.

Recording your thoughts can help you to step back and assess any negative patterns in your thinking. In order to switch from negative thinking to positive thinking you will need to become more aware of your "automatic negative thoughts".

An example of an automatic negative thought is - upon receiving notification that you have your driving test on a particular date, you may think to yourself, "I'll probably fail it". This thought is automatic because it's your first reaction to being notified about the test. In this instance once can then capture/analyse your thought about your particular problem or situation and then stop and evaluate whether or not the thought is true or even realistic.

In order to challenge your negative thinking you need to be objective. It is helpful, during times of negative thinking, to write down the negative thought you may have and then ask yourself - how would I respond if somebody else had said that thought to me?. For example, you may have a negative thought such as - "I feel like a failure".

In challenging and reframing this thought you can then take action and alter your negative thinking. Then when faced with new experiences or challenges you may begin to think to yourself - 'I won't know how I will feel until I do this and I might even enjoy it'. You can then begin to encourage yourself to try new experiences and embrace them in a positive light. It is always important to repeatedly remind yourself that your past does not determine your future.

By comprehending which types of negative thinking you have become accustomed to, you can exchange your negative thoughts with more beneficial thoughts and positive ways of thinking, in order to produce a healthier response to occurrences and situations in life.

The more awareness you have about your thinking, the less complicated it will be for you to turn around your negative thoughts and thinking processes so that you become empowered to think positively and take better control of future situations and challenges . Positive thinking will assist you and your aspirations for life!

Kay McSeeney, Professional Counsellor working, by appointment, at Cooper MediCare, Tralee

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