Positive thinking. Easier said than done. Did you know our subconscious mind is working overtime, putting information in front of us that supports what we’re already thinking?
To illustrate, think of a time that you wanted to buy something and then started seeing it everywhere. Like a car for example. Once you knew which car you wanted, you suddenly started seeing that car everywhere when you hadn’t noticed it much before.
In this article, we explore how our thoughts influence what our brain brings to our awareness throughout our day. In other words, what is on our mind is what our brain will show us more in our environment.
So it makes sense that, if we have a negative thought on our mind, our brain will notice more negativity in our day. Likewise, if we have a positive thought, we will notice more positivity in our day.
Our thoughts control what our brain notices. This is what is meant by “what we focus on, increases.”
Let’s retrain the subconscious brain toward positive thinking!!!
THE BRAIN & POSITIVE THINKING
Your brain is designed to pay attention to what we note as important. So, with the car example, it’s our central focus, so we begin to notice it everywhere.
This is the work of the brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS has one job, to show us more of what we focus on in order to reinforce our beliefs and actions. Tony Robbin’s explains this in his book, “Awaken the Giant Within.” He describes the RAS as a subconscious part of the mind, acting as a filter for all the data coming at us from every direction, every second, throughout the day.
With billions of bits of data to interpret, the RAS plays a crucial role in filtering between information that is important to us and information we can ignore.
The car you want has been on the road for a couple of years, yet the RAS filtered it out as unimportant. Now that you want to buy it and it’s been on your mind, your RAS interprets it as important and brings it to your attention… often!
THE IMPACT OF THE RAS ON QUALITY OF LIFE
If the subconscious RAS part of our brain is drawing attention to a car, imagine what the RAS is doing with everything else on our mind.
This article states that the RAS “filters the world through the parameters you give it, and your beliefs shape those parameters. If you think you are bad at giving speeches, you probably will be. If you believe you work efficiently, you most likely do. The RAS helps you see what you want to see and in doing so, influences your actions.”
The RAS can work for us or against us depending on how we use it. For many, the RAS works overtime against us because many of our thoughts are naturally negative. As you can see, what we think about can very easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
SILVER LININGS STOP NEGATIVE THINKING
The good news is that the RAS is like a muscle and can be strengthened, even manipulated, to support us in a positive way. We can train it to work for us.
To manipulate the RAS to support us in a positive way, we have to acknowledge negative thoughts when they come up and replace them with positive ones.
If something negative happens and we find ourselves in the land of negative thoughts, consider how we can convert our thoughts to something positive. Can we find a silver lining, no matter how small? Say to yourself, filling in the blanks… “Well ____ just happened… but at least _____.”
To illustrate… let’s say we just got on I-25 and hit a major traffic jam. Now we’re going to be late for a meeting.
We can’t do anything about the traffic. Cursing won’t make cars move more swiftly. Complaining won’t get you there faster. Cursing and complaining just reinforces the negativity of the situation.
Is there a silver lining?
“I’m stuck in traffic but at least I’m listening to my favorite song on the radio. And hey, there’s that cool car I want to buy! Maybe I’ll score a primo parking spot when I get there.”
These are very small yet positive silver linings. And this is all it takes to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE POSITIVE THINKING
When all is said and done, our brain is very busy, at all times, thinking, processing, and filtering information subconsciously. We may as well use it to our advantage. And this means practice.
Just like we go to the gym not just once but consistently to build muscle, it takes consistent practice to convert negative thoughts to positive ones, thereby retraining the RAS to filter positive things into our awareness.
Don’t give up. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. When practiced often enough, over just a few months, we will begin to notice we have fewer negative thoughts to contend with.
CONTACT CREATIVE COUNSELING CENTER
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