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Nov 28, 2016 09:41 AM EST

Positive Thinking Does Not Work, Here's What Does

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Apes can understand what others are thinking just like humans

"I have the power to do it." How many times have you heard yourself repeating these lines again and again yet after quite a while, you find yourself back in your old, insecure, and defeated thoughts. Even after reciting positive thinking mantras for a few minutes every day doesn't work. What should you do, then?

First of all, you have to accept the fact that it is normal to sometimes feel a different range of feelings, even the negative ones like sadness and disappointment. However, ruminating on those negative emotions is unhealthy and can turn toxic if you don't deal with it immediately.

On the other hand, being unreasonably optimistic can lead you to a self-defeating cycle, especially if you are prone to depression and anxiety. Research has shown that positive thinking can be highly beneficial to those people with high self-esteem but can be damaging to those with the lack of self-confidence.

With those points in mind, you can battle these misconceptions about positive thinking and let your mental self-talk work for you by first identifying and acknowledging the thoughts that keep you down. This acknowledgment also includes forgiving yourself for failing. After that, turn your energy to breaking down your tasks into small, manageable ones.

Another research-backed strategy that works more than positive thinking is asking yourself some purposeful questions. This is especially helpful when you begin criticizing yourself by turning those criticisms into meaningful questions.

Questions, such as "Am I willing to do what it takes?" or "How can I....?," opens up a world of exploration and possibilities. Such questions stimulate problem-solving areas of the brain which makes you become more creative.

Lastly, focus on progress rather than on perfection. Perfection is another myth about positive thinking. Re-frame your mind into how you are progressing and who you are becoming. Having the consciousness that you are evolving makes you more motivated to press forward.

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