How to Think Positive: 5 Tips for Cognitive Restructuring

positive thinking chicago

Think Positive and Live Healthy

By: Glenn Dilion

A common question that clients have when they begin the process of therapy is how to think positive. Given the cruelty of Chicago’s difficult winters, this particular request makes a lot of sense!

We have found that one of the best ways to assist these wellness seekers in reaching their goal of positive thinking is to introduce them to the psychological technique known as cognitive restructuring.

At its core, cognitive restructuring is a psychotherapeutic process of disputing unproductive and unhealthy thoughts, commonly fueled by cognitive distortions. Examples of common distortions include magnification, labeling, emotional reasoning and all or nothing thinking. Cognitive restructuring helps to change your mental tape and transform negative thinking into something more positive.

What follows are 5 tips to help you think more positive. All of these suggestions rely heavily on the previously mentioned cognitive restructuring, which if firmly grounded in cognitive behavior therapy. Use what feels right in the information outlined below and recognize that not all of these may work in your unique case.

Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!

How to Be Positive: 5 Tips!


1. Purge your toxic thoughts

One of the best ways to dump some of the negative thinking you have been engaging in and make room for more positive thoughts is to purge all thoughts from your mind.

This will require you to initiate relaxation techniques to calm those inner voices. Some excellent ways to go about this include mindful breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Why not give this a try and see how it works for you?

2. Own what you think

When we are under a great deal of stress, it is easy to feel like a victim. We can also feel like things are out of our control. An unhealthy way of coping with stress is to blame others. In fact, this is what powers up some of those negative self-messages.

Rather than playing the blame game, step back for a moment and analyze your thoughts. Ask yourself how you can take responsibility for what you are thinking and reframe these thoughts into something more realistic through positive psychology.

3. Revisit your expectations

Positive thinking happens when we have honest, realistic expectations about a given situation. This is particularly true when it comes to reaching certain life goals. If your expectations are too high, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

What would it be like if you revisited your expectations and fine-tuned them a bit? Can you still obtain your desired outcome by making a few adjustments?

4. Positive affirmations

Your internal dialogue has a lot to do with how you feel and by extension, how you perceive the world around you. By becoming more aware of your internal dialogue through mindfulness based activities, such as meditation, you can isolate these thoughts and create change through positive affirmations.

One of the best times to partake in positively affirming yourself is in the morning. Imagine how a positive morning might color your entire day?

5. Find the gold in your day

There is a major difference between accentuating the positive and positive thinking. Positive thinking is an expression of hope concerning future events. Thinking positive thinking, however, is focused on the here and now and even the past.

One way to promote positive thinking is to find the gold in your day. An example might be remembering an unexpected smile from a stranger or stumbling upon an item that was once lost. Both of these are considered “gold” because they came to you without expectation. Think about all that comes to you each day that is positive that you are not expecting. That’s your gold!

Final Thoughts

Your desire to think positive begins by examining your thoughts and restructuring them in a way that promotes a healthier internal dialogue. A karmic truth is that we attract what we think.  What are you attracting in your life? Can you shift gears with your current pattern of thinking? How might this help you attract more positive people, events and things in your life?

Below you will find a book that many people have found helpful with helping to train your mind on how to think positive. Just click on the cover to be transported to Amazon.

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