Have you ever noticed people who complain a lot keep getting into negative situations which gives them more to complain about? It’s downward spiral. On the other hand, have you noticed that positive, happy people tend to attract wonderful situations? Wonderful situations keep happening to them over and over again.Our minds are the last frontier of scientific exploration. They are the last frontier to research because our minds are so vast and complex that we have needed higher technology to begin examination of our brains.
It has been proven that we get what we think about. The ‘broaden and build’ theory by Professor Barbara L. Fredrickson shows this emotional/personal dynamic in her diagram below, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, pg. 16, 2008
Fredrickson shows this positive dynamic beautifully in the above illustration, however, the same dynamic happens with negative emotions. The wonderful thing about all of this is that we have the power of Choice. At any moment we can choose how we will react to a certain situation. The power of choice is paramount in our human experience. The power of choice correlates with the power of free will. The following excerpt ‘Exercising the Power of Choice’ from www.ligonier.org shows this well. The point is this: Not only may I choose what I want, I must choose what I want if my choice is really to be free. Choice is made according to desire. Without desire there could be no free choice—certainly no moral choice. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/exercising-your-power-choice/
Let me go a little further with my own personal experience of how choosing positive thoughts begets positive experiences. It first starts with how I feel. When I focus on feeling good simple positive events start to happen. It is miraculous. The other day I was searching for a Christmas ornament in our vast boxes of ‘stuff’. I sensed that I was growing frustrated and almost mad. Then I “checked in with myself” and realized that feeling frustrated didn’t feel good. So I changed my thoughts to relaxing, feeling good in the moment and trusting that I would find the ornament somehow. I let the frantic concern go. My husband walked into the garage, went to a box and pulled out that exact ornament! I was initially surprised, but then not because the act of relaxing and trusting felt normal, natural. I now practice feeling good every moment I am aware.
If something is bothering me I do a toggle switch in my mind from negative thoughts, resentments or problematic issues to seeing the best situation arise. it works every time, but it takes practice. In our fast paced, negatively focused society and media it is easy to get caught up in not feeling good and accepting it as normal. It’s not.
We can choose our thoughts at any time. What you think is what you get, there are no exceptions. It is physically impossible to think one thing and get the opposite. Try it!
For further readings or inquires about positive thinking take a look at the Penn Arts & Sciences Positive Psychology Center at: http://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/
Fredrickson, B. L., Cohn, M. A., Coffey, K. A., Pek, J., & Finkel, S. M.(2008). Open hearts build lives: Positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1045–1062. doi: 10.1037/a0013262