A Positive Spin On Positive Thinking

imagesPositive thinking can work against you. Instead of moving you towards your goals, it can decrease your motivation and drive. Mental contrasting, which is combining positive thinking with “realism”, is a more effective approach. How is it done? For a few minutes you think of your goal, reaching it, and letting your mind wander where it will. Then spend a few more minutes imagining the obstacles that stand in the way of realizing your goal.

This simple process has produced powerful results in laboratory experiments. The most powerful results were achieved when mental contrasting was used with relatively reasonable goals and not solely focused on fantasy or obstacles. If the goals are not reasonable or attainable, we have a tendency to disengage from them. It impedes action; in the same way that positive thinking alone impedes action.

Further studies have shown that people who engaged in mental contrasting recovered from chronic back pain better, behaved more constructively in relationships, got better grades in school and even managed stress better in the workplace.

Positive thinking can be pleasurable, but attaining goals requires a more balanced approach, as with so many things in life!


 

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