Sunday, September 6, 2009

Positive Thinking Makes Life Better

My grandma was seriously ill and doctors had given up on her. But we constantly saw positive images of her returning home; we would always talk positive and this really helped. She was back with a bang! It was nothing less than a miracle,” reminisces Ria Khanna, a chartered accountant from Mumbai. She adds that ever since she realised the power of thinking positively, setbacks do not scare her any more. “As soon as I get a negative thought, I consciously try to replace it with a positive statement.” She reveals that she tries to try to construct statements without using words like ‘no’, ‘don't’, ‘won't’ etc.” Today, she swears by the power of positive thinking.

For ages, psychoanalysts, therapists and self -help writers have emphasised the power of positive thinking. “Hold an image of the life you want, and that image will become fact,” says Norman Vincent Peale, prolific writer and author of The Power of Positive Thinking.“You are the sum total of your own thoughts. If you think good, good will follow; if you think evil, evil will follow,” observes Joseph Murphy, author of The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.Truly, as a saying goes, “You are what you think all day long.” People who deal in this subject opine that while positive thinking does not guarantee success, negative thinking definitely guarantees failure.

So what is ‘positive thinking’?
For Ria, positive thinking is “looking for opportunity in every difficulty.” She feels that one has to constantly reinforce the mind with positive thoughts leaving no space for fear. “The positive image that you visualise helps you sail through life’s various tests,” she enthuses.Inharmonious thoughts or action definitely result in discord and limitations. Komal Dave, interior designer, Mumbai, believes. “Don’t let anyone rob you of your confidence. People who tell you ‘you can’t do this’ could never do things they dreamt of. Don’t get bogged down by such negative people,” she emphasises.

Dave feels that negative thinking exhausts the brain cells and brings extreme fatigue to the system whereas positive thinking charges your batteries to go on and tackle problems. “Eventually it’s all a mind game. You can decide to make your life richer and grander or dwell on the obstacles and attract negative energies,” she adds.

Positive thinking is an attitude, a state of mind, a way of life. It also contributes a great deal in stress management. Positive statements like ‘I can do it’, ‘I can manage it’, ‘I will succeed’ help to overcome initial doubt. Research suggests that reasonable optimism results in good health, longevity, job success and higher scores on achievement tests. On the contrary, pessimistic people are more vulnerable to depression, loneliness and other psychological, behavioral problems.

Aditi Chaudhary, clinical psychologist, Mumbai, endorses this view. “Positive thinking plays a key role in addressing depressed patients or motivating students or employees to achieve better results. It helps those battling mental illness as there is ambiguity and hopelessness involved,” she explains. She has observed that positive thinking heals patients directly and indirectly. In case of depression, instilling positive thinking helps individuals to regain self belief and composure.

Chaudhary gives an example from her own experience. “One of my patients was suffering from severe depression. Her marriage was on the rocks and she was completely shaken up. Her in-laws harassed her and everything seemed to be going against her. All she needed was a dose of positive thinking. Life is looking up for her today. Positive thinking controls stress levels and helps keep anxiety at bay.”

Another strong believer in positive thinking is Mumbai-based software architect Raj Chaudhari. “As humans, we are the only living creatures who have the ability to think, reason and improvise, so we need to respect this gift called ‘life’ and make the most of it.” He believes that not a nano second of one’s life should be spent on something which does not add value to one’s life. “This is my understanding of thinking constructively,” he says.

Chaudhari should know. He started his career with a meager 1,500 rupees a month. By his own admission, he battled numerous setbacks in his career. But today, the six figure paycheck makes him proud of himself. “I owe it all to the sheer power of positive thinking. I stuck to my guns when I was hardest hit,” he adds.

Megha Bajaj, writer, couldn’t agree more: “Positive thinking to me means 'better thinking'. It is the more pro-active, the better, the solution-finders’ thinking.” This attitude has helped her a lot. “From being someone whose predominant thoughts were negative, I have been able to change my life with positive thinking. When I think positive thoughts, I attract positive opportunities to my life,” she says. To her, it is the key to leading a life which is successful in the materialistic world and peaceful in the world within.

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