We should not confuse positive thinking with positive psychology. So, therefore, let me explain the differences between positive thinking and positive psychology.
According to Wikipedia, Positive thinking refers to a pseudo-scientific movement created in 1952 by Pastor Norman Vincent Peale and conveyed in the 2010s by different actors working in the economic sector of personal development. Proponents of positive thinking postulate that by relying on autosuggestion (formerly known as the Coue Method) one could constrain oneself to become optimistic in all circumstances which would allow us to achieve happiness or even to influence “the destiny “.
Some studies show the negative side of positive thinking among people with low self-esteem, making it worse. In the case of people with good self-esteem, it would not significantly improve their overall well-being. Positive thinking is essentially based on the reading of so-called positive or “inspirational” quotations, on the repetition of supposedly positive sentences, the reformulation in the affirmative form of sentences expressing our desires or dreams, or the visualization of situations assimilated to the well- to be.
Some actors in positive thinking also advocate reducing contact or even cutting ties with our relatives who do not share the vision of the movement and thus presented as “negative people” or even as “toxic people”.
This movement thus gave birth to the law of attraction, an esoteric conception close to magical thinking. It should not be confused with positive psychology which is a discipline of psychology.
I – Difference Between Positive Thinking and Positive Psychology
Positive thinking and positive psychology should not be confused and have quite different origins. Positive psychology is a field of psychology, recognized and developed by professionals, qualified psychologists. The field is built on the basis of scientific research published in peer-reviewed journals (thus conforming to accepted practices in the scientific community).
On the other hand, “positive thinking” is based on popular works and is not validated scientifically. For example, The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952, is a classic of the genre whose author, Norman Vincent Peale, was a Protestant pastor.
“The Secret” is another more recent example of a popular book written by Rhonda Byrne, a television producer. These works have had immense influence, but have no solid foundation in scientific psychology.
Some criticisms of positive psychology are attributable to this confusion between positive thinking and positive psychology. In its Frequently Asked Questions (for the general public), the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania dispels the confusion:
“Is positive psychology comparable to positive thinking? Positive psychology differs from positive thinking in three important ways.
First, positive psychology is based on empirical and reproducible scientific studies.
Second, positive thinking encourages us to be positive everywhere and all the time, which positive psychology does not do. Positive psychology recognizes that despite the benefits of positive thinking, sometimes negative or realistic thinking is relevant. Studies highlight that optimism is associated with better health, performance, longevity, and social success, but there is evidence that in some situations negative thinking allows for more accurate estimates, more exact, which can have important consequences. Optimistic thinking may be associated with the underestimation of risks. ”
From the collective work already quoted above: “Positive psychology must not be confused with naive psychology that would annihilate all feelings of blues and anxiety. (…) It is therefore not a Coue method of self-persuasion according to which “everything is for the best in the best of all worlds” (p.104).
I also found this interesting explanation on youtube. The title is “What Is Positive Psychology & How It Differs From Positive Thinking of Dr. Dani Gordon.”
II – Five (5) Tips for Practicing Positive Thinking
History has shown that those who have been most successful in their lives have always put forward the power of positive thinking in their lives.
For me, changing my negative thinking into positive thinking has completely changed my life, whether at the relational, professional, or financial level.
From the moment I decided to change my way of thinking, to focus only on positive thinking, everything accelerated unexpectedly.
1. Express Your Gratitude Focuses on Positive Thinking
One of the best ways to practice positive thinking is to practice gratitude.
Be grateful for everything you already have, and stop thinking about what you do not have (yet).
Gratitude is a feeling that unleashes love and happiness instantly, this kind of feeling leads systematically to a more positive thought.
The best way to express gratitude in your life is to express it every morning.
As soon as you get up, express 10 things you are grateful for. You can say them out loud, or in your mind, if you are more comfortable.
The important thing here is to feel the emotion associated with each recognition, that’s what will put you in a positive thinking state of mind.
2. Learn to Give
Negative thoughts come when you focus on the negative aspects of your life.
You can change that feeling very quickly by giving to others.
Giving does not necessarily refer to physical goods or money, share your knowledge, skills, experience.
As soon as you see someone who might need help, help them out. Do not doubt your abilities, the slightest gesture can be important.
A smile, holding back a door, helping to carry a bag, which may seem like a drop of water for you can be an ocean of sympathy for someone going through a bad day.
And at the manifestation of the recognition of others, you focus on positive thinking immediately, without even having to think about it.
3. Control Your Breathing
Here’s a little-known trick, but controlling his breathing is a physical method to control his life.
Think about it, when you cry, or when you are furious, how is your breathing? Out of control.
If you can control your breathing, you can control your emotions, instead of experiencing negative emotions, you can learn to focus on positive thinking to regain control over your life.
To learn how to control your breathing, I advise you to practice meditation once a day, when you are the most relaxed, imagine your breathing as a flow, which runs through your body, muscle by muscle, like beneficent energy.
4. Visualize Your Successes Is the Key to Positive Thinking
Learning to visualize your success is the most powerful tool you can use to practice positive thinking on a daily basis.
Many of the great successes of the past decades have practiced and still practice visualization, such as Will Smith, Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Silvester Stalone, Bruce Lee, Henri Ford, and many others.
These people understood that visualization and positive thinking attract those they want in your life, they have made it a ritual, an automatism.
If you’re uncomfortable with visualizing future success, close your eyes, and think about past success, passing an exam, a match or shining, that job you dropped from the first interview, step into the scene and allow yourself to feel the positive emotions you had at this moment.
When you open your eyes, try to keep that feeling in you as long as possible.
Meditation is a great tool for focusing on positive thinking.
The practice of meditation expands your consciousness and allows you to have a real connection with your subconscious and your thoughts.
By practicing meditation regularly, you can learn to detach yourself from negative emotions and connect to your inner self.
– Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.
– Close your eyes, take a long breath and relax.
– Concentrate on your breathing, then let go of all your emotions, and at each expiration, release a little more of your negative emotions.
By way of summary:
Practicing positive thinking is innate, we just tend to forget it, but making it a reflex will definitely change your lifestyle, and attract whatever you want in your life.
III – Seven (7) Tips to Adopt a Positive Attitude Towards Life!
The children are naturally very optimistic; they believe everything is at hand. They are not affected by the problems and stress of adult life and do not bog down in daily pessimism. We should all be inspired by it! Many people think that they do not do anything particularly pleasant or positive, except during weekends and holidays. Are you one of those people? Did you know that a positive attitude could radically change your life?
A positive attitude is something you can develop and it will help you succeed in your life. Here are the Seven Tips to adopt a positive attitude.
1. Develop Your Optimism
Imagine your success, visualize your success, and be persevering. Of course, do not hide your face by telling yourself that you cannot fail. However, keep your optimism despite the risks and setbacks.
2. Speak and Think in Positive Terms
The vocabulary you use is extremely important and has a huge impact on your subconscious as well as on your surroundings. Use positive terms to regain your trust and you will succeed!
*** Positive terms to use
– I go
– I can
– It’s possible
– It will be ready
– I’m capable
– It’s going to work
– I’ll manage to deal with that
– I’ll manage
*** Negative terms to banish from your vocabulary:
– I will try
– I can not
– I am not sure
– It will probably be ready
– I do not know if I can
– It will never work
– I do not know if I’ll make it
– I do not know what to do
3. Surround Yourself With Optimistic People
Optimism and pessimism are contagious, even if we do not always realize it. If people around you expect to succeed or be happy, you will do the same.
4. Change Your Negative Thoughts Against Positive Thoughts
Even if everything has not gone according to plan, do not spend your day mourning or worrying about it. Rather, focus on what has been good and the experiences you have gained.
Here is a quote for you. Winston Churchill once said:
“A pessimist sees the difficulties in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunities in each difficulty”
5. Balance Negative and Positive Images
We are continually beset by negative images throughout the day, whether reading the newspaper or watching TV news. So, balance these negative thoughts by listening to the music you enjoy, the “happy” movies you love, or the books that give you a smile. You will be able to have positive images to hang up in the most difficult moments.
I do not know how many times I have seen the movie The Sound of Music Even though it’s a film that is sad in part, it ends positively and the songs make me feel good. I could say as much of the film Mama Mia, made with the music of the band Abba. These are films that do good and comfort us. Give yourself films that do well!
6. Change Your Posture, Because Optimism Also Goes Through the Body!
Adapt your posture to your optimism: keep your head up, your back straight, and look people in the eye. You will quickly get rid of any negative thoughts and you will show great confidence in yourself.
Some people sing a playful song in their head as they go about their daily chores, walk in rhythm and keep a big smile on their faces all day long. These people by their joy make happy many people in their lives.
Do you feel discouraged or pessimistic? Play sports. This increases the production of endorphins, the hormone of happiness. Go for a ride, bike, tennis or swimming. You will be more optimistic, believe me!
7. Find What Makes You Happy
What gives you a smile? A song, a joke, a pet, or just walking outside when the weather is nice? When you go through a difficult time, find what makes you happy and think about it to make you smile.
In summary, everyone has a recipe for happiness. However, remember that optimism develops and that one can learn to be more optimistic and to make happy those around us regardless of the difference between positive thinking and positive psychology.