“Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny”

Charles Reade

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Positive self talk Part 2

Identifying negative thinking

Not sure if your self-talk is positive or negative? Here are some common forms of negative self-talk:

Filtering. You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all of the positive ones. For example, say you had a great day at work. You completed your tasks ahead of time and were complimented for doing a speedy and thorough job. But you forgot one minor step. That evening, you focus only on your oversight and forget about the compliments you received.

Personalizing. When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. For example, you hear that an evening out with friends is canceled, and you assume that the change in plans is because no one wanted to be around you.

Catastrophizing. You automatically anticipate the worst. The drive-through coffee shop gets your order wrong and you automatically think that the rest of your day will be a disaster.

Polarizing. You see things only as either good or bad, black or white. There is no middle ground. You feel that you have to be perfect or that you're a total failure.

Focusing on positive thinking

You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice — you're creating a new habit, after all. Here are some ways to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

Identify areas to change. If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about, whether it's work, your daily commute or a relationship, for example. You can start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.

Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.

Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.

Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.

Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you.

Here are some examples of negative self-talk and how you can apply a positive thinking twist to them.

Negative self-talk Positive thinking
I've never done it before. It's an opportunity to learn something new.
It's too complicated. I'll tackle it from a different angle.
I don't have the resources. Necessity is the mother of invention.
I'm too lazy to get this done. I wasn't able to fit it into my schedule but can re-examine some priorities.
There's no way it will work. I can try to make it work.
It's too radical a change. Let's take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me. I'll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I'm not going to get any better at this. I'll give it another try.

Practicing positive thinking every day

If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you. Plus, when you share your positive mood and positive experience, both you and those around you enjoy an emotional boost.

Practicing positive self-talk will improve your outlook. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Part 1 (I found this article on the internet)

Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk

Positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health. Practice overcoming negative self-talk with examples provided.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? How you answer this age-old question about positive thinking may reflect your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether you're optimistic or pessimistic — and it may even affect your health.

Indeed, some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect many areas of your health and well-being. The positive thinking that typically comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management. And effective stress management is associated with many health benefits. If you tend to be pessimistic, don't despair — you can learn positive thinking skills. Here's how.

Understanding positive thinking and self-talk

Positive thinking doesn't mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of information.

If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you're likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

The health benefits of positive thinking

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

Increased life span

Lower rates of depression

Lower levels of distress

Greater resistance to the common cold

Better psychological and physical well-being

Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Entitlement is not positve thinking

Summer has been a very busy time, but I'm still here and at it, are you? I still read and think positive things every day even though I don't take as much time to write.
You should already know what has happened to me. I am happier. Thinking positive and being optimistic are becoming easier for me. I am learning to not let other people determine how I am going to react. I am learning that I am not a bad person when I have to say no and to get rid of  those thoughts in my head that try to tell me I am, and ignore the judgemental looks and comments from selfish self serving people that try to make me feel guilty.
There has been alot written lately about this entitlement generation. I know our family has been affected and infected. Here are some samples from Meridian Magazine:

" The Age of Entitlement actually is an end product of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” Those who lived through the Great Depression, fought their way through World War II, and came home to create families and opportunity, sowed the seeds of the Entitlement Generation. This heroic generation, determined to give the next generation “all the things I never had,” gave them everything in life except the most important: self-reliance. The opportunity met the audience, and the results have reverberated ever since.

This bespeaks the question: to what are we entitled?

•Are we entitled to live unsafely and expect a government safety net?

•Are we entitled to eat poorly, diet poorly, exercise poorly and expect a government program to solve self-inflicted body ailments? Or, even provide low cost medicine and at the same time demand high cost/high yield R&D -- and then retain the right to massive lawsuits for the 10 out of 10 million for whom the medicine doesn’t work – dramatically driving up the cost to the pharmaceutical companies, and ultimately the customer?

•Are we entitled to live beyond our means our entire adult lives and expect a government guaranteed comfortable retirement income?

In just one generation we seem to have gone from self-reliance, to entitlement, to victimization. If we don’t get it, we are now victims of someone else’s conspiracy, greed, selfishness, or political ambition. In a comparison of values today vs. 40 years ago, Americans have dramatically increased their demands for someone else to fund and manage their problems.

Government programs, and those whose lives depend on them, never end. Congressional testimony favors those who want to keep or increase funding for programs over those who present testimony against programs by a 63:1 ratio – and the majority of those testifying are government bureaucrats whose salaries are being paid (including for the time spent testifying) by tax dollars: a clear case of conflict of interest.

This also goes to the heart of the question of how to define success in government programs. The typical view would be that a program succeeds when it can establish that more people are being served. An alternative view would be that the most successful program would be one where the Administrator would testify that the Congress can now de-fund the program; its purpose had been completely met: there was no one left who needed that service: turn out the lights. It would take a miracle for this to ever happen, but it should be the ultimate goal.
We must take stock now. Once freedom and choice are given away, they are seldom retrieved. As Benjamin Franklin observed: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”[vi]

We are entitled to fight to preserve the one, and work to not need the other. That is our entitlement."

The Age of Entitlement

By Larry L. Eastland, Ph. D.

Editor’s note: Parent polls from a number of sources indicate that the most worried-about parenting challenge of all is the entitlement attitudes of today’s kids. Responding to this concern, the Eyres have undertaken a multi-part series on entitlement which will appear here in the pages of Meridian each Monday.
"Many readers saw and participated in the poll last week about what is the biggest problem or challenge faced by kids (and their parents) in today’s world.

The results were quite remarkable! More than half of the parents responding were most worried about ENTITLEMENT! (We combined those voting for “entitlement” and those voting with “excessive technology” which, let’s face it, is just another way of saying entitlement—entitlement to all things electronic!) Other audience polls and publication polls have put the percentage of parents most worried about entitlement at more than 65%!

We have been intrigued and surprised by the size of these majorities, and we have also been pleased, since the title of our new book, being released by Penguin this Fall is The Entitlement Trap.

Think about it: From half to two thirds of parents, with no explanation or discussion, voted for Entitlement as the biggest problem of this generation of kids and the biggest worry for this generation of parents.

We ask our audiences why? Their answers are fascinating:

“Entitlement leads to low motivation.”

“Kids they deserve everything and don’t have to earn anything.”

“It makes them disrespectful.”

“They don’t know how to work.”

“They think they have to have everything their friends have.”

“It’s the reason for all the other problems on the list, they think they can do whatever they want.”

Perhaps the biggest problem with entitlement is that under its illusions, there seem to be no real consequences in life and no motivation to work for anything. Someone will always bail you out, get you off the hook, buy you a new one, make excuses for you, give you another chance, pay your debt, and hand you what you ask for.

Entitlement is a double edged sword (or a double-jawed trap) for kids. On one edge it gives kids all that they don’t need—indulgence, dullness, conceit, and laziness; and on the backswing, it takes from them everything they do need—initiative, independence, inventiveness, pride, responsibility, and a chance to really work for things and to build their own sense of fulfillment and self-esteem."

The Biggest Kid-Problem: Entitlement
By Richard and Linda Eyre

Another Meridian contributor asked readers to respond to a phenomena in our church in her column,
"Using and Abusing the Priesthood Moving Company" By Kathryn H. Kidd,  and she was deluged with letters from angry members tired of adults feeling entitled to the free services of members of the church, by virtue of their membership in the church. The article was primarily about moving people (You should read it)  but I have seen worse abuse in members asking people to give free service from work that is their livelyhood for free. Some of the respondants adress the isssue of when it is appropriate service, but so many have been abused because of the entitlement attitude of others.
My sister is a floral designer and cake decorator. Either of these tasks are time consuming and expensive. I shudder to think of the disruption in her family and finances if she said yes to all of the requests from friends of friends who ask if she can do the flowers and/or bake the cake because someone wants to have a wedding that they cannot afford.
My husband is a handyman, whose abuse by members caused financial and emotional stress in our early years because my husband thought he should say yes to every request to help build a garage, replace a roof, fix a car, repair the plumbing, etc..  For the sake of my sanity, we are learning to say no. If you say yes, your name gets passed around for greater abuse, " oh call Phil Pence he's good at everything".

Now how does this all relate to positive thinking?

Entitlement comes from three things: laziness, selfishness and fear. We fear that we will not have what we want or need unless we can get someone else to do it or get it for us or that we could not possibly live without the help or thing that we want.

Faith=positive thinking.

Exercising faith (or thinking positive about our circumstance or problem) we can find an appropriate solution without burdening someone else.
If you don't have the money for the wedding flowers and cake you can have the faith that with creativity and sacrifice you can have a lovely simple reception where what is important is the focus.
If you need something repaired and you can afford a wide screen TV and to eat out once a week, you can pay someone to fix it. Do you have a skill that you can barter that would be beneficial to the other person? If not, don't expect them to do it. If you don't have the money to pay there are resources in books and on the internet that teach you how to do it yourself. It may be difficult, and time consuming but is your time more precious than the person you are asking? And will you not gain from the opposition confidence that you can do hard things. Does or doesn't facing opposition positively make us strong? Is it something you can save your money for and pay someone to do it later? Does it need to be done at all or is it something you want done for convenience or monetary gain? Did you neglect the upkeep and expect someone to bail you out?
When you think honestly and faithfully about your situation you will find a responsible, unselfish solution.

let me repeat the Eyre's again:

"Entitlement is a double edged sword (or a double-jawed trap) ... On one edge it gives (people) all that they don’t need—indulgence, dullness, conceit, and laziness; and on the backswing, it takes from them everything they do need—initiative, independence, inventiveness, pride, responsibility, and a chance to really work for things and to build their own sense of fulfillment and self-esteem."

That's a very positive way of thinking.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blessed are the flexible

I read this quote on the wall at the dental school in Richmond many years ago. Being flexible is a positive choice. I don't know the name of the author.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A support group called Happiness

A flyer for my positive thinking support group hangs on a bulletin board in the hall at my church, inviting people to come and suggesting some names we might call our group. Someone, not liking the suggestions given, pined this to the board.

Pessimism &