Many patients come to Herb + Ohm for acupuncture to help relieve stress, anxiety and depression. And while acupuncture is very effective at helping them to feel better, we also provide patients with another useful approach to support their treatment and provide long-term relief: positive thinking.
So, how does positive thinking work?
The mind is a powerful tool with two opposing voices that make up our thoughts and drive our actions (or inaction).
One voice is the positive, compassionate, motivating and understanding part of us. It’s the part that says to us during difficult times, “You can do this. You are capable. Just be patient, you are doing a good job. It’s a learning process, and this is only temporary. You’re healthy and strong. You’re trying your best.” This voice treats us the way we would treat a friend or loved one.
Then there is the other voice: the negative, judgmental, unsympathic part of us that says during difficult times, “You’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough. You haven’t accomplished enough today. You could’ve done better. You make poor decisions. You could be healthier. You don’t have enough money. You can’t achieve your dreams,” and on and on. This voice makes us feel bad. It often paralyzes us and causes us to stand in own way of happiness and optimal health. It shuts doors of opportunity by creating perceived barriers that prevent us from moving forward in our lives (and perceived barriers are much more powerful than actual barriers).
When this voice (or our outlook) becomes imbalanced, and the negative side becomes our more dominant voice or perspective, it often manifests as symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Why is this so important to understand?
If our thoughts manifest into reality, and if the placebo effect really does exist (which there are studies showing it does), then emitting an imbalanced amount of negative thoughts into your atmosphere can be detrimental to achieving the life that that you want to live. It becomes very difficult to realize our goals or heal from sickness with someone hovering over our shoulder telling us, “You can’t do this.” Are you with me so far?
So what can you do when your mindset is out of balance?
For starters, every time you have a negative thought, you can use your positive voice to cancel it out. Here’s an example: when a friend of mine asked me to run the 10 mile Soldier Field race in May, my negative voice immediately kicked in thinking back to all the times I’ve tried to run in he past and couldn’t run as far or as fast as my peers. My next thoughts progressed downward with, “I can’t do this race. I’m not a good runner. I don’t have the body of a runner. It’s too much work, and I don’t have time. What if I hurt myself? What if I fail?“ But since I have used this tool for a long time, I quickly caught myself and responded with, “You can run this race. You are a fine runner. Your body is healthy and strong. You will get better over time. You can take it step by step and use iPhone apps like 10K runner for support. You do have the time for this. If you hurt yourself, you will recover. You can do anything you want!” Guess how I felt after receiving those messages?
I immediately felt better. Motivated. And I moved forward with signing up for the race. After a few short weeks, I have already hit 5k of the 10 miles, and I still have 4 more months of training to reach the rest!
How will your life change from this?
When you start to implement this activity on a regular basis, you may be surprised at how many negative thoughts you are naturally thinking each day or saying to yourself. It may bring to light just how often you are standing in your own way! But the more you consciously try to change your perspective, the better you will become at shutting down negative thoughts that hinder you from achieving what you want in your life.
The ultimate goal of this activity is to tip the balance of the scale in the opposite, positive direction. When you create more positive thoughts than negative, you open doors of opportunity for yourself to create the life that you want. You’ll be spending more time overcoming challenges and less time feeling stressed, anxious and depressed. Once you learn to harness the power of positive thinking, there will be nothing that can stop you from getting where you want to go. If you can understand the power of positive thought, then you can truly hold the universe in your hands.