by Barry Bittmann, MD
"Did you ever notice how negative some people have become? You really don’t have to search far and wide. In fact, if we look close enough, it’s sometimes apparent in ourselves. From rumblings under our breath to outright expressions of frustration, negative self-talk is so common that for the most part, we’re not even aware of it. Comments such as “I don’t deserve to be happy” or “I’m not worth a darn” are common knee-jerk responses to stresses and pressures we experience. Yet, what seems like a mere safety valve simply letting off steam is actually a destructive means of programming ourselves with undesirable consequences that endure well into our future.
According to James Allen, author of "As a Man Thinketh," “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. As the plant springs from, and could not be without the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them.” Simply stated, action arises directly from thought. Ultimately, our thoughts, positive and negative, become self-fulfilling prophecies.
So if negative self-talk is getting you down, there is an antidote. It’s called the “positive affirmation” and it can improve the quality of your life. What I’m referring to is an assertion that something positive is true, even if you don’t initially believe it! This very moment you might be thinking that there isn’t one positive thing left to say about yourself (another example of negative self-talk). Yet turning your situation around may be far simpler than you’d imagine. All you may have to do is stop sabotaging yourself. Consider the following example: If you think to yourself often enough that you’re undeserving of happiness, you will eventually believe it. Such action triggers an undesirable cascade, as beliefs eventually become behaviors that determine our biology. It’s obvious that the health consequences of such negativity are far from favorable.
Yet if we repeatedly recite the affirmation, “I deserve to be happy,” or “I’m learning to enjoy life and savor every moment,” such statements eventually sink in, and become transformed into beliefs. Not surprisingly, the biology that follows may be precisely what we need to maintain or restore our health and well-being.
Discovering how to develop positive affirmations is easier than you might imagine. It begins simply with the process of living mindfully. There’s no complex formula or series of steps to remember. Just take time for yourself to live fully in the moment. Consider focusing on the present, ignoring the burdens of the past and the uncertainties of the future. Such action frees us from the pressures and stresses of worrying about what has already happened, or what might occur. When we learn to live in the precious present, we create a sense of fulfillment, one step at a time.
Another way to develop positive self-talk is to open ourselves to inspiration from others by simply reading books of positive affirmations. They abound in bookstores everywhere. When we immerse ourselves in positive thoughts, wonderful feelings live on in us, and become our biology. Perhaps you’d like to begin a journal. Remember to start each entry with a positive statement, and take time to repeat your affirmations silently to yourself. Learn to trust your healing voice. Set your standards high, and realize that there are no limits to the creative power within you. Use your journal on a regular basis to express your deepest thoughts. Know that the questions and answers you need are within you. It is well-recognized that this form of self-expression promotes healing.
Ultimately, the way we think determines who we are. When we tell ourselves what we want to become, new possibilities surface that help sculpt our destiny. Take time to look at yourself now, and realize that you are the sum of all your past thoughts and beliefs. If you wish to foretell your future, simply focus on what you are thinking and believing today - Mind Over Matter!"