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There’s More to “Choosing Happiness” than Positive Thinking.

happy definitionAs a reformed, natural-born pessimist, I am keenly aware of the power of positive thinking.

How we think and how we feel are inextricably linked.

For most people—unless dealing with hormonal imbalances in the body, or chemical imbalances in the brain—our thoughts usually determine our feelings. Therefore, to feel good, we must reframe negative thoughts into a more positive light.

There really is no way of getting around this—we cannot possibly expect to feel “happy” if our thought patterns have a constant critical or pessimistic bias. And yet, if you’ve tried it, you may have noticed that “positive thinking” has quite a limited effect.

In my opinion, this is because too much emphasis is placed on positive thinking and not enough on actually dealing with our (pre-existing) negative thoughts and feelings first. We must respect and honor the feelings that our previous thoughts have conjured up.

It isn’t enough to recognize we are feeling sh*tty about something and just reframe our thoughts. We must allow the feeling to disperse—and this requires us to feel it first, rather than suppress it.

But most of us are unwilling to do this. As soon as an uncomfortable emotion arises we move to quash it. We’d just rather not go there and the theory of applying a “positive thinking” balm seems way more appealing.

But to reframe our thoughts without allowing the emotions to properly arise within us, is to put the cart before the horse.

Click here to read the rest of this article on elephant journal.

Photo via Flickr

Posted in elephant journal, Happiness, Well Being

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